The Type 57 reflects Jean’s ambitious, if not radical, new ideas and undoubtedly inherited creative talent. The established Bugatti company was now in the hands of it's youngest name holder. Only in his early twenties, Jean came up with a completely new concept that strayed far away from the traditional Bugatti practice. It was so outlandish, in fact, that his father told him to abandon the idea (independent front suspension) immediately. But like every good headstrong son, he did not listen and continued to conceive his wild brainchild. The Type 57 bore countless unique innovations that were completely unlike the past Bugattis, everything from the camshaft at the rear of the engine instead of the front, a single plate clutch instead of Ettore's favored multi plate design to a split front axle instead of the original solid front axle. Official production began in 1934 and continued until World War II was declared in 1939.
The young visionary ingeniously created an effortless silhouette of sweeping lines and aviation style.
As the brilliant new design had much success, multiple variations were created. The high-class clientele now called for a sports version, which was answered with a dramatically revised 57S. By 1935 young Jean had created the ultimate Bugatti. Only 48 of the exclusive, sophisticated, rapid, and beautifully constructed Type 57S Bugatti's would be built of which only seventeen were bodied with the beautiful, elegant, athletic Atalante coupé style. This incredible creation of the Bugatti prodigy was not only an unbelievable example of his natural abilities, but it would also immortalize his legacy. Jean Buggati was killed, at just 30 years of age, while testing a Type 57 race car.
Before his premature death, Jean presented the world with one more remarkable gem, the Bugatti Atlantic, built from nothing less than the stuff of legends. The young visionary ingeniously created an effortless silhouette of sweeping lines and aviation style, building an industrial sculpture with a mechanical beating heart. It's skin is made of Electron, an alloy of magnesium and aluminum from IG Farben of Germany. Although it is strong and much lighter than aluminum, it is highly flammable. This meant that each panel had to be hand riveted. This process created the raised dorsal strip, which showed off an unbelievable marriage of function and form. Our other favorite characteristics of the holy Atlantic are the six beastly exhaust pipes and free-form suicide doors.
Only three Atlantics were ever produced, and only two remain to bless the streets and the world's most prestigious car shows. The third was tragically totaled in a fatal train collision in 1955. The most well known one is all black and owned by famous car collector and fashion designer Ralph Lauren. The mighty Atlantic’s name holds weight, as it is the most expensive car in the world and possibly the first true supercar to ever reach an untouchable top speed. A few years back, an Atlantic sold at auction in the neighborhood of $30 million. Yeah take that Birdman, your Veyron only cost a measly million.
The contemporary Veyron possesses some similarities to its magnificent predecessor—both are capable of top speeds that double that of any rival and both appear to have come from somewhere out of this world. Bugatti’s legacy will continue on, as a final decision to pay proper homage to its original God—the upcoming Galibier is touted as "the world's best sedan"—has been confirmed. Bugatti has been doing this supercar thing for nearly a century. The latest chapter will be the world’s greatest ever sedan. One certain to become an object of lore and desire for our favorite celebrity drivers.