Barn Find! 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Atalante found on 2 January 2009
On this day, 2 January 2009, it was reported that a rare unrestored 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Atalante Coupe has been found in the garage of a British doctor. A month later, on 7 February, the car sold at a Paris auction for $4.4 million.
The black two-seater, one of just 17 57S Atalante Coupes ever made by Bugatti, had been owned by English orthopedic surgeon Harold Carr since 1955. Carr, who died in 2007, reportedly had kept the rare vehicle parked in his garage since the early 1960s and hadn’t driven it in five decades. The car was built in May 1937 and originally owned by Francis Richard Henry Penn Curzon, the 5th Earl Howe. Curzon was also the first president of the British Racing Drivers’ Club and a winner of the 24 Hour Le Mans race.
When it was built, the 57S Atalante Coupe was capable of reaching speeds of more than 120 miles per hour at a time when the average car could barely do 50 miles per hour. The Atlante series Bugattis are notable for their low-slung frame and V-shaped radiator with their interiors fitted out in pig-skin upholstery. At the time of the auction, Carr’s car was said to be in good condition and had 26,284 miles on its odometer.
The Bugatti car company was founded in 1909 by Italian-born Ettore Bugatti (1881-1947) in present-day Molsheim, France. Bugatti became known for producing expensive, cutting-edge sports cars and racing cars. From the time of its founding until the 1940s, the company built fewer than 8,000 cars. Following the death of Ettore Bugatti in 1947, the company went into decline and changed hands several times.
In 1951 Chrysler showed the K-310, designed by Virgil Exner and inspired by the Bugatti Type 57. Exner followed the K-310 with the d’Elegance show car which is an evolution of this design. The K-310 inspired the Volkswagen Karmann-Ghia!
The Atalante has been an influential design. In the early 1950s, the Atlante was one of the cars that helped shape Chrysler stylist Virgil Exner’s K-310 and d’Elegance show cars. It also inspired the design of Chrysler’s Atlantic show car of 1995.
1995 Chrysler Atlantic show car designed by Tom Gale. It is powered by a straight eight made from 2 Chrysler 4 cylinder engines inline, the first car since the mid-1950s to have a straight eight.
In 1998, Volkswagen bought the rights to build cars under the Bugatti name. In 2009, the company introduced the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport, a sports car convertible which was capable of speeds of some 253 miles per hour and carried a price tag of more than $2 million. The Veyron could reach 60 mph is under 2.5 seconds.
Not your father’s VW: Bugatti Veyron
Courtesy of “Chris-to-Fear” we continue with photos of old gas stations at
Curbside Classic. Today – a Shell station with attendants in uniforms and hats. The car is a 1954 Buick. Note the small snowman on the curb.