Auctions and Brokerage
Coachwork by Gangloff
*Please note that this vehicle is titled 1938. Online bidding is not available for this vehicle.
Gabriel d’Aubarède, Lyon, France (acquired new in 1936)M. Goldberg, France (acquired circa 1946)J.G. Cady, DeWitt, New York (acquired in 1959)Automotive Surplus Co., Detroit, Michigan (acquired circa 1965)Current Owner (acquired from the above in 1968)
Unveiled in 1934, the Type 57 is widely regarded as a masterpiece from the hand of Jean Bugatti. Designed to replace the popular Type 49, the new Bugatti was powered by a magnificent 3.3-liter twin-cam straight-eight engine and represented the ultimate in automotive performance and design. Bugatti continually refined the Type 57 throughout its production run resulting in three distinct series of chassis. The second-series chassis – introduced in 1936 and underpinning the car presented here – featured a strengthened rear axle, cross-braced frame, rubber engine mounts, and upgraded brakes, among other improvements.
The history of this Type 57, chassis 57442, can be traced back to September 24, 1936, when it was invoiced to Monestier, the official Bugatti agent in Lyon, France. According to Barrie Price’s definitive book, Bugatti 57: The Last French Bugatti, this car was originally equipped with engine no. 310 and Labourdette Cabriolet coachwork.
As recorded in several Bugatti registries, the first owner of 57442 was the celebrated French novelist, literary critic, and journalist Gabriel d’Aubarède, who co-founded Fortunio magazine in 1914. It is believed that M. d’Aubarède owned the Type 57 for only a brief period; by November 1937, it was offered for sale by Gaston Docime, the Bugatti agent in Neuilly-sur-Seine. The Type 57 was stored in Nice throughout WWII and was sold in the late 1940s to M. Goldberg. Around the time of his acquisition, the engine seized and the car was taken to Paris for a mechanical overhaul. Presumably, it was during this process that the original engine was replaced with the current unit, which is stamped with the chassis number rather than a conventional engine number.
Also around this time, the original Labourdette coachwork was replaced with a Stelvio body constructed by Gangloff of Colmar. One of Bugatti’s oldest collaborators, Gangloff was a prolific supplier of coachwork for the Type 57, specializing in the construction of the elegant, open Stelvio and Aravis body styles.
In 1959, J.G. Cady of DeWitt, New York, acquired and imported the Bugatti. In 1968, the current owner acquired the Type 57 from a used-car dealer in Detroit; remarkably, it has remained in his care for the past 50 years. Over the decades, the Bugatti has continued in active service and has been enjoyed on weekend outings. Though it has been repainted and reupholstered in recent years, 57442 remains in fundamentally unrestored condition.
Rare, exotic, and glamorous, the Type 57 is among the most desirable of all prewar automobiles. This fascinating example, kept in the care of just one owner for the past 50 years and presented at auction for the first time in its history, is a thrilling discovery. We have no doubt that this important Bugatti will spark tremendous interest when it returns to the public eye.