1936 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic is the world’s most expensive car
Automotive history has just been made as the 1936 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic has been sold by Gooding and Company to a buyer that no one would like to confirm. Of course, after a purchase price of $30-$40 million, we would think that the Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard, Ca. (according to a person familiar with the transaction) would be ecstatic to boast of the purchase of what is considered “the most desirable classic automobile in the world”.
The car was sold by the estate of Dr. Peter D. Williamson after the neurologist passed back in 2008. Williamson owned a spectacular collection of Bugattis that were sold during the annual car collector classic weekend in August 2008. The Atlantic, however, was part of a private sale that has been in the works for quite some time.
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“I am extremely pleased to have found the new buyer for the 1936 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic, one of the world’s most significant and valuable automobiles that has been in a private collection and rarely seen during the past four decades,” said David Gooding, president and founder of Gooding & Company, in a statement. “It has been a great pleasure to work with the Williamson Family and Trust in this important endeavor.”
This car has everything going for it,” said Leslie Kendall, curator of the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. “In addition to technical sophistication, it was most avant-garde and futuristic car built up to that time.
Only four of the 1936 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic were made based on the "Aérolithe" concept car of 1935. The vehicle featured flowing coupe lines and a pronounced dorsal seam creating using Elektron and Duralumin for the body panels. Out of the four that were built, only two are still in existence today; the Williamson Bugatti which won the 2003 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and one that is in Ralph Lauren’s private collection.
The 1936 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic is now the most expensive car sold by a landslide. The closest amount behind the Bugatti is the 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa sold for $12.2 million in 2009 and the 1931 Bugatti Royale Kellner Coupe sold for $8.7 million in 1987.
“It does sort of recalibrate things in the sense that now, it’s official, certain cars have reached the level of art,” said Kendall. “People will start paying attention. It’s should be obvious that there are connoisseurs out there who appreciate cars just as much as they do art, fine wine, furniture and sculpture."
“When the first car sold for seven figures, nobody could believe it,” added Kendall. “Then one went for eight figures, now the Williamson Bugatti. The nine-figure car is out there. It’s just a matter of when.”
Source: Wall Street Journal