1936 Bugatti sells for $40 million

The estate of a well-known neurologist recently sold a 1936 Bugatti 57SC Atlantic to an unknown buyer for approximately $30 – $40 million.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the 57SC Atlantic – previously owned by Dr. Peter D. Williamson – was based on the Aerolithe Electron Coupe design, a show car built for the 1935 Paris Auto Salon.

“The car’s low-slung, pontoon-fender design was the work of Jean Bugatti, son of founder Ettore Bugatti,” explained Dan Neil of the WSJ.

“The show car was fashioned out of magnesium panels that were difficult to weld, and so Bugatti employed the car’s distinctive riveted seams. And while the three production Atlantics were built of weldable aluminum, the seams were retained as a design cue.”

Meanwhile, Leslie Kendall, curator of the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, told the WSJ that the classic car had “everything” going for it.

“In addition to technical sophistication, it was most avant-garde and futuristic car built up to that time. It embodies every ideal important to car aficionados. It’s beautiful, performs well, beautifully built, and rare,” said Kendall.

“[So], it’s official, certain cars have reached the level of art. People will start paying attention. It should be obvious that there are connoisseurs out there who appreciate cars just as much as they do art, fine wine, furniture and sculpture.”