The sleek elegance of a Bugatti Atlantic Type 57SC rounds ÒEttores BendÓ at the Prescott Hillclimb.
Photo: Simon Wright
The Bugatti T57C “tank” had won the 1939 24 Hours of Le Mans driven by Jean-Pierre Wimille/Pierre Veyron and had been back in Molsheim for several weeks. It was about to compete in the La Baule Grand Prix but its designer, 30-year-old Jean Bugatti, was a perfectionist and wanted to make sure the long-nosed racer was up to it. So, at about 10 p.m. on August 11, he blocked off his habitual test section of the Molsheim-Strasbourg road with factory personnel to stop local traffic and let rip. Somehow, a drunk on a bike managed to infiltrate the guarded road near Duppidheim just as the tank arrived. Jean braked and steered wildly, but the car slammed into a tree and the young Bugatti was killed.
Ironically, the La Baule race was cancelled soon afterward due to the international tension that eventually led to the Second World War.
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