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Jay Leno Drives a Hand-Built Replica of the Missing 1934 Bugatti Aérolithe - Can it Live Up to His Expectations?

Jay Leno Drives a Hand-Built Replica of the Missing 1934 Bugatti Aérolithe - Can it Live Up to His Expectations?

Long-lost Bugatti Aérolithe replica has to be one of the most exquisite creations to ever roll on four wheels

Bugatti built the Aérolithe in 1934 as a one-off concept whose aim was to show the way forward not only for the French automaker, but for the automobile in general. And it succeeded, as it inspired the Type 57 grand tourer, of which Bugatti built a total of 710 examples between 1936 and 1940 and these are now some of the most expensive and highly coveted interwar classics in existence. There was only one problem with this picture: the Aérolithe design study disappeared under mysterious circumstances just as the clouds of war were gathering over Europe.

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Amazing Bugatti collection discovered in poverty-stricken family's barn

Amazing Bugatti collection discovered in poverty-stricken family’s barn

Well this doesn’t happen every day

Having one rare pre-war Bugatti in your barn should be reason enough for anybody not to have to endure a life of hardship since these cars can fetch millions at auction. It’s, therefore, a bit of a mystery why a man from Belgium who had three of them (yes, that’s right, three) kept them despite by all accounts living under the poverty line for many years.

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Top 5 Cars Sold at Gooding & Company Auction During Monterey Car Week 2016

Top 5 Cars Sold at Gooding & Company Auction During Monterey Car Week 2016

The top 5 accounts for nearly $60 million in auction sales

When it comes to major auctions, it’s pretty common to find various Ferrari models at the top of the list. This year, the auctions taking place during Monterey Car Week were wild as usual. Mecum auctions turned out some amazing vehicles with the top 10 cars pulling in nearly $20 million, but that’s nowhere near the kind of numbers we saw at the Gooding & Company auction. In fact, Gooding’s number for the top five cars was more than double that of Mecum’s top 10 – pretty wild right?

Gooding had a lot of cars listed, and 160 of those lots actually sold. Some of the lower-priced cars include models like a 1954 Alfa Romeo 1900 C Coupe for $412,500, a 1988 Porsche 959 Comfort for $1,320,000, a 1954 Austin-Healey 100/4 BN1 Le Mans for $143,000, a 1928 Morris Oxford for just $49,400, and there was even a 1968 Iso Grifo 7 Litri that sold for $682,000. Okay, so some of those numbers might night be “low” for some of us, but in the grand scheme of things, none of them are much when you consider the most expensive car sold at Gooding this year commanded just of $18 million. More about that later, but I’ll give you a hint: It’s a Ferrari. Shocker, right?

Well, with that said, let’s take a good look at Gooding’s top five from this year at Monterey and talk a little about them. There’s just something about these high-dollar collectibles that really gets the blood flowing, isn’t there?

Keep reading to learn about the top five sellers from Gooding & Company

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1933 - 1938 Bugatti 57sc Atlantic Coupe

1933 - 1938 Bugatti 57sc Atlantic Coupe

What you are looking at here is arguably the most valuable car in the world. That sort of thing is very difficult to pin down, with so few of them in existence and no post-recession sales numbers to look at, but it is generally agreed to be the most valuable car in the world. The Bugatti Type 57 SC Atlantic has, as a result, come to be seen as one of the ultimate symbols of prewar automotive elegance, more rolling statue than car, and for once that isn’t hyperbole.

I myself once saw the Atlantic belonging to Ralph Lauren on display in an actual art museum (the Cleveland Museum of Art had a whole exhibit dedicated to the Bugatti family in 1999), where it was treated the same as the sculptures on display nearby.

Of course, there are a lot of seriously beautiful prewar cars, some even more rare than the Atlantic, that aren’t nearly so valuable. It’s difficult to say just what it is that makes this one so much more valuable than the rest. There is a combination of different factors at work, and some of them defy explanation. Ultimately, it’s so valuable because someone is willing to pay whatever it takes to own it.

Continue reading to learn more about the Bugatti 57sc Atlantic Coupe.

