Bugatti 57 Cabriolet by d`Leteren

Car producer : 

Bugatti

Model:

57 Cabriolet by d`Leteren

Year:

1934-1940

Type:

Cabriolet



The Bugatti Type 57 and later variants (including the famous Atlantic and Atalante) was an entirely new design by Jean Bugatti, son of founder Ettore. Type 57s were built from 1934 through 1940, with a total of 710 examples produced.

Most Type 57s used a twin-cam 3,257 cc engine based on that of the Type 49 but heavily modified by Jean Bugatti. Unlike the chain-drive twin-cam engines of the Type 50 and 51, the 57's engine used gears to transmit power from the crankshaft.

The Type 57 chassis and engine was revived in 1951 as the Bugatti Type 101 for a short production.

The original Type 57 was a touring car model produced from 1934 through 1940. It used the 3.3 L (3,257 cc; 198 cu in) engine from the Type 59 Grand Prix cars, producing 135hp (100 kW). Top speed was 95 miles per hour (153 km/h).

It rode on a 130-inch (3,302 mm) wheelbase and had a 53.1-inch (1,349 mm) wide track. Road-going versions weighed about 2,100 pounds (950 kg). Hydraulic brakes replaced the cable-operated units in 1938, a modification Ettore Bugatti hotly contested. 630 examples were produced.

The Type 57 also was Bugatti's first use of a transmission fixed to the engine crankcase and a single plate clutch. The top three gears in the four-speed gearbox were constant mesh. Jean created a novel independent front suspension system using transverse leaf springs for the first two examples of the Type 57 before Le Patron spied it and insisted it be replaced by a proper Bugatti hollow tubular live axle. Thenceforth suspension was traditional Bugatti semi-elliptical front and reversed quarter-elliptical rear leaf springs with cable-operated mechanical drum brakes.

Much of the Type 57's commercial success may be attributed to Jean Bugatti's sensitive, flowing coachwork which graced the most famous of the chassis' examples. Atalante, Ventoux, Stelvio and the Galibier sedan vied with the best of France's and Europe's formidable coachbuilders' creations and comprised the bulk of Type 57 production. Bugatti's clients could have the best, but overwhelmingly they chose Jean Bugatti's designs on the Type 57.

The original road-going Type 57 included a smaller version of the Royale's square-bottom horseshoe grille. The sides of the engine compartment were covered with thermostatically-controlled shutters. It was a tall car, contrary to the tastes of the time.

Several catalogued body styles were offered, but the most popular open car was the dashing four-seat stelvio cabriolet. The bodies were penned by Jean Bugatti himself and built by several of the finest coachbuilders of the era, Letourneur & Marchand, Gangloff, with slight variations appearing over the years.

By 1930, Letourneur & Marchand were turning to streamlining. Their masterpiece in this regard, the “Coach JELM,” also known as “Coupe Panoramique,” was created by Letourneur’s son Marcel. Commonly called the “Yo-Yo car” from the Art Deco accent line on its body, its hallmark was a sweeping sidelight extending from door into the rear quarter, with overlapping glass and no centre pillar. Although most of their work was devoted to Delage, Letourneur & Marchand clothed many other chassis, among them Buick, Renault, Delahaye, Panhard, Rolls-Royce and Bugatti, the last receiving 19 bodies.

The Bugatti Type 57 was originally offered in four body styles, three of which were named after famous mountain peaks in the Alps: Galibier, Stelvio, and Ventoux. The four-seat, two-door Ventoux body was heavily influenced by sketches for the Type 50, and with its Profile style, the Ventoux was easily recognised for its sharply raked windshield. Unlike the Stelvio, which was commonly outsourced to various coachbuilders, the Ventoux had been designed in-house by Jean Bugatti himself. In addition, the sylphlike Atlantic and Atalante coupés evoked oceanic themes and Greek mythology.

The "tuned" Type 57T pushed the performance of the basic Type 57. It was capable of reaching 115 miles per hour (185 km/h).

A Type 57C racing car was built from 1937 through 1940, with about 96 produced. It shared the 3.3 L engine from the road-going Type 57 but produced 160hp (119 kW) with a Roots-type supercharger fitted.

57S, 57SC, 57S45

The Type 57S/SC is one of the best-known Bugatti cars. The "S" stood for "surbaissé" ("lowered"). It included a v-shaped dip at the bottom of the radiator and mesh grilles on either side of the engine compartment.

Lowering the car was a major undertaking. The rear axle now passed through the rear frame rather than riding under it, and a dry-sump lubrication system was required to fit the engine under the new low hood. The 57S had a nearly-independent suspension in front, though Ettore despised that notion.

Just 43 "surbaissé" cars were built.

Just two supercharged Type 57SC cars were built new, but most 57S owners wanted the additional power afforded by the blower. Therefore, most of the original Type 57S cars returned to Molsheim for the installation of a supercharger, pushing output from 175hp (130 kW) to 200hp (150 kW) and 120 mph (190 km/h).

A special Type 57 S45 used a 4,743 cc engine like the Tank.

The Type 57S/SC is one of the best-known Bugatti cars. The "S" stood for "surbaissé" ("lowered"). It included a v-shaped dip at the bottom of the radiator and mesh grilles on either side of the engine compartment.

Lowering the car was a major undertaking. The rear axle now passed through the rear frame rather than riding under it, and a dry-sump lubrication system was required to fit the engine under the new low hood. The 57S had a nearly-independent suspension in front, though Ettore despised that notion.

A special Type 57 S45 used a 4,743 cc engine like the Tank.

The 57S was available in three forms of factory coachwork: a roadster, the Atalante coupe, or the ultra-rare Atlantic coupe (easily among the most coveted and valuable cars on Earth). The latter two coupe styles accounted for approximately 20 examples of the 42 cars that were ultimately sold through May 1938 (when the competition-oriented 57S was quietly discontinued as 57 and 57C road car sales flourished). Many of the remaining 22 examples were sold as rolling chassis and dispatched to the buyer’s coachbuilder of choice, including Gangloff, Corsica, Letourneur et Marchand, and Vanvooren of Paris. Particularly desirable among the various Type 57 iterations, the 57S examples were often maintained and raced in niche events in Europe during the 1950s and ’60s. Now the subject of utmost scrutiny and respect, the model has evolved into one of the collector car community’s golden grails, a legendary automobile epitomizing the finest in competition heritage, aesthetic design, engineering, and performance.

This, however, does not account for the various special T57s, including the numerous coachbuilders across Europe who created one-offs. It also does not account for the Grand Raid roadster, which was essentially a prototype that preceded the famous 57S

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