The 1936 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic, co-owned by the Mullin Automotive Museum and Rob and Melani Walton, was named winner of the 2018 Peninsula Best of the Best Award. A total of eight Best of Show winners from top 2017 Concours around the globe competed for the title of the most exceptional car in the world. The Bugatti was named ‘Best of Show Concours d’Etat’ at the 2017 Chantilly Arts and Elegance Concours. This year’s winner was announced during the Retromobile Car Week.
Powered by a supercharged engine and considered by many to be the first supercar ever made, the winning Bugatti is one of four Type 57 Atlantic models ever produced, with only three in the world remaining. The vehicle was designed at the height of the art deco movement by Jean Bugatti, Ettore Bugatti’s son. Jean based the car on his other design, the 1935 Aerolithe concept car, which was famously riveted externally, for fear of the magnesium-alloy body parts catching fire. Jean kept this signature riveted seam on the all-aluminium body of the Atlantic.
“The Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic is the crown jewel of the automotive circuit,” said Bugatti Head of Tradition Julius Kruta. “This car was Jean Bugatti’s masterpiece with its beautiful and breath-taking lines, plus its unmatched performance for the time. Today, it remains the ultimate expression of the Bugatti legacy: unparalleled power and beautiful design.”
This model, chassis number 57374, was the first Type 57 Atlantic produced and is the only surviving “Aero Coupe,” a designation given to the first two cars that were mechanically similar to the Aérolithe. The car was delivered new in 1936 to Britain’s Nathaniel Mayer Victor Rothschild, third Baron Rothschild, and has since passed through few owners in its 82-year history. The car has been displayed internationally, and most recently, was on display at the Petersen Automotive Museum for the “Art of Bugatti” exhibit.
“The Atlantic represents the pinnacle of everything I adore about French automotive styling and is widely described as the Mona Lisa of the automobile collector world,” said Peter Mullin, Founder and CEO of the Mullin Automotive Museum. “From its signature curves to its aviation-inspired rivets, to the Jean Bugatti designed sleek all-aluminium body, the car is truly a remarkable piece of art. I’m very honoured to have shared it with the world amongst other worthy ‘Best of the Best’ contenders.”
“I second Peter’s thoughts – the other seven nominees were simply stunning, which makes winning the award feel even more special,” said Rob Walton, co-owner of the winning car. “What this award does is allow us to take a step back and admire the quality and beauty of the greatest classic cars in existence today. For an automotive fan like myself, it’s a joy.”
The finalists under consideration for the 2018 Peninsula Best of the Best Award:
1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Spider by Touring: Amelia Island Concours de Sport
1951 Ferrari 212 Export Cabriolet by Vignale, design by Giovanni Michelotti: The Gran Turismo Ferrari Cup, Cavallino Classic
1936 Bugatti Type 57 SC Coupe Atlantic, design by Jean Bugatti: Chantilly Arts & Elegance
1957 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Speciale Prototipo by Bertone, design by Franco Scaglione: Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este
1935 Lancia Astura Aerodinamica Coupe by Castagna: Concours of Elegance Hampton Court Palace
1957 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet by Pinin Farina: Goodwood Cartier Style et Luxe Concours d’Elegance
1929 Mercedes-Benz S Roadster by Barker: Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance
1964 ATS 2500 GTS by Allemano, design by Franco Scaglione: The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering
The winning Bugatti was selected after being reviewed by motor car experts, designers and celebrities in the motoring world. The Hon. Sir Michael Kadoorie, together with award co-founders Christian Philippsen, William E. “Chip” Connor and Bruce Meyer, created the award that debuted in 2016. Previously presented during Monterey Car Week, the award moved to Paris this year to be presented during the Retromobile event. Prior Best of the Best winners include the 1954 Maserati A6GCS/53 Berlinetta by Pinin Farina (2017) and the 1937 Talbot-Lago T150-C SS (2016).
According to Bruce Meyer, “For the third year, the ultimate standard for judging The Peninsula Classics Best of the Best Award was that of uncompromised quality and design. Of course, this made the selection process most challenging for the esteemed group of panelists. In the end, the 1936 Bugatti Type 57 SC Coupe Atlantic emerged victorious, with its exceptional, bespoke design making it a marvellous combination of art and technology.”