Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic

BY JAMES CAMPBELL

I was talking to an Indonesian fellow at the weekend. He claimed to be filthy rich and he asked me what cars would I include in a car collection if money were no object.

What was the first car I mentioned?

There are only two Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantics in the world. Scarcity inevitably leads to rising prices. The one from 1936 changed hands for $40 million in 2010, while the 1938 example belonging to Ralph Lauren’s collection won the Concorso d’Eleganze Villa d’Este.

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It’s a beautiful car, but not worth 40 million dollars. $40 million for a car is nuts. Anything above a million dollars is also ridiculous for a car, no matter what. But if you are building a car investment collection then the Atlantic has to be one’s first choice.

The Atlantic is not just a car, but a monument to pre-war Europe. It’s one of the last great things mankind produced before everybody switched to building tanks. It’s also the pinnacle of the Bugatti family’s contribution to the twentieth century and the automotive industry. It’s a significant piece of history and the closest thing man has come to art deco on four wheels.

Its curves are extraordinarily beautiful, its dashboard elegant and its interior design is as elegant as its exterior.

The Indonesian had no idea what I was talking about. I let him buy me a beer then walked off when he started talking about McLarens.

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