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1938 Bugatti Type 57C Atalante

1938 Bugatti Type 57C Atalante

The Type 57 is to Bugatti what the 250 is to Ferrari. It was built in a variety of different configurations with a variety of different bodies for both the road and the race track. And like the 250, certain versions of the car are among the most valuable cars of all time. The Atlantic body style is certainly the most valuable, but the only slightly less well-known Atalante comes in second. It was designed by Ettore Bugatti’s son Jean and is named after the heroine of Greek mythology’s Atlanta.

This particular Atalante passed through a number of different hands before being bought by John Wendell Strauss, grandson to R.H. Macy and heir to the Macy’s fortune. Unfortunately, Strauss parked the Atalante in a garage in 1962 and there it sat for decades until it was discovered in 2007 when the estate was being settled. There are some photos of the car in the barn here, and as you can see, it really wasn’t in such bad shape, considering how long it had been sitting. When it was sent to be restored, it was discovered that everything was still there and all of the numbers still matched — making this one of the most original prewar Bugattis in existence.

Continue reading to learn more about the 1938 Bugatti Type 57C Atalante.

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1937 Bugatti Type 57 G Tank

1937 Bugatti Type 57 G Tank

Bugatti introduced the legendary Type 57 in 1934, laying the groundwork for some of its most iconic cars, including the Atlantic and Atalante. In true Bugatti fashion, the chassis of this high-performance road car was proven on the race track. The Type 57G took to the track in 1937, with an enclosed body that was quickly dubbed the "Tank." The Type 57G did Bugatti proud, winning the French Grand Prix in 1936 and the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1937 and 1939. The Le Mans victory was the first major international win for Bugatti. Just three Type 57G Tanks were produced, but what the car lacked in production numbers it more than made up for in results. Some accounts say that the Type 57Gs won every major race they were entered in. At the end of the 1939 Le Mans race, Bugatti was 26 miles ahead of the second-place car.

One of the streamliners disappeared after the Paris Auto Salon in 1936, and another Type 57G was destroyed in a tragic testing crash that killed Jean Bugatti shortly after it had won Le Mans in 1939. Legend has it that the last Type 57G Tank survived WWII thanks to the forward-thinking Bugatti family, who buried the vehicle underground for the duration of the conflict.

The shape and paint scheme of the Type 57G Tank also influenced the modern Bugatti Veyron, in the form of the first "Legends" limited-edition car introduced in 2013. The new car had very different dimensions, but there’s a clear lineage between the two vehicles, most evident with the Legends edition 2013 Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse "Jean-Pierre Wimille," whose blue-on-blue livery matches that of the surviving Tank.

Continue reading to learn more about the 1937 Bugatti Type 57 G Tank.

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Bugatti's Glorious Past Is Alive At Garage Novo: Video

Bugatti’s Glorious Past Is Alive At Garage Novo: Video

Cars were a different sort of thing before WWII, and luxury cars in particular were very different than they are today. Making a car like a Bugatti was the work of an artisan, someone who had devoted his life to the craft. It is therefore only fitting to have such a car repaired by someone who takes a similar approach to working on them, and the father and son team at Garage Novo does indeed take such an approach. Jean Novo first fell in love with Bugattis at a very young age, and his father bought him one, back when the cars were hardly worth anything at all.

Jean’s first Bugatti was a complete wreck, and restoring it was a crash course on the idiosyncrasies of the brand. He has since learned the skill and the respect required to fix prewar Bugattis, and has put an estimated 200,000 kilometers (125,000 miles) on his personal car. Since plans for so many of the parts only recently became available, Jean used to reverse engineer, design and build replacement parts for the cars himself. It’s an amazing labor of love, but prewar Bugattis are very special cars, and worth the extra work.

Continue reading for more details.

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The Art Of Bugatti Exhibit Coming to The Mullin Automotive Museum in Spring 2014

The Art Of Bugatti Exhibit Coming to The Mullin Automotive Museum in Spring 2014

The Bugatti name has long been associated with style and performance in the realms of automotive excellence, but few are aware of impact the Bugatti name made in the worlds of art and craftsmanship.

