It was once said that that the Concorso d'Eleganza in the Villa d’Este is the closet place to heaven on earth. This year the 1938 Bugatti Type 57SC ‘Atlantic’ owned by Ralph Lauren was recognised as the most special car there. Not only did chassis 57591 win Best of Show Voted by the Jury, and Best in Class B, the histrionic 1930’s supercar was given the public vote award.
57591 and was ordered by British enthusiast Richard Pope in 1938 who owned it for thirty years. The car passed through different hands before it was acquired by British collector Anthony Bamford. In 1988 it was bought into the private collection of fashion designer Ralph Lauren where it remains to this day.
Upon its launch, Bugatti struck gold with the introduction of the Type 57 early in 1934. In one big sweep, it replaced all existing road going models in the Bugatti line-up. The eight-cylinder engine design was available in the form of a formal four-door sedan to a sporty roadster. The most exclusive design was the 'Atlantic' two-door coupe. Only four were built and this is the last of the four. 57591 differs from its predecessors’ notable the separate headlights, which are mounted flush with the bumpers on the other three.
Today the Atlantic is generally considered Bugatti's ultimate creation, which means it one of the finest cars ever produced. During the last decades, the two original cars of the four that have survived have been in long-term ownership, although one sold in the spring of 2010. It was auctioned off by Gooding & Co. The American based firm did not officially release a sale price, although people believe it went for between $30m to $40m. David Gooding, head of the auction house, described the car as:
"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".