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Type 57 S Gangloff Atalante
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  Bugatti Type 57 S Gangloff Atalante

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Country of origin:France
Produced from:1936 - 1938
Numbers built:41 (all versions)
Designed by:Jean Bugatti
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:October 08, 2007
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Click here to download printer friendly versionA more sportive variation on the Type 57 chassis was launched in August of 1936, the Type 57 S. That S was not short for 'sport,' but for 'sousbaisse', which is French for lower. The rear axle was now mounted through two holes in the frame, making it the first production Bugatti with an 'underslung chassis.' The axles were mounted above the chassis centre line, effectively lowering the entire car and increasing the handling. The chassis was not only lower, but also had a 32 cm shorter wheelbase compared to the original Type 57.

To add to the sportier character of the Type 57 S chassis a more powerful engine was fitted. A race-car like dry-sump lubrication system was installed, which meant the engine could be mounted lower in the chassis. A higher compression ratio saw the power increase from 135 to 170 bhp. The optional Roots-type supercharger added a further 40 bhp to that figure. Only very low chassis Type 57 were originally fitted with the supercharger but many were later upgraded to full Type 57 SC specification. The factory 2-seater bodies of the 'regular' Type 57 like the Atalante and Stelvio were modified to fit the new chassis.

Every aspect of the Type 57 S just screamed performance with its race-inspired engine and short and low chassis. Like supercars of any era, only very few were constructed and every single one by hand between 1936 and 1938. 'Most common' was the Atalante bodied version, but most famous up to this day is the Atlantic, which featured a body made up of a two halves riveted together along the centre line. Today the two Atlantics that survived in original condition are among the most valuable cars in the world with one example changing hands for over $30 million recently.

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  Article Image gallery (12) 57501 Specifications User Comments (1)