The Bugatti family began a legacy for themselves in the late 1800s that continued through many generations and lasts even still. The Mullin Automotive Museum, an institution devoted to showcasing French art and automobiles from the Art Deco era, has announced The Art of Bugatti exhibition that starts in the spring of 2014.

The museum is located roughly an hour north of Los Angeles in Oxnard, California, and it will play host to the Bugatti family collection of oil paintings, bronze sculptures, intricate furniture and, of course, some of Bugatti’s most famous cars, including the current Veyron.

Besides the Veyron, the exhibition will also host the early Brescia racecar, the race-winning Types 35s, 37, and 51; Jean Bugatti’s Type 64 Papillon and Atlantic Coupé; Types 57 Aravis and Atalante, and the Type 41 Bugatti Royale. Even more impressive is perhaps one of Bugatti’s earliest four-wheeled creations, a horse-drawn cart, complete with the iconic Bugatti logo branded on its side.

Click past the jump to see more pictures of the classic Bugatti cars and artwork

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1931 Voisin C20 MyLord Demi-Berline

1931 Voisin C20 MyLord Demi-Berline

Meet "the most important car."

We’ve covered our fair share of rare and historic classic cars here at TopSpeed, but this 1931 Voisin C20 MyLord takes the cake. Its level of beauty and class is only overshadowed by its rarity and appraised value. It is truly a gorgeous thing to behold.

Powered by an innovative sleeve-valve V-12 engine riding on an underslung chassis, the two-door coupe was built in France by automotive and aeronautics pioneer Gabriel Voisin who was more well-known for his achievements in the air than on the road. He did, however, start Avions Voisin, one of the world’s most prestigious automotive brands of the day.

The one-off MyLord was only a concept vehicle and never saw full production, making this example the only one in existence. It was treated to a full restoration before heading to the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance auction block in 2010. One fortunate bidder took home the MyLord, leaving a $2,750,000 check in its place.

Click past the jump to learn more about the Voisin C20 MyLord Demi-Berline

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Classic Showcase: Coach-Built French Imports 1930-1950

Classic Showcase: Coach-Built French Imports 1930-1950

Tucked inside the wealthy enclave of Santa Barbara, California is one of the most awe-inspiring collections of pre-war French automobiles ever assembled anywhere on earth — even inside France.

Just a few hours south of Monterey and Pebble Beach, the Mullins Automotive Museum is almost as exclusive as the cars inside. And for good reason: dozens of the cars in the collection are priceless and completely unique.

The Mullins museum has dozens of Bugatti’s, including the all-time most-valuable car ever: the Type 57 Atlantique. This is too easy and common, so we will focus on some of the more obscure pieces in its priceless collection.

There are highlights are every turn, but we’ve assembled some of the most influential and visually breathtaking cars here in a list of Top Ten Coach-Built French Imports - between 1930 and 1950.

This list could also have been called the "unpronounceables" because their names are quite complicated to say out loud. Doing so is a real treat, however, especially in the case of the all-star Hispano-Suiza H6C Xenia. This gorgeous coupe has some of the most otherworldly styling ever seen then or since.

Winner of Best in Show at Goodwood 2009, this Hispano-Suiza features sliding side doors, a rounded fuselage design, and bespoke luggage that looks like a million bucks.

Click past the jump for all ten of these stunners: including a number of Bugatti’s, Avoins Voisin and the first hard-top cabrio: the 1938 Peugeot 402L Cabriolet Metallique Decouvrable.

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Video: Bugatti Head of Design and His Kevlar Porsche

Video: Bugatti Head of Design and His Kevlar Porsche

When you hear about Achim Anscheidt - Bugatti Head of Design - you would probably expect him to drive a supercar like the Bugatti Veyron, right? Nope, he isn’t that kind of guy. Instead he opted for something a little bit more classic, and a lot cooler: a 1981 Porsche 911.

This is no normal old 1981 Porsche 911 either, oh no. This one is completely gutted and all of the removable panels – trunk, bonnet, doors, front fenders, etc. – are all made from Kevlar. Yeah, you read that right: Kevlar! He also cleaned up the engine bay a little bit and replaced the windows with plastic, which brings the 911’s weight down to a svelte 820 kg (1,807 pounds).

