Bugatti 57SC Atlantic (1936) "La Voiture Noire"
One of the most iconic Bugatti cars from the original Bugatti era, the Type 57SC Atlantic featured flowing coupé lines with a pronounced dorsal seam running from the front to the back end of the vehicle. The 1935 Aérolithe concept, on which the 57SC was based, used Elektron composite for its body panels. This meant the engineers needed to rivet the panels together externally as, although a durable and lightweight material, the alloy was extremely flammable when exposed to high temperatures. The production run of 57SC Atlantics possessed plain aluminium bodies though the dorsal seams were retained for style.
The Atlantic name was termed in honour of Jean Bugatti’s pilot friend, Jean Mermoz, who never returned from a South Atlantic aviation journey. The ‘S’ stood for ‘Surbaissé’ (‘Lowered’), which was a major undertaking in itself, and the ‘C’ for ‘Compresseur’, a supercharger that Bugatti introduced in response to customers seeking more horsepower. The iconic long bonnet hid a 197-horsepower 3.3-litre inline-8, which allowed the coupe to clock a top speed in excess of 125 mph.
Only four Type 57SCs were ever made, three of which were sold to customers. The first was sold to British banker Victor Rothschild, the third to Parisian businessman Jacques Holzschuh and the fourth car was sold to R.B. Pope of Britain. Tragically, Holzschuh’s Atlantic was involved in a fatal accident which completely destroyed the car. Decades later, the car underwent a painstaking restoration though the engine was unsalvageable.
This model is a perfect 1:8 scale recreation of the second car, the fabled ‘La Voiture Noire’ (The Black Car). Bugatti was so taken by the grace and sophistication of his creation that he had the second Atlantic built for his own personal use. At the outbreak of the Second World War, La Voiture Noire was sent to a safe region, as German troops invaded Alsace, and lost forever. Its last historical mention is on a list of cars that were to be sent to Rue Alfred Daney in Bordeaux in February 1941. Its disappearance more than 80 years ago remains the biggest mystery in Bugatti’s fabled history. Today, “La Voiture Noire” lives on as a myth.
To create ‘La Voiture Noire’, we used our supremely accurate digital scanning on R.B. Pope’s model, kindly allowed by its current owner Ralph Lauren, and, with the cooperation of Bugatti's automotive historian Julius Kruta, developed this stunningly detailed and precise replica at scale. Using archived images and 3D data acquired from one of only two confirmed surviving examples of the 57SC Atlantic, this is without doubt the best reference to chassis number 57453 in existence. This fine scale model has been handcrafted and finished in our workshops with the co-operation and assistance of the manufacturer regarding original finishes, materials, archive imagery and drawings. Furthermore, the prototype model has undergone detailed scrutiny by the manufacturer’s engineering and design teams to ensure complete accuracy of representation.
The Bugatti 57SC Atlantic 'La Voiture Noire' is limited to only 99 pieces.
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