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
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 liter 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.
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
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.