Unfortunately, Anscheidt didn’t let us in on the 911’s performance numbers, but we’ll just assume it’s pretty dang fast.

After watching the video let us know in the comments section below what do you think about his choice: would you drive the 1981 911 or rather take the Veyron?

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Video: Bugatti EB110 Super Sport Burnout and More

Video: Bugatti EB110 Super Sport Burnout and More

Remember the nugget of pure awesome that was the Bugatti EB110? Don’t worry if you don’t, as likely three-quarters of the world doesn’t remember the short-lived predecessor to the Veyron, which saw only 139 examples from 1991 through 1995. If you don’t remember that then you definitely don’t remember the lighter and more powerful EB110 Super Sport that was available in 1992.

For those that don’t know of it, the 1992 EB110 SS pumped 603 horsepower from its 3.5-liter V-12 engine. It blasted from 0-to-100 km/h (62 mph) in only 3.2 seconds and had a top speed of 348 km/h (216 mph). All of this during the dark ages of the supercar, the early 1990s. To put this in perspective, the Lamborghini Diablo could only muster up 425 horsepower, hit 60 mph in 3.9 seconds, and had a 202 mph top speed. So, yeah, the EB110 SS was bad-ass.

Because of how rare it is, you will likely never see one in person, let alone see one do a burn out and be driven like a real supercar. Well, we’re here to give you that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, through the power of interweb video!

The above video is chock-full of awesome tire smoldering, hard driving and all sorts of sweet small displacement V-12 engine noises. Kick back, crank up the volume, and enjoy!

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Bugatti Type 57S Bella Figura Coupe by Delahaye

Bugatti Type 57S Bella Figura Coupe by Delahaye

Bringing back the spirit of a classic car takes years and years of work. For example to create the Bugatti Type 57S Bella Figura Coupe, Delahaye USA needed a total of three years of hard work. But the result is very impressive. Their car, the Figura Coupe pays tribute to Jean Bugatti and his elegant Type 57S.

The car is not just a replica, it is in fact a stretched and widened coupe which comfortably fits two six-foot-six occupants while respecting the classic Bugatti look and feel. The car features a body with hinged and latched inner and outer door, double layer roof, while the door hinges are custom steel copies of Bugatti Atlantic, with door swing study and stops. The car is a "Full Carbon" construction made with four layers of 5.7 oz. 2 x 2 twill carbon fiber.

For the engine option, Delahaye has used an all aluminum 5 liter M70 BMW V-12, but the production version will feature a a new supercharged 556 HP 6.2 liter LSA Cadillac engine. The company will be also offering a much powerful version that will use a RennTech twin turbocharged Mercedes V-12 engine, but this version will cost about $120,000.

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1926 Bugatti Type 41 Royale

1926 Bugatti Type 41 Royale

The automobile was not even thirty years old when racing had taken a firm hold on enthusiasts. Enzo Ferrari was driving his performance cars to championships all over the world and others wanted in on the action. Ettore Bugatti was one of these men and he decided to take on Ferrari in a very different way than the others. He initially started with smaller, lighter, and less powerful cars than the Ferrari racecars of the time. This allowed the cars to be more nimble on the track and even finish second behind Ferrari in the Grand Prix du Mans of 1911.

This major accomplishment gave Ettore Bugatti the supporters and money necessary to continue his small operation in Molsheim. He began to produce stronger competitors and won more races every year. By 1920, Bugatti had its own Grand Prix championship under its belt and was ready to expand the company into different areas.

Ettore was a very respected man and ran his company with an iron fist, Le Patron as he was known, acted as a member of the upper crust and often invited them for factory tours and extravagant meals. According to Bugatti lore, at one of these dinners a woman remarked, “Everyone knows you build the greatest racing cars in the world. But for a town carriage of real elegance, one must go to Rolls-Royce or Daimler, isn’t that so?” This statement must have enraged Ettore, whether he showed it or not to his guests, he knew this was true. His company had been one-dimensional for many years and it was time to take some risks in the public sector. What came next is one of the most revered luxury automobiles ever made, the Royale.

