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Celebrating the Bugatti 57SC Atlantic

By Henry Sands

This story originally appeared in the September/October 2017 issue of Elite Traveler.

We are lucky enough to live in a world which contains some truly magnificent cars. From classics to modern supercars, the caliber of automobiles right across the manufacturing spectrum deserves more recognition than it currently receives, particularly from non-enthusiasts.

Occasionally, however, a car can be elevated beyond the comparison to just other automobiles. It becomes something to be compared to a classical masterpiece or a great medical breakthrough. The Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic is just that, which is why there was little surprise when it recently won the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, the world’s most prestigious car show that takes place on the shores of Lake Como.

Considered by many as a monument to pre-war Europe, the Atlantic 57SC was the pinnacle of the Bugatti’s family’s contribution to the 20th century and the automotive industry. Your chances of ever getting to drive this car are almost zilch, as there are only two in the world. One, from 1936, recently sold for $40m and is now in residence at the Mullin Automotive Museum in California, and a second, from 1938, belongs to Ralph Lauren. But you do not need to drive it to appreciate it.