One of Ettore Bugatti’s famous quotes reads; “Nothing is too good, nothing is too expensive.” Yet his company has created arguably the most beautiful and potentially the most expensive car of all time – the 1937 Bugatti Type 57 SC Atlantic The Black Car. One of four Atlantic coupes built in the 1930s. There is a problem, however. We can’t find it. In addition, the 83-year duration of the search for the iconic vintage car makes its search a little more desperate with each passing day.
However, desperation is for the faint of heart, and it is not an attribute of vintage car collectors and auto treasure hunters. In fact, the longer the search, the more valuable the car is when it is finally found … maybe. Notably, the other three units are well known, and if you want to join in the hunt for this unimaginably valuable missing classic car, we have a clue for you; it’s painted black! We tell you more about the vanished automotive wonder, the original The Black Car.
Designed by Jean Bugatti
Born in January 1909, Jean Bugatti was the eldest son of Ettore Bugatti, who would later become a car designer and test engineer for the Bugatti company. Jean was always interested in his father’s car business, even when he was young, and at 23, Jean carried out most of the design of the Bugatti Type 41 Royale.
He went on to design several iconic cars for the company, including the four Atlantic ones, and one of them is the missing one. Bugatti Type 57 SC Atlantic The Black Car.
Based on the Aérolithe concept
The Missing Black Car was based on the 1935 Aérolithe concept car. Built on a standard Type 57 chassis, the Aérolithe Concept car was designed by Jean Bugatti and its body panels were fabricated using an Elektron composite. In addition to being extremely durable and lightweight, however, Elektron becomes extremely flammable when exposed to intense heat.
Thus, the Concept car Aérolithe has never been welded. Instead, her body parts were riveted together, creating a unique and beautiful seam across the car. Unfortunately, he is also missing.
For the Bugatti Type 57SC, the “S” stands for “Surbaissé” which means “Lowered” in English, while the “C” stands for “Compresseur” – which in French means a compressor, used for increase the power. Together with the supercharger, the Atlantic’s 3.3-liter inline-eight engine produces an additional 25 horsepower, bringing the car’s total power to 200 horsepower.
According to The Drive, the missing unit was factory fitted with the compressor, while the other three Atlantic’s had their compressors upgraded at the factory.
Chassis number and body shape
This missing The Black Car had chassis number 57453. Like other Atlantic cars, it features flowing teardrop-shaped coupe lines and can be categorized as Grand Tourer. Being a ‘S’urbaisse’, La Car Noire has a low stance due to its low frame design and has been given a shorter wheelbase as well.
Although the prototype of the 1935 Aérolithe concept car was made from Elektron, the Atlantics, including the missing Black Car, were all made from aluminum. The riveting seam structure on the car is only aesthetic.
The missing Bugatti Type 57 SC Atlantic La Car Noire, along with the other three Atlantics, were produced at the Bugatti plant in Molsheim. Municipality located in the heart of Alsace in France, Molsheim is a peaceful and serene community with a fairly moderate population density.
Molsheim is the birthplace of the Bugatti brand, the origin of a successful journey into luxury automobile production that began in 1909. It is also the home of the Bugatti family, as well as the modern headquarters of the brand.
Born in 1901, Jean Mermoz was a heroic French aviator. Among several other great feats, Mermoz was the first pilot to fly an aircraft across the South Pacific. Very good friend of Jean Bugatti, Mermoz would later lose his life by crashing in the Atlantic Ocean following an engine failure of a Latécoère 300 in 1936.
Notably, the Atlantic model was originally called “Coupe Aero”, however, after hearing about the accident, Jean Bugatti changed the name of the car to “Atlantic Coupe”, in honor of his late man. friend.
Has never been sold
Show cars are often built by car manufacturers specifically for marketing purposes. They are used as test cars and also for public exhibitions, therefore, they are never sold. The missing Black Car was the second Atlantic to be built, and it was designed as a sort of show car. It was built to be the company’s show and test car.
Therefore, it has never been sold or registered to any owner. This was also a major reason the car was extremely difficult to trace.
Became Jean’s car
The Black Car War never sold. However, it still had to be driven to fulfill its role of “show car”. We believe this is the reason why it was adopted by Jean Bugatti as his personal car.
According to Tim Bravo, the current communications manager at Bugatti, the missing black car was adopted and “driven only by Jean Bugatti and selected friends”. Racing driver Robert Benoist would be one of those friends.
The 1940s were a difficult time for the whole world. Hitler had gone mad and World War II was in full swing. Germany launched an invasion of France in 1940, destroying everything in its path. This brings us to the unsubstantiated story of The Black Car’s disappearance.
Ettore would have gathered all his tools and cars in a train leaving for Bordeaux to save them from destruction. But according to Bravo, the Black Car, which was also on the train, “never arrived”.
Bugatti makes cars for the rich. The French automobile company specializes in the production of high performance automobiles, which are revered for their aesthetics and amazing racing prowess. Atlantic coupes were extremely rare, as only four units were produced. This rarity also makes them such coveted and valuable cars.
However, for its massive automotive importance, and based on the current value of the other three Atlantic coupes, the absence of La Car Noire, according to Hemmings, is worth around $ 114 million if found today.
Valued at $ 19 million, the Noire combines extreme engineering, passion and the best of design to perpetuate the immense reputation of the Bugatti brand.
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