Ettore Bugatti once said, “Nothing is too beautiful, nothing is too expensive.” This pre-war ride could well be proof of that.
The rare Bugatti Type 57S Atalante Coupé in question is one of the most desirable cars in the French marque’s century-long history. It will lead RM Sotheby’s St. Moritz sale on September 9. Additional auction highlights include a sleek silver 1965 Aston Martin DB5 Vantage and an elegant black 1957 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL, no less.
Designed by the aforementioned founder’s son, Jean Bugatti, the Type 57 included S and SC variants (Surbaissé for “lowered” and Compresseur for “supercharger”) that reached very limited production in the 1930s. Named after Greek heroine Atalanta, the Type 57S and 57SC Atalante featured two-door coupe bodywork, a low-slung chassis and an elegant Art Deco aesthetic.
They were at the bleeding edge in terms of tech, too, with a 3.3-liter inline-eight engine that could produce 160 hp for a top speed of 120 mph. (Most cars at that time struggled to hit 50 mph.) Indeed, the Type 57 set numerous world records and won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1937 and 1939.
This fine example is believed to be one of only 17 Atalante Coupés to leave the factory. Dating back to 1936, the 86-year-old four-wheeler features a striking two-tone paint scheme, with a glossy black base and a bright-red French curve on each side. It also has stunning riveting throughout its bodywork, according to RM Sotheby’s.
What’s more, the auction house says the vintage rarity has resided in a private Swiss collection for nearly three decades and as such remains in “outstanding condition.”
Although no estimate has yet been given, you can expect the Atalante to fetch a pretty penny. In 2020, a similar model sold for more than $10.4 million at a Gooding & Company auction. Just remember what Ettore said: Nothing is too expensive.
Click here to see all the photos of the 1936 Bugatti Type 57S Atalante.