Hidden Treasure: Vintage 1937 Bugatti Type 57S, excavated after half a century in North Staffordshire, to be auctioned for an estimated £ 7 million
- The Bugatti is one of 42 ever produced and is considered one of the most coveted classics of the pre-war era
- The last owner removed it from the road in 1969 and had since kept it in a North Staffordshire workshop
- After his recent death, the classic car will be offered to the highest bidder as part of his estate
- It is in “exceptionally rare” and incredible condition and is expected to fetch between £ 5m and £ 7m
One of the world’s most valuable and sought-after pre-war cars has been discovered in secret after 50 years – and is expected to sell for a staggering seven-figure amount when it goes up for auction in February.
The model in question is a Bugatti Type 57S from 1937, which has not been in service for 50 years and whose whereabouts and condition are relatively unknown.
After resurfacing in recent months, the rediscovered treasure will result in an exceptional sale of exceptional motor vehicles in Bonhams’ flagship London showroom with a guide price of between £ 5 million and £ 7 million.
Hidden treasure: this 1937 Bugatti is considered one of the most sought-after pre-war classic cars and is set to sell for up to £ 7 million at a London auction
The uncovered Bugatti Type 57S, one of only 42 produced, will be presented at the Legends of the Road Sale on February 19.
The operating sequence of the beautiful vintage engine has been little known for half a century, since it has remained in the workshop of its late owner, respected engineer and Bugatti fanatic, Bill Turnbull in North Staffordshire since 1969.
However, the car was dug up after Mr Turnbull’s recent death and his estate was checked.
It has been kept in exceptionally original condition, mechanically restored to the high standards of its late owner, and effectively only requires one final assembly.
The 1937 Bugatti Type 57S has not been in service for 50 years and is kept in a private collection in a workshop in North Staffordshire
The vehicle will be offered to the highest bidder as part of the estate of the last owner after his death this year
As you can see in the pictures of the vintage engine, it has been kept in an exceptionally original condition and mechanically restored to the high standards of its late owner
The 57S – ‘S’ stands for ‘Surbaissé’ and translated from French to ‘Lowered’ – was originally re-ordered from renowned London dealer Jack Barclay by Robert Ropner, a member of the Ropner Shipping Line family.
Ropner specified a purpose-built 4-seater Sport Grand Routier body, designed by the famous coachbuilder Corsica of London to encase its powerful 3.3 liter engine. This made the 57S the fastest road car of its time, with a top speed in the range of 115 mph.
The car received the charming nickname “Dulcie” due to its British registration number “DUL 351”.
With the brand’s success on the racetrack in the golden era of the 1930s, Bugatti sports cars were seen as grand prix cars for the road and were often the off-duty transport for leading racing drivers.
The classic Bugatti is a powerful 3.3-liter engine that made the 57S the fastest road car of its time with a top speed in the range of 115 km / h
It will be offered to the highest bidder in February with an almost perfect black paintwork, cream-colored leather interior and original body
Everything on the car was originally and respectfully restored by the last goalkeeper who was a Bugatti enthusiast
Fittingly, the car’s second owner was Rodney Clarke – founder of the post-war British Connaught Grand Prix racing team.
What is special about this example is that the chassis has been identified as one of only three special lightweight frames made for the 1936 season of winning the Grand Prix derivative of the 57S.
Shortly after purchasing the 57S in 1969, Mr Turnbull corresponded with all four previous owners and, after a short period of use, moved it out of his workshop to carry out a full restoration to his own standards. His work was almost complete by the time of his death.
The Bugatti stayed in the same workshop until recently.
It is offered to the highest bidder with an almost perfect black paintwork, cream-colored leather interior and original body.
The Bugatti will be at the heart of the Legends of the Road Bonhams sale, which takes place in London on February 19, 2021, and will feature an exclusive line of exceptional vehicles next year
What is special about this example is that the chassis was identified as one of only three special lightweight frames that were manufactured for the 1936 Grand Prix season. It was used by the several world record-breaking Bugatti plants Type 57G Tank, which optimized sports racing cars, the works racing derivative of the 57S
Bonhams said the car is being sold in “exceptionally rare condition” with a particularly fascinating and well-documented history file.
Sholto Gilbertson, the auctioneer’s director, said, “This is truly an exceptional example of one of the most valuable and sought-after pre-war cars.
‘Other 57S Bugattis are in museums or well-known collections, and it will be enormous to put the car on the open market for the first time since 1969.
“This could be the last pre-war Bugatti ‘hidden’ and we are excited to bring this rediscovered true legend of the street to New Bond Street next year.”
The Bugatti will be at the heart of the Legends of the Road Sale, which will showcase an exclusive range of exceptional cars next year.