Stunning Bugatti Type 57 sells for £1.5 million at Revival
An ultra-rare Bugatti Type 57 topped the Bonhams Revival Sale this weekend, an auction filled with automotive treasures, selling for a cool £1.5 million.
The sole survivor from an exclusive trio of Bugatti beauties, it was officially a “faux cabriolet” (i.e. a coupe) but known as the Atalante, even though it was not called that when new. It was one of just three cars built by Bugatti with this stunning coachwork; the fate of the other two cars is not known. The Atalante was owned by the late Barry Burnett since 2008, and it was from his estate that the car was being sold.
In the past the Bugatti has been completely restored. Bonhams says among the invoices is one for £100,000 – just for the engine rebuild. But then not every car in 1935 had a 3.3-litre, double-overhead-camshaft, straight eight that could power the exceptional Type 57 with the speed and refinement for which the T57 is famous.
Even its registration numberplate is a bit special: that is DYF 4 which once graced the Type 57S belonging to Bugatti fan Sir Malcolm Campbell.
Elsewhere the 1961 ex-works DB4 GT demonstrator has a new name in its logbook to follow on from that of its first owner: world land and water speed record holder Donald Campbell. Selling ahead of the auction, the Aston with a provenance to die for had been tipped to make between £2.2-2.8 million.
A 1969 DB6 Volante was also offered up at the sale. One of only 36 Mk2 convertibles built, this one is even more special because it was converted to Vantage engine spec, with ZF five-speed gearbox, by the factory. There are only nine of those. Its rarity was reflected in its sale price of £743,000 including the premium.
In terms of cars beating their pre-sale estimate, one really stood out. That was the 1961 Cooper Climax T55 Lowline Formula 1 car, as campaigned by Sir Jack Brabham. The reigning world champion in 1961, Sir Jack contested six grands prix in ’61, winning on its debut at Aintree, before heading down under to take part in the Tasman Series that year.
Only two T55 Lowlines were built, one for Sir Jack and one for Bruce McLaren. Why Lowline? Because Sir Jack had told John Cooper he wanted a car he could lie in rather than sit in, another example of Cooper’s influence in F1, along of course with being the first make to win the championship with a rear-engined car.
The historic Cooper beat its estimate by a massive £100,000, selling for £244,375 including the premium. It was an appropriate result in the year of Cooper’s 60th anniversary F1 championship, something being celebrated during the Revival.
The Cooper’s sale was also good news for Sir Jackie Stewart since all proceeds from the sale are being donated by Peter Livanos to Sir Jackie’s charity, Race Against Dementia.
The Bugatti, though, was the highlight of an auction which saw a huge range of enthusiasts’ machinery and memorabilia go to new homes, from a V8-powered barstool – that sold for £8,800! – to race car transporters. Other notable successes at the Bonhams Revival sale this year included:
1939 Alfa Romeo 6C 2300B short chassis Spider, £408,250