RM Amelia 2016 – 1936 Bugatti Type 57 Stelvio

1936 Bugatti Type 57 Stelvio

RM Sotheby’s

Amelia Island 2016

Lot 129

1936 Bugatti Type 57 Stelvio

To be auctioned on Saturday, March 12, 2016

$900,000 – $1,200,000

  • Chassis no. 5135 bhp, 3,257 cc DOHC inline eight-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission, live front axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, live rear axle with inverted quarter-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 130 in.
    • Formerly owned by renowned Florida sportsman Alec Ulmann
    • A genuine Stelvio with numerous unique and special features
    • Documented by marque specialist Kees Jansen
    • A famous and beautiful example of the Type 57

    In the world of East Coast automobile collecting, especially in Florida, few people stood as tall for as long as the late Alexander E. Ulmann. His name is, of course, synonymous with Sebring, the first American automotive endurance race, which he established in December 1950, as well as with early efforts to establish the U.S. Grand Prix. However, his efforts in early U.S. automobile enthusiasm were not strictly limited to being a track-day impresario. Raised around Russia’s hydroelectric power plants and possessor of a Masters from MIT under Dean Fales, his business success in the burgeoning aeronautic and aerospace industries funded collecting that was as diverse as his life. Mercedes of 1908 and 1914 occupied the Ulmann garage, as did the famed marque Hispano-Suiza; but of his many automotive passions, few were as warm or as long-lasting as that for his Bugatti Type 57, chassis number 57406.

    According to Bugatti historian Kees Jansen, Ulmann’s Type 57 was built in April 1936; its body was, and remains, a four-passenger Stelvio, the attractive Jean Bugatti–designed cabriolet with its distinctive pontoon fenders and Atalante-like rounded tail. Typical of Bugatti, the Stelvio’s design evolved during Type 57 production. In 1935–36, the Stelvio sported a folding windshield and a top that would fold nearly flat and out-of-sight into a “cut-out” provided for it at the rear of the body. The result was streamlined, attractive, and sporting. It was an automobile that just seemed to have been designed to show off. Bugatti agreed, and sent chassis 57406 to the Nantes Fair, an international trade exhibition for everything from farm equipment to sports cars, which still exists today. On August 8, 1936, the car was sold to its original owner, R. Petit.