Offered from Masterworks of Design
| Monterey, California
- Handsome Gangloff coachwork with the supercharged 57C engine
- Formerly owned by Dr. Milton Roth, Fred Treat, and O.A. “Bunny” Phillips
- Attractive overall presentation in stunning colors
Bugatti’s ultimate pre-war roadgoing model, the Type 57 was the successor to the swift and comfortable Type 49, but it shared little except for the bore and stroke of its inline-eight-cylinder engine. The design was steadily revised between 1934 and the end of production in 1939, with regular refinement to its specifications, including the late-in-life adaptation of Lockheed hydraulic brakes. Optionally available beginning in 1937 was a supercharged engine, identified as a Type 57C, which could boast over 215 horsepower—a significant improvement over the output of a stock Type 57.
The example offered here, chassis number 57769, was originally delivered as a factory-supercharged 57C, with a berline body by Gangloff, through the Lyonnaise agent Monestier to one Balay. It was next known to have been owned in 1949 by young Pierre Noblet, the wealthy textile heir who, co-driving with friend Jean Guichet, would become a successful racing driver of the late 1950s and early 1960s, finishing 3rd overall at Le Mans in 1961. Subsequently the Bugatti passed to the French collector-dealer Jean Louis DuMontant, who in 1958 fitted the present original Stelvio cabriolet body from another Type 57. Modern and stylish in its design, this coachwork by Gangloff features elegantly streamlined, tapered fenders and freestanding Marchal headlamps.
With its cabriolet coachwork installed, the car was sold to Dr. Milton Roth of California, an early and avid American Bugattiste, one of many who would look after it over the next four decades. Dr. Roth subsequently passed the Bugatti to Fred and Muriel Treat, in whose hands the Type 57C made one of its few public appearances over the years, at an American Bugatti Club meeting in Mandeville Canyon on 14 May 1961. Within two years the Bugatti had found its way into the hands of Jack Bradley, then to the renowned Southern California Bugatti specialist, O.A. “Bunny” Phillips, who completed a fresh restoration in black and ivory in 1967–1968.
The car was purchased for the current collection some two decades ago from Charles Hascall of Vista, California, the last of the well-known West Coast Bugattistes to have looked after it, and has remained largely tucked away and out of the public eye since. It is now finished in a rich two-tone red and black, highly flattering to the modern lines of the coachwork, with a complementary red leather interior piped in black, exhibiting light cracking and wear to the seat faces. The car appears to retain its original chassis number plate on the firewall. The engine is recorded in the Bugatti Register as a correct replacement, 88 C; the stamped engine number, however, is absent, while the powerplant is marked 31 G and 4 D to the cam boxes and “234” at the front of the block. The present gearbox is numbered 98 C, with the original gearbox, number 86 C, being in the second Stelvio, number 57406, in this collection.
This terrific-looking supercharged Bugatti boasts wonderful known provenance and attractive lines, sure to appeal to the devoted enthusiast of pre-war sporting automobiles.