Bonhams announced a 1937 Bugatti Type 57S for the new Legends of the Road classic car sale in London in February 2021.
A 1937 Bugatti Type 57S with Grand Routier coachwork by Corsa is on offer at the Bonhams Legends of the Road classic car auction in London in 2021. The car is an advanced restoration project close to completion with largely intact black paintwork, cream leather interior, and original coachwork. The Bugatti has been off the road for over 50 years and will be offered for the first time ever at auction with an estimate of £5,000,000 – 7,000,000 ($6,500,000 — 9,000,000) and no reserve.
Bonhams London Legends of the Road Sale 2021
Bonhams announced the Legends of the Road auction as an extraordinary sale of exceptional motor cars at its flagship saleroom in London on 19 February 2021.
A 1937 Bugatti Type 57S will form the centerpiece of the auction. The top auction of 2020 was the Gooding’s Passion of a Lifetime sale in London where five of the ten most-expensive cars of 2020, including three classic Bugattis, were sold. That auction showed that quality continues to sell.
1937 Bugatti Type 57S at Bonhams London 2021
The 1937 Bugatti Type 57S with coachwork by Corsa on offer at the Bonhams Legends of the Road sale in London in 2021 is one of the world’s most valuable and desirable pre-war motor cars. Only 42 Type 57S cars were produced and this one, in a highly authentic condition, has been off the road for the past 50 years. Daringly, for its first time ever at auction, it is offered at no reserve, with an estimate of £5,000,000 – 7,000,000 ($6,500,000 — 9,000,000.
Since 1969, this Bugatti Type 57S remained in the North Staffordshire workshop of its late owner, respected engineer and Bugattiste Bill Turnbull. The car is presented in exceptionally original condition, mechanically restored to Mr Turnbull’s exacting standards, and effectively only in need of some final re-assembly.
This Bugatti’s chassis has been identified as one of only three special lightweight frames produced for the 1936 season of Grand Prix winning and multiple world record-breaking Bugatti works Type 57G Tank streamlined sports-racing cars, the factory racing derivative of the 57S.
The car was given the charming period nickname of Dulcie due to its British registration number ‘DUL 351’.
1937 Bugatti Type 57S
This 1937 Bugatti Type 57S was originally ordered new by Robert Ropner, a member of the Ropner Shipping Line family, from renowned London dealership Jack Barclay. Ropner specified a custom-built four-seater sports Grand Routier body fashioned by the celebrated coachbuilders Corsica of London to envelope its powerful 3.3-liter engine, which made the 57S the fastest road car of its day.
With the success of the marque on the racetrack during the golden era of the 1930s, Bugatti sports cars were regarded as Grand Prix cars for the road and were often the off-duty transport for leading racing drivers. It is entirely fitting that this motor car’s second owner was Rodney Clarke, who founded the post war British Connaught Grand Prix racing team.
Soon after buying the 57S in 1969, Mr Turnbull corresponded with all four previous owners and, after a short period of use, stripped it down in his workshop to embark upon a full restoration to his own painstakingly high standards. His work was almost complete at the time of his death.
The Bugatti remained until recently in Mr Turnbull’s workshop. With largely intact black paintwork, cream leather interior and original coachwork, it is offered in exceptionally rare condition, as an advanced project close to completion, with a particularly fascinating and well-documented history file.
Sholto Gilbertson, Director, Bonhams Motor Cars UK, said: “This really is an extraordinary example of one of the most valuable and desirable pre-war motor cars. Other 57S Bugattis are in museums or known collections, and to offer the car to the open market for the first time since 1969 is going to be tremendous. This could well be the last ‘hidden’ pre-war Bugatti of note and we are delighted to present this rediscovered true legend of the road next year at New Bond Street.”
Top Bugatti Results at Public Auction
The five most-expensive cars sold in 2020 were all classic Bugattis. However, this was an exceptional year, not only due to the worldwide pandemic but also despite the fame of the brand, only three Bugattis have ever sold for over $10 million (nominal).
Two of these were sold at the Gooding Passion of a Lifetime London 2020 auction, including the new marque record holder, a 1934 Bugatti Type 59 Sports that sold for $12,681,550 (£9,535,000). In the same sale, a 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Atalante achieved $10,447,150.
Bonhams sold two Type 55 cars in 2020: a magnificent 1932 Bugatti Type 55 Super Sport Roadster with factory bodywork designed by Jean Bugatti for $7,100,000 at Amelia Island and a 1932 Bugatti Type 55 for $5,070,000 at Paris.