The Most Beautiful Cars Ever Built

1937 Bugatti 57SC Atalante Coupe

Estimated Value: $5,000,000 - $8,000,000

The engine at the core of the Type 57 was a dual overhead camshaft inline eight-cylinder with the cylinder block and head cast in one piece and bolted to an aluminum crankcase with six main bearings for the one-piece crankshaft with plain bearings and full pressure lubrication. The camshafts, set at an included angle of 93 degrees and operating the valves directly, were powered by a helical gear train located at the rear of the engine. All earlier Bugattis had their camshaft drives at the front. Another major departure was the Type 57’s transmission, a four-speed box with constant mesh helical gears in the top three speeds which mounted to the engine and clutch assembly. The clutch, too, marked a change in Bugatti practice, replacing Ettore’s favored small diameter multi-plate clutch with a single plate design. Auxiliaries were placed on the side of the engine.

With 72mm bore and 100mm stroke, the Type 57 displaced 3,257cc. Initial single carburetor touring versions of the engine made 135 brake horsepower at 5,000 rpm.

The original Type 57 was a touring car model produced from 1934 through 1940. It used the 3.3 L (3,257 cc; 198 cu in) engine from the Type 59 Grand Prix cars, producing 135 hp (100 kW). Top speed was 95 miles per hour (153 km/h).

It rode on a 130-inch (3,302 mm) wheelbase and had a 53.1-inch (1,349 mm) wide track. Road-going versions weighed about 2,100 pounds (950 kg). Hydraulic brakes replaced the cable-operated units in 1938, a modification Ettore Bugatti hotly contested. 630 examples were produced.

The original road-going Type 57 included a smaller version of the Royale's square-bottom horseshoe grille. The sides of the engine compartment were covered with thermostatically-controlled shutters. It was a tall car, contrary to the tastes of the time.