Bugatti 57S Atalante

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57S Atalante





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).

The Atalante was a two door coupe body style similar to and built after the Atlantic, built on both the Type 57 and 57S, but with a single piece windscreen and no fin. Only 17 Atalante cars were made, four of which reside in the Cité de l'Automobile Museum in Mulhouse, France (formerly known as the Musee Nationale de L'Automobile de Mulhouse). The name Atalante was derived from a heroine of Greek mythology, Atalanta.

The new model was presented in the Spring of 1935, not at a motor show. The Atalante built on the Type 57 long chassis was designed by Joseph Walter, a talented employee from the factory design team. The car corresponds to design number 1070 dated 20 January 1935. The first and only official photos before the 1935 Salon catalogue appeared in the June 1935 edition of the magazine Omnia, in an article by A. Caputo. The photos show a 2-seater coupé with a roll-top roof, in two tone, likely to be black and ivory. This was the first car to be built, delivered on 12 April 1935 (chassis 57313/ engine 179). Ten Atalante coupés were produced between April and October 1935, at least seven featuring a roll-top roof. In 1936, a further eight cars were built, four of these with roll-top roof, the last to benefit from this option. For 1937, when just six Atalantes were built, the opening roof was abandoned and the bodies were made of aluminium. The factory price for the "Coupé Atalante 2/3 seats with roll-top roof " was 90 000 francs in October 1935, then 87 000 francs in October 1936 and, a year later, the new coupé version cost 108 000 francs.

The model was described thus: "Coupé Atalante, 2/3 seats, 2 doors - Independent metal seats with removable upholstery - Trim : fine leather - streamlined enveloping wings - large boot and tool compartment in the rear tip - sun visor, double windscreen wipers - rear view mirror - front bumper. "

The coupé was not on offer at the Motor Show in October 1938 and was subsequently abandoned, although ten more examples were built through to Christmas 1938. Between April 1935 and December 1938 around 33 Atalante coupés on Type 57 and 57C chassis were produced. In 1935, Bugatti's coachbuilding workshop produced eight coupés with fold-down roofs on Type 57 chassis.

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