1936 Bugatti 57 SC Atlantic - Ken Bryant
1936 Bugatti 57 SC Atlantic - Ken Bryant

Bugatti Atlantic Shines at Arizona Concours

The Arizona Concours d’Elegance 2017 was held Sunday, January 15th at the Arizona Biltmore Resort in Phoenix. Held during Arizona Auction Week, ninety cars were arrayed on the show field for the 4th annual event, divided into 17 classes.

A 1936 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic owned by Peter and Merle Mullin and Rob and Melani Walton was awarded Best of Show. The handbuilt Bugatti has prominent front fenders and a narrow aluminum body uniquely joined by rivets running along its fenders and down its spine. The car usually is housed at the Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard, California, but had been on loan to the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles where it has been part of a special display.

Formerly the pillar of the Williamson Bugatti Collection, the Atlantic (chassis 57374) was awarded Best of Show at the 2003 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. It is one of two completely original Type 57SC Atlantics in existence, with the other owned by Ralph Lauren.

To be eligible to win Best of Show — the event’s top award — a car must first win its class. Four class winners emerged as finalists. In addition to the Bugatti Atlantic, they included:

  • 1937 Lagonda LG45 Rapide Sport Tourer, owned by the Stephens family of San Francisco. The car is one of 25 Rapides built.
  • 1955 Ferrari 250 Europa Coupe with coachwork by Vignale. The car is owned by Kevin Cogan of Louisville, Kentucky, and was the first Europa model produced by Ferrari, debuting at the Paris Auto Salon in 1953.
  • 1933 Marmon V16 Convertible Coupe, owned by Aaron and Valerie Weiss of San Marino, California, a large luxury vehicle and the last car produced by the Indianapolis automaker best-known for the Marmon Wasp that won the inaugural Indianapolis 500-mile race.

The Type 57SC Atlantic had won the special class of Cars of Ettore and Jean Bugatti, which included eight examples of Bugatti artistry and performance, including three historic 1920s Grand Prix cars once raced by famous women drivers in Europe.

Warner Hall, a senior docent from the Mullin Automotive Museum, was the Bugatti’s caretaker at the concours. Could he possibly have been surprised when the judges’ decision was announced?

“Maybe a little,” he said. “We didn’t want to count on anything, especially in a field (of cars) this fabulous. This is such an amazing event, and there are some really amazing cars here.”

The Arizona Concours was held under threatening skies and forecasts of rain, but it stayed dry all day, much to the relief of Concours officials and the car owners who had brought such an assembly of automobiles for the show. The crowd of spectators strolled through the inner lawns of the Arizona Biltmore Resort where the cars were displayed.

On Monday, many of the cars from the Concours participated in the Arizona Tour d’Elegance that included a free public display of the vehicles at the South Canal Bridge in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Net proceeds from the Arizona Concours, as well as generous donations from participants and spectators, benefit Make-A-Wish® Arizona, the founding chapter of the organization that grants wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions.The fifth annual Arizona Concours will be held January 14, 2018.

Arizona Concours 2017 – Photo Gallery

Arizona Concours 2017 – Class Winners

Best of Show – 1936 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic

Antique Automobiles – 1909 Renault AX
Pre-War European Sports/Racing – 1938 Jaguar SS-100
Post-War America-Powered Sports Cars – 1960 Chevrolet Corvette
Post-War American Racing Cars – 1951 Cunningham C2
Post-War European Sports Cars/Early – 1956 Lancia Aurelia B24S Convertible
Post-War European Sports Cars/Late – 1960 Ferrari 250 GT PF Cabriolet SII
Post-War European Racing Cars – 1955 Ferrari 500 Mondial
American Classic/Open – 1933 Marmon V16 Convertible Coupe
Iconic Post-War American Cars – 1953 Cadillac Convertible
Iconic Post-War European Cars – 1949 Delahaye 155M
Preservation Cars – 1959 AC Ace Bristol Roadster
Avante Garde – 1931 Nash Model 887 Touring Sedan
Classic Era Lincolns – 1926 Lincoln LeBaron
Coachwork by Carrozzeria Vignale – 1953 Ferrari 250 Europa

Arizona Concours 2017 – Special Award Winners

Most Elegant Pre-War Car – 1931 Duesenberg Model J Tourster
Director’s Choice – 1951 Ferrari 212 MM
Historic Vehicle Association Most Well-Preserved Vehicle – 1949 MG TC
Historic Vehicle Association National Automotive Heritage Award – 1955 Ferrari 500 Mondial
Hagerty Youth Judging Award – 1959 Bocar XP-5
Make-A-Wish Kids Choice Award – 1936 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic

[Source: Arizona Concours]