A charming story with this car, as told below by RM Auctions.
1938 Bugatti Type 57C Stelvio by Gangloff
15 – 16 August 2014
1938 Bugatti Type 57C Stelvio by Gangloff
$800,000 – $1,000,000
- Chassis no. 57597
- Engine no. 82 C
210 bhp, 3,257 cc supercharged DOHC inline eight-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission, solid front axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, live rear axle with quarter-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 130 in.
Formerly of the Bob Pond Collection
Mechanical restoration by the legendary “Bunny” Phillips
First in Class at the 1989 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance
Multiple CCCA award winner
A supercharged variant of Bugatti’s most celebrated chassis
Bugatti’s Type 57 is undoubtedly the most celebrated road car of the marque’s storied history. The Type 57, developed directly from motorsports and refined to boast the best elements of luxury and automotive athleticism, was considered to be the gold standard of touring automobiles in the 1930s. It was introduced in 1934 as the replacement for the aging Type 49. It was designed by Ettore Bugatti’s son, Jean, and utilizes the eight-cylinder twin-cam engine from the Type 49, with the primary difference being the presence of timing gears rather than timing chains.
While the Type 57 exudes elegance and class, an experienced driver can ascertain hints of the company’s sporting nature through the chassis, and while this vehicle is often associated with the utmost levels of luxury, there’s no denying its sporting nature. The Type 57 was originally offered in four distinct body styles, three of which were named after famous mountain peaks in the Alps, Galibier, Stelvio, and Ventoux.
Customers could opt to increase the performance of their new Type 57 by opting for their engine to be fitted with a Roots-type supercharger and designated as a 57C. The 57C was first seen installed in a Ventoux at the 1936 Paris Salon, and it became available for customers later that year. It greatly increased output and improved performance over the already excellent naturally aspirated engine. Racing iterations of the 57C utilizing the supercharged engine, which were nicknamed “tanks” for their ungainly utilitarian bodies, won the French Grand Prix in 1936 and the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1937 and 1939, proving the potency of the chassis.
In all, 684 Type 57s were built before the Bugatti factory was forced to close due to World War II, and just 96 of those constructed were 57Cs, making them some of the most sought-after examples of the model not only for their rarity but also for their additional performance. Of those 96, many believed that the crème de la crème was the 57C Stelvio, as it combined the performance of the supercharged engine with the exhilarating experience of open-air motoring for four passengers.
This Type 57 was delivered new to a Bugatti dealership in Lyon, France. It was constructed by the factory in Molsheim with a supercharged engine, as denoted by the suffix “C,” and it received Gangloff coachwork, as documented in Barrie Price’s Bugatti 57: The Last French Bugatti. It was purchased new as a replacement for a naturally aspirated Type 57 drophead by the d’Aubarede brothers, Jean and Paul, who resided in Lyon. It was later registered in the department of Rhone under plate number 4090 PF 9. The car remained in their possession until at least the beginning of 1939, as noted by factory engine work that was performed on behalf of the brothers in January of that year. According to research compiled by noted Bugatti historian Pierre Yves-Laugier, the car was reportedly requisitioned from the d’Aubarede family for use during the war.
After the war, in 1957, the car was found, still registered in Lyon with plate 3644 Z 69, by Henri Malatre. It was later purchased by famous Bugatti hunter Jean-Louis du Montant, of Eymoutiers in western France, and according to H.G. Conway’s 1961 Bugatti Register, it was painted light blue. Around this time, it is believed that chassis 57597 received the supercharged engine that it retains today from another Type 57, chassis 57809, and the engine was numbered 82C.
In May 1963, the car was purchased from du Montant by Dr. Richard Roger, a cardiologist in Southern California, who also owned a pair of Bugatti Type 49s. Dr. Roger kept the car for the next 15 years, before it was purchased in 1978 by Gary W. Tiscornia, of Milford, Michigan. By this time, the Bugatti was in rather tired condition, and he commissioned a full restoration by Bob Lorkowski at L’Cars Corporation in Cameron, Wisconsin. Renowned California Bugattiste O.A. “Bunny” Phillips was tasked with sorting the mechanical work. Tiscornia chose to finish the car in an eye-catching teal-on-teal color combination with a light tan convertible top, which it wears to this day. The restoration was completed in 1988, and the car was invited to the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 1989, where it proceeded to win its class. Under his ownership, the car scored 100 points at CCCA events three times, in Michigan at the 1989 CCCA Grand Classic, at the 1990 annual meeting, where it was awarded Senior Premier status, and in Minnesota in 1990. After owning it for almost 25 years, Tiscornia finally parted with the car in 1999, after many years of ownership and concours awards.
The following year, chassis number 57597 was acquired by Bob Pond in September 2000 from the Blackhawk Collection, as is evidenced by a Bill of Sale included with the car. During his ownership, Pond showed 57597 a few different times, including at the 2009 Desert Classic Concours d’Elegance in Palm Springs, California, alongside his Delahaye and Tucker, proving the quality of the car’s restoration. It has been well maintained and preserved as a part of his collection ever since.
There’s no question that the Bugatti 57C Stelvio is one of the most elegant and fashionable cars of its era, as it beautifully combines coachbuilt style with an engine developed from racing pedigree. In terms of Bugatti road cars, Type 57s of any body style have always been exciting vehicles to admire from both the exterior and interior, and they certainly don’t disappoint on the road, especially when fitted with a factory supercharger. This particular Stelvio boasts an interesting history that spans both the United States and France and is topped with winning Best in Class at the famed Pebble Beach Concours. The car’s restoration has held up well, and it would certainly attract lots of attention wherever it goes.