A rare and beautiful 1936 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic has been named the winner of the prestigious The Peninsula Classics Best of the Best Award at The Peninsula Paris hotel.
Now in its third year, The Peninsula Classics Best of the Best Award brought together eight of the world’s finest classic cars—the best of show winners from the top international concours—to compete for the title of the most exceptional motor car in the world. The Bugatti is co-owned by the Mullin Automotive Museum, and Rob and Melani Walton, located in California, USA, and was named “Best of Show Concours d’Etat” at the 2017 Chantilly Arts & Elegance.
Speaking of the award’s legacy, The Hon. Sir Michael Kadoorie, Chairman of The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited and co-founder of the award said, “My great hope is that we not only succeed in thrilling long-term car enthusiasts, but that this award will also ignite a new-found passion for those just discovering the world of motoring.”
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 Aérolithe 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.
This model, chassis number 57374, was the first Type 57 Atlantic produced and is the only surviving “Aéro Coupé,” a designation given to the first two cars that were mechanically very 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 Los Angeles-based 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.”
Bruce Meyer, co-founder of the award, along with The Hon. Sir Michael Kadoorie, Christian Philippsen and William E. “Chip” Connor added, “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 panellists.” He continued: “In the end, the 1936 Bugatti Type 57 SC Coupé Atlantic emerged victorious, with its exceptional, bespoke design making it a marvellous combination of art and technology.”
Previously presented during Monterey Car Week, the award moved to Paris this year to be presented during the world-famous Rétromobile event. The Bugatti was presented at an exclusive reveal party in The Peninsula Paris’ subterranean garage, following a private dinner.
The winning vehicle was selected after being reviewed by 24 automotive experts, designers and notable celebrities within the motoring world. Learn more about each judge by clicking here.
The other finalists under consideration for the award were as follows:
- 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 Coupé Atlantic, design by Jean Bugatti: Chantilly Arts & Elégance Richard Mille
- 1957 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Speciale Prototipo by Bertone, design by Franco Scaglione: Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este
- 1933/35 Lancia Astura Aerodinamica Coupé 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 Coupé by Allemano, design by Franco Scaglione: The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering
Learn more about the 2017 finalists here.