1935 Bugatti Type 57

Summary

  • Year of manufacture 
    1935
  • Car type 
    Other
  • Lot number 
    27
  • Drive 
    RHD
  • Condition 
    Restored
  • Number of seats 
    2
  • Location
  • Exterior colour 
    Yellow
  • Drivetrain 
    2wd
  • Fuel type 
    Petrol

Description

French title
Chassis n° 57330
Engine n° 548

- 1st Atalante to be presented at the 1935 Paris Motor Show
- One of just eight Atalante made originally with fold-down roof, the only example to have survived with its original chassis
- A Bugatti masterpiece
- In top mechanical condition

Assembled at the factory during September 1935 (along with nine other Type 57 chassis), Bugatti chassis 57330 was fitted with engine number 232. The coachwork was completed on 4 October 1935 and the following day the car was transported by truck from Molsheim to the Grand Palais to be exhibited on the Bugatti stand at the Paris Motor Show. On 6 October the same truck collected from the factory a 57S chassis, the Aérolithe coupé that was the star of the show. The original colours do not appear in the coachwork register, information not recorded until the following year. However, a note from the factory dated 10 November 1935 states: " Atalante 57330/232 brown and cream, interior pigskin, new 36 factory - 57 040 French francs in stock avenue Montaigne". This tells us that this was the 1936 model, and the car shown at the Motor Show in October 1935.

The Atalante coupés on Type 57 chassis
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
The car on offer, chassis 57330, was the last Atalante to be built in 1935. It was also the first Atalante to be exhibited at a Motor Show and was sold after the Show to one of the factory's regular clients. A little later, the car passed into the hands of Albert-Hippolyte-Marie Marestaing (1911-1985), who came from an important family involved in the steel industry in the East of France. In July 1932, at just 21 years old he had been able to buy a new Type 43. Plenty of other Bugatti followed before the Atalante, including the only Type 57 roadster to be bodied by Antem, chassis 57200. It was the sale of this car, bought back by the factory for 40 000 francs, plus an extra sum of 50 000 francs, that enabled him to buy the chassis 57330 on 21 December 1935. The car was registered new with the Parisian number 3304 RK. Probably registered at his Parisian address in Rue de Raynouard, the Bugatti is likely to stay in the summer at the Château de Mauran, the family home in South of France.
An automobile enthusiast, Marestaing was close to Bugatti and the famous driver Jean-Pierre Wimille in particular. He kept the car until 24 November 1936, when it was sold to another unknown Parisian owner. One year later, the Bugatti was acquired by its third owner, Henri Berlaimont, a brewer from the North of France. He had settled in the Saint-Quentin region in 1920, and subsequently took over the two biggest breweries in the town, "Pomme Rouge" and "Deux Cigognes". Passionate about fine automobiles, he became an assiduous client of Bugatti from 1925, owning more than ten different models before the war, including a Type 30, a Type 43 and several Type 50s. Then, on 31 January 1938 be became the owner of the Atalante 57330. His very last Bugatti, bought in 1952, was one of two Gangloff coupés built on a Type 57S chassis. Chassis 57330 was registered in the North of France with the number 1197 AF 5, at Berlaimont's address, 7 rue Jean Jaurès in Saint-Quentin, although it was maintained and stored at the brewery garages. In order to acquire his new pur-sang, the businessman sold the Type 50 that he had owned for four years.

The Atalante was requisitioned by the German authorities during the war, as noted on the back of the only photograph found in the Berlaimont family archives. Beautiful Bugatti always attracted the attention of the Wehrmacht officers, although these cars were often abandoned after a few months in favour of a new requisition. The Atalante moved in the south area of France and was found abandoned in the Bordeaux area at the end of the war.