Hit the jump for more details on the Bugatti Royale.

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Bugatti-inspired Sporting Watch from Ralph Lauren

Bugatti-inspired Sporting Watch from Ralph Lauren

The fashion and auto world join together quite frequently to produce some of the most elegant and dramatic pieces known to man. While a lot of these example are in the form of a vehicle that has been dressed up by a designer, some come as a fashion accessory inspired by a particular model. Timepieces are huge in this area, and this latest watch from Ralph Lauren is about as elegant a collaboration as one can get.

Ralph Lauren has unveiled a special watch inspired by his very own vintageBugatti Type 57SC Atlantic. The Bugatti Sporting watch features a stainless steel case with a matte black dial and a wood finish of loupe d’orme or elm burl–in. These features are a throwback to the Bugatti’s iconic wooden dashboard and trim detail. Furthermore, the watch features Arabic numerals, arrow-shaped hour and minute hands, and a black calf leather strap.

This elegant timepiece is now available through Ralph Lauren’s Sporting collection for a grand price of $13,200. Not exactly cheap, but a heck of a lot better than the price associated with any Bugatti, let along a vintage model.

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Gooding & Company auction off over $21 Million in classic cars at Pebble Beach

Gooding & Company auction off over $21 Million in classic cars at Pebble Beach

The auction house Gooding & Company did alright for themselves this past Saturday the evening before the highly anticipated Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, selling an impressive 83% of all their lots earning more than $21 Million. The star of the block was a red 1958 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider that sold for $2,750,000. There were also a few records set that evening, with the 1953 Aston Martin DB 2/4 Drop Head Coupe that went for $1,650,000, and the 1953 Jaguar XK120 SE Roadster that sold for $192,500. On a more technical note, the 1938 Buick Limited Series 80 Opera Brougham only set a record for pre-war Buicks at $506,000.

Aside from the record breaking Aston Martin and Ferrari’s, the crowd in attendance was eager to catch a glimpse of Lot 31, Ettore Bugatti’s own 1938 Bugatti Type 57C Special Coupe. Originally assembled as a birthday present for Le Patron, founder of the ultra exotic car company, this particular Type 57C has been deemed as one of the automaker’s most cherished creations. The factory’s workers even went to great lengths to protect the Bugatti during World War II, the fighting between that Allied Forces and the Axis Powers ended up destroying the factory in Molsheim, France.

Even after Ettore’s death in 1947, the 57C was meticulously maintained and continued to receive updates as they were developed. The car is said to be extremely unique, with a distinct engine and transmission package, upgrades to the interior and one-off coachwork that is believed to be based on the last design ever created by Ettore’s son, Jean Bugatti who died at the age of 30 in an unfortunate incident, test driving a Le Mans winning Type 57 tank-bodied race car. Making for one very interesting conversation piece.

Press release after the jump.

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1936 Bugatti Type 57C Coupe up for auction; believed to smash all the sales records

1936 Bugatti Type 57C Coupe up for auction; believed to smash all the sales records

A 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa recently became the most expensive vehicle in the world when it crossed the auction block with a final bid of around $12 Million at Ferrari’s Legends and Passions event in Maranello last month. However all that could change between August 15th and 16th at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

That is because the auction house Gooding & Company will be bringing a very special vehicle to the world’s greatest car show. Ettore Bugatti’s personal 1936 Type 57C Coupe. Originally assembled as a birthday present for Le Patron, founder of the ultra exotic car company, this particular Type 57C has been deemed as one of the automaker’s most cherished creations. The factory’s workers even went to great lengths to protect the Bugatti during World War II, the fighting between that Allied Forces and the Axis Powers ended up destroying the factory in Molsheim, France.

Even after Ettore’s death in 1947, the 57C was meticulously maintained and continued to receive updates as they were developed. The car is said to be extremely unique, with a distinct engine and transmission package, upgrades to the interior and one-off coachwork that is believed to be based on the last design ever created by Ettore’s son, Jean Bugatti who died at the age of 30 in an unfortunate incident, test driving a Le Mans winning Type 57 tank-bodied race car. However; this 1936 Type 57C, with its rich history, and one of kind exclusivity should have no problem shattering the record set by Phil Hill’s old Ferrari.

