The automobiles designed by Ettore and Jean Bugatti have consistently held a renowned reputation for their precision engineering and craftsmanship, often drawing justified comparisons to the finest Swiss timepieces. However, among all Bugatti models, none embodied the marque’s celebrated qualities as effortlessly as the elegant, luxurious, and competition-proven Type 57S.
Debuting at the Paris Auto Salon in October 1936, the 57S introduced a fully re-engineered and exceptionally sporty chassis design. It featured a magneto-driven ignition system married to a specially tuned 3.3-liter dual-overhead cam, inline-eight-cylinder engine, boasting an elevated compression ratio of 8.5:1. When combined with the optional “C”-specification Roots-type supercharger, the 200-horsepower 57SC variant (as presented here) could propel itself to a top speed of approximately 120 mph, solidifying its status as the fastest French production car of its era.
Notably, excellence in competition was just one facet of the model’s allure. As a luxurious, high-performance road car, the 57S served as a canvas for some of the most remarkable coachbuilt designs in automotive history. While most bodies were crafted by French firms or Bugatti’s own workshops, British coachbuilders like Corsica also lent their expertise to the 57S. Particularly intriguing were a pair of distinctive 57S models, each sporting four-seat open tourer bodies, with each one showcasing unique variations from the other.