Bugatti Type 57 Stelvio by Gangloff
The Type 57 is perhaps the most celebrated of all road-going Bugatti chassis, with a rare combination of style and performance that made it an instant success and marked the final and most lasting legacy of Jean Bugatti. To be successful, Bugatti’s model had to be both powerful and beautiful, and to appeal to the company’s clientele, it had to exhibit the Molsheim firm’s renowned design and engineering prowess.
Introduced in 1934, the Type 57 was everything it was supposed to be. Not only was the chassis clearly Bugatti, but the new engine provided more power, less noise and reduced vibration, as well as improved reliability and durability. It retained Bugatti’s signature double overhead-camshaft valvetrain but was now gear-driven at the rear of the engine block. Rated at 135 bhp in normally aspirated form, the new 3.3-litre engine was fitted with a conventional clutch and gearbox.
Several catalogued body styles were offered, but the most popular open car was the Stelvio four-seat cabriolet. Penned by Bugatti, the bodies were built by several coachbuilders, with slight variations over the years. The Stelvio was offered throughout the entire production run of the Type 57, from introduction in 1934 until 1939
In many ways, it could be said that, like the Ventoux, the Stelvio was an evolution of the line that began with the T50 Profile in 1930 and was simply more refined, lower, sleeker and, as a consequence, more elegant. The result was that the Stelvio caused a sensation in concours events of the era and, with its ample power and technical sophistication, proved equally attractive to performance-hungry pre-war drivers. Little has changed in seven decades.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in May of 2010 at the Grimaldi Forum, Monaco.
135 hp, 3,257 cc inline eight-cylinder engine with dual overhead-camshafts, four-speed manual gearbox, solid front axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, solid rear axle with quarter-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel mechanical brakes. Wheelbase: 3,300 mm (129.9")
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Derdehmel Fotografie & Tom Wood