Amelia Island Time Capsules: $903k 1937 Bugatti Type 57C Roadster — Leaves Me Cold — Find Out Why?

Plowing through my gigantic Amelia Island photo folders. =]

Not only do I rarely meet a Bugatti I do not like — I think the Amelia Island 2014 event was the first time I have ever touched any Bugatti, whatsoever!

Therefore, you can imagine my internal surprise at my blase feelings toward this magnificent 1939 57C — which were less than positive.

I just didn’t like it. The color seemed off, the coachwork overwrought, and certainly not nearly as stunning, genuine and authentically-desirable as the racecars across the room.

I blamed poor lighting on day one due to the car being inside and in a corner. But day two the 57C was jabbed by another auto hack — is it a recreation!?

This is not 100-percent true. The $903,000 total is certainly far from cheap — and there are indeed real Bugatti bones under these flowing panels.

But the car is a bit of a mind-meld, however, since it did not acquire these panels until the 1990s in America. Done in the style of Figoni et Falaschi — this is something of a millionaire’s Delehaye.

The saddest part about the recreated bodywork is that this 57C originally work coachwork by Vanvooren (until the 1950s, RM believes). Vanvooren is best known in my book for his Round Door Coupe Rolls-Royce.  This is not correct, but the Round Door Rolls is still awesome.


Malcolm Pray owned and commissioned the bodywork of this 57C, which still beats with its original supercharged straight-eight heart. (I also was not a fan of Mr. Pray’s $6.6-million-bringing Delehaye in the same room. Just something that really left me cold with both cars.)

How cold? I only took one photo of this Delehaye — and it was the top-earning car of the whole weekend. I took more accidental photos of my shoes.

Even in the light of day via RM Auctions amazing photography, this car still does not really push my buttons or tug my heartstrings. It is too perfect-seeming for me to really fall hard.

Keep in mind, my dream classic is a beat-up old Lancia Lambda 8. So I like a lot of patina, as they say in the auction business.

Then again, what do I know? My Subaru has two bent wheels and an overboosting turbocharger. So, consider the source if this Bugatti is a home run in your eyes.

Indoor 57C photography: Tom Burkart

Outdoor 57C Photos c/o RM Auctions. Thankyou.

Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.

He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.

Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)

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