The post-war years
After the war, the car was sold by the state, and homologated by the authorities on 10 August 1948 before being re-registered by a garage. The new owner responsible for putting the car back on the road was André Baillac, who ran a garage at 31 Rue Tastet in Bordeaux, an Austin dealership for the region that remained operational until 1977. A shrewd enthusiast, Baillac rescued a rare Bugatti Type 35B at the same time. The Atalante 57330 was registered 3701 GC 4 on 12 August 1948. It is possible that Baillac discovered the car without papers and not running at the end of the war. A month after he registered the car, it was sold to Bugatti enthusiast, Jean-Fernand-Maris Piet-Lataudrie (1899-1979). A ship-owner, from an old family from the West of France, he shared his time between the family home in Sainte-Neomaye and his residence in Boulogne-sur-Mer, and the US where he supervised the construction of his boats. At the time, he already owned a Bugatti, but the Atalante he acquired in 1948 would become his favourite. The car was maintained by the former chief mechanic of the Bugatti garage in Niort, Paul Thomas. Jean Piet-Lataudrie remained the owner of the car after it was re-registered in the new system in 1950, with the number 440 BJ 79. He died in 1979 in Boulogne-sur-Mer. It was in 1959 however, that the car left the Niort countryside to head to the capital. On 9 March 1959 it was registered with the number 3844 HT 75 in the name of Eligio-Bruno Bonardi, of 153 Boulevard Saint-Germain, Paris. Bonardi, a 34-year old Italian from Palma, who enjoyed a very active nightlife, according to the previous owner, neglected his Bugatti a little, caring only about being seen and heard in the car.
Three years later and a little bruised by its life in the city, the Atalante was sold to the knowledgable and early collector, Robert Cornière (1909-2002). An enlightened enthusiast with a passion for Bugatti and Voisin, he stored numerous models of his two favourite marques during the 1960s at his country residence. The Atalante sat next to every model of Bugatti, in what became one of the biggest marque collections before investors arrived on the scene.
It was April 1962 when Robert Cornière bought the ex-1935 Paris Motor Show Atalante. The hot-headed Italian's careless use had ensured that the engine was unusable. The car was put back on the road and maintained by Henri Hauswald, from Levallois. A former mechanic for the Bugatti repair workshop in Paris, he was extremely familiar with this model. It was repainted in the original cream and brown, although these colours were reversed. Hauswald had tucked away in his garage a new factory engine, no. 548, that was part of the stock from Molsheim hidden in Bordeaux in 1941 and later taken to Paris. This engine, a gearbox and axle, were fitted to chassis 57330, and the original engine, numbered 232, was kept by Robert Cornière for spares, before being sold to René Giordano in 1977. The Atalante was driven by its owner for ten years before being bought by the Parisian collector Michel Seydoux in March 1975. On 7 May 1986 Hervé Ogliastro, President of the Club Bugatti France, acquired the car at an auction in the Château de Fontainebleau. Extremely satisfied with the quality of the restoration of his Ferrari Daytona by André Lecoq, he entrusted the workshop Lecoq with the Atalante for a complete restoration, maintaining the original color scheme, still reversed. He used it for many events organised by the club at Montlhéry, and at international meets. The car won its class at the first concours d'élégance of Bagatelle. The engine has recently been completely rebuilt. The pistons, valves and camshaft have all been refurbished by the well known mechanic of the collection, Francis Courteix. The clutch has been replaced. Since this work was carried out the car has covered less than 5 000 km, driven at all times by experts.

The first Atalante to be shown at the Paris Motor Show in 1935, chassis 57330 returns to the capital for Retromobile 2017. In 1935, Bugatti's coachbuilding workshop produced eight coupés with fold-down roofs on Type 57 chassis. The car presented here, 57330, is the only one to have survived on its original chassis.
The first car officially named Atalante for its launch at the Grand Palais on 5 October 1935, it is the only 1935 roll-top example in the series not to have been destroyed or dismantled. Here is a unique opportunity to acquire an exceptional and emblematic model from the era of Jean Bugatti, who was in charge of the factory in 1935 and used a similar model to promote the marque in 1936.

Pierre-Yves Laugier