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Ultra-rare Bugatti barn find going up for auction

Ultra-rare Bugatti barn find going up for auction

Possibly considered the last great “barn find”, a 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Atalante is going up for auction. The ultra-rare Bugatti was released from its fifty-year old cocoon last year, and now will sell for multiple millions of dollars at Bonhams’ "Retromobile" auction the February in Paris. This Type 57S Atalante is one of seventeen made, and a less rare Type 57C Atalante sold for $7.92 million back in August.

British noble and racer Earl Howe originally purchased this Type 57S Atalante. He kept the car for about eight years, and then it spent the next decade floating through multiple owners. In 1955 Harold Carr, an English surgeon, purchased the car.

Carr did not own the Bugatti long before parking it in his garage and never driving it again. Although Bugattis were rare in 1955, they would not reach superstar status for many more decades. Even in 1965 $85,000 bought a collection of thirty Bugattis, but that was considered an exceptional deal.

Sometimes this car was referred to as lost during its over fifty-year absence from daylight, but the reality is that any car of this caliber always has enthusiasts tracking it. "I have known of this Bugatti for a number of years and, like a select group of others, hadn’t dared divulge its whereabouts to anyone,” said James Knight, international head of Bonhams’ motoring department.

Carr passed away in 2007, leaving the Bugatti to his family. Until this point, his family had no idea of the value of the now dusty but only mildly decayed car. "We just can’t believe it. It’s worth so much because he hasn’t used it for fifty years,” said Carr’s nephew.

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Bugatti Veryon Grand Sport sells at Pebble Beach, another Bugatti sets auction record

Bugatti Veryon Grand Sport sells at Pebble Beach, another Bugatti sets auction record

It was a big weekend for Bugattis at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The first Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport 16.4, which made its debut at the show, had a hammer price of $2.9 million at the Gooding & Company’s Pebble Beach auction yesterday. Although the final price will be confirmed later today, this could mean that it is likely as much as $850,000 (the excess of the Veyron’s MSRP) will be donated to the Pebble Beach Company Foundation charity.

The Grand Sport features a see-through removable roof panel made from polycarbonate material for lightweight rigidity. Unfortunately there is no place to store the panel on the car, so if the weather turns bad, owners may need to use the included “umbrella” fabric top (much like the one used for the Lamborghini Murcielago roadster.)

The biggest changes to take the Veyron topless were stiffening the carbon fiber body and changing the windshield angle. The car now also includes new LED headlamps, different alloy wheels and a rear view camera display. According to Bugatti, the total production run for the Veyron Grand Sport will be 150 vehicles.

If the Veryon Grand Sport was the Bugatti to steal everyone’s hearts, then the 1939 Bugatti Type 57C Atalante Coupe stole their wallets. The classic Bugatti set a new Pebble Beach record at Gooding & Company’s Saturday auction at $7.92 million. The car is one of 95 57Cs produced during the run from 1937 to 1940. The 3,257 CC Supercharged Inline Eight-Cylinder Engine is rated at 160 BHP At 5,000 RPM.

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The most Beautiful Cars in the world

The most Beautiful Cars in the world

Here is what people consider to be the most beautiful car in the world. Some of them we agree, some we don’t. But the point is that they are master pieces in the automotive industry.
Among the highlights are the astonishingly gorgeous 1938 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic Coupe, arguably the most impressive car in the collection, and the Art Nouveau, somewhat predatory, 1930 Mercedes-Benz "Count Trossi" SSK, with its distinctive aerodynamic pontoon fenders, long and low bonnet and (...)

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1920 - 1926 Bugatti Type 23

1920 - 1926 Bugatti Type 23

Ten years after its introduction, Bugatti’s three car line-up was ready for it second major revision. Where the 1913 revisions concentrated on the chassis and bodywork, the second concentrated on the engine. As one of the first engines in history, the new engine featured 4 valves per cylinder. The 16-valve engine was originally developed in 1914, but the First World War interfeered and Ettore Bugatti buried the engines.

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