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Bugatti Type 57S Cabriolet Offered Publicly for First Time

1937 Bugatti Type 57S Cabriolet Darin Schnabel ©2016 Courtesy of RM Sotheby's
1937 Bugatti Type 57S Cabriolet (photo: Darin Schnabel)

A 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Cabriolet with coachwork by Vanvooren will be featured at the 19th annual RM Sotheby’s Amelia Island auction, scheduled for Saturday, March 11, 2017 over the Amelia Island Concours weekend. Offered for public sale for the first time in its 80-year history, the Type 57S is expected to be among the most valuable automobiles ever offered during the Amelia weekend.

The 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Cabriolet, chassis 57513, is one of three built. It is believed to be the only example of its kind in private hands retaining its original chassis, body, engine and gearbox, plus numerous other seldom seen original components.It has never been completely disassembled for restoration and remains in original condition. Well-documented with known history, it has enjoyed a short string of long-term owners, mostly UK-based enthusiasts; its second and third custodians were notable fixtures in the tight-knit Bugatti community, racing 57513 at Bugatti Owners Club meets and hill climb events, while also using the car for Continental touring.

In 1962, the T57S was acquired by T.A. (Bob) Roberts, OBE, who went on to become its longest-term owner, maintaining the car for the next three decades. Early in Roberts’ custodianship, the Bugatti was changed to its current livery of black over primrose yellow, with various upgrades made to enhance cooling and lighting. During the 1970s, Roberts fitted 57513 with an unused 1937 Type 57G competition engine, while the original unit (numbered 21S) was kept along with the car. Thereafter, it was principally used as a road car, and eventually retired to Roberts’ Midlands Motoring Museum in Bridgnorth, Shropshire, with its original engine reinstalled before passing onto its current and first American owner in the 1990s. In single-ownership for the last two decades, 57513 comes to Amelia Island with its original engine still equipped with the larger competition carburetor from the Type 57G motor, offering an increase in power, and following a recent mechanical recommissioning by RM Auto Restoration. It is expected to command in excess of $8.5 million when it takes center stage at RM’s 2017 Amelia Island sale at the Ritz-Carlton.

“The cars of Ettore and Jean Bugatti exemplify the virtues so appealing to the Classic Era sporting enthusiast who had the means to acquire the very best. The T57, in particular, was legendary for its high power, light handling and overall refinement,” said Don Rose, Car Specialist, RM Sotheby’s.

“Then comes the exceptionally rare and sporting T57S, one of very few open cars built on the same advanced competition chassis as the iconic Bugatti Atlantic Coupé, and just as rare. In total, just 48 57S chassis were built, the majority of which featured factory design coachwork. The fact that this car is one of only three cabriolets bodied by Vanvooren makes it all the more special. We’re truly honored to be presenting chassis 57513 at Amelia Island on behalf of its long-term owner. One could choose to maintain its exceptional originality and charm, or it could be considered as a restoration candidate, expected to be highly competitive at the top level of the international concours scene, potentially worthy of Best of Show celebration,” continued Rose.

The Bugatti will be surrounded by some 80 automobiles at RM Sotheby’s upcoming Amelia Island sale. Among other entries representing pre-war design: a 1930 Stutz Model M Supercharged Coupe and a 1933 Cadillac V-16 All-Weather Phaeton.

One of three supercharged Stutzes in existence, the 1930 Stutz Model M Supercharged Coupe, chassis M-C-31312, is clothed as a rakish and low-slung aluminum coupe by Lancefield Coachworks. It comes to Amelia Island restored and a known roster of owners dating back to Stutz collector A.K. Miller, who purchased it in the late 1940s. Owing to its provenance, design and supercharged specification, RM called it one of the most desirable examples of the Stutz marque (Est. $1,000,000 – $1,400,000).

The 1933 Cadillac V-16 All-Weather Phaeton, motor 5000102, is an example of the top-of-the-line Cadillac V-16 of its era. For the first time in 1933, Cadillac gave the V-16s a separate identity with unique styling cues found in the body lines, fender edges and various finish details throughout. It was also the first Cadillac to feature the “de Sakhnoffsky” hood — a feature in which the hood overlaid the cowl and reached to the base of the windshield. With the Depression taking its toll on the upper classes, only 126 V-16s were delivered by Cadillac in 1933. Only a small number of these All-Weather Phaetons from this year are known to survive. The Cadillac boasts ownership history that includes Gifford Oborne, Bill Chorkey, Carmine Zeccardi and, more recently, Steve Plunkett in whose collection it resided for over a decade (Est. $400,000 – $500,000).

For further information on RM Sotheby’s Amelia Island sale or to view a frequently updated list of entries, visit, or call +1 519 352 4575 to discuss consignment opportunities.

[Source: RM Sotheby’s]