Bugatti 57SC Atlantic
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 5
How lucky the world was when Ettore Bugatti decided to build and sell passenger cars rather than solely racing cars. How unlucky that after 2 years only 17 were to be constructed.
Ettoire's son, Jean, was left to supervise the design with coach builders Delahayes and Delages.
The car was naturally to be a high performance vehicle that could be built in quantities sufficient to make it economically viable while remaing exclusive.
The 57SC was fitted with a 3.3 litre in-line 8 cylinder engine that featured twin overhead cams and was set to a 90 degree incline.
The car sat on elegant 15" wire wheels, and was fitted with drum brakes. Although a rather simple design, the craftsmanship and quality was at the time unparalled.
First introduced in 1935, the 57S was a more sporting version of the car first released in 1934. The chassis was both shorter and more low-slung with the rear axle actually running through the frame.
Changes to the engine included dry sump lubrication, slight tuning with a higher compression and a dash mounted Scintilla Vertex Magneto.
The front and rear axles also received de Ram shock absorbers instead of the Hartford Friction Dampers. A Roots type supercharger was introduced with the Type 57C.
It was a relatively silent running unit that provided three to four pounds of boost pressure. This forced induction helped the engine reach 175 horsepower. Both the engine and chassis characteristics remained identical to that of the standard model.
The Type 57SC combined the elements of the 57C and 57S to produce the most exclusive Type 57. With this setup, the engine offered 200 to 220 horsepower with a rev limit of 5500 rpm. The Atalante Jean Bugatti designed a specific body for the 57SC chassis.
This was the Atalante which graceful lines provided a starting point for many custom variations. Like other body styles named after peaks in the Alps, the Atalante was one of the bodies made in house at the factory, and one of the most exclusive.
Despite being made in house, Bugatti still catered the Atalantes to the specific desires of their clients. Both the body work and interiors of many Atalantes featured custom appointments. The headlight treatment varied between cars, with some being fared in, left as separate units or protruding from the fenders.
Two special examples featured a roll-back roof, which could be lowered for open air driving. In total, 17 Atalantes were completed on both 57C, 57S and 57SC chassis.