1937 Bugatti Type 57 VentouxSOLD

Impossibly original, incredibly preserved example of authenticity and correctness by which all others are judged!

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Reference Number 224127

as of 8/23/2013

Overview
Car 1937 Bugatti Type 57 Ventoux
VIN 57345 
Exterior / Interior Color Blue/Black /      Natural  
Condition Pristine 
Mileage 61.443 km 
Configuration Right Hand Drive (RHD) 
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Known History

Chassis No.: 57345

Engine No.: 57345 282

Body No.: 1146

Gearbox No.: 113

Rear Axle No.: 585

Rear Axle Ratio: "12 x 50" (4.16:1)

Completed: March 14th, 1946

Invoiced To: Bugatti Official Agent Arnaud (Lyon, France)

Mileage: 61,443 kilometers

 

Ettore Bugatti would earn a reputation as a wonderfully talented chassis builder. His son, Jean, would earn an equally impressive reputation for the strikingly elegant bodies that graced his father's chassis. One of the best examples of Jean's artistic touch would be the Type 57 Ventoux.

 

The Ventoux body style was perhaps Jean Bugatti's most expressive and forward-thinking with its narrow nose, grand flowing fenders and steeply-raked windscreen. It seemed like the ultimate expression of what the future held for automotive design.

 

The first series of the Ventoux Coupe, which would be named after one of the famous Alpine HillClimb Racing peaks, would be introduced in 1934. One of the first series Ventoux-bodied Bugatti Type 57s would be chassis 57345.

 

This is both a remarkably original example as well as one I am personally very familiar with and have been for many, many years. The former owner was a lovable client named David Uihlein from Wisconsin. Our company purchased several of David's vehicles before he passed away and I inspected both this Bugatti closely and some of his very, very special pre-war Alfa Romeos. David took me for a brief and rather bumpy ride in this Bugatti and it was an experience that I will never forget. Believe it or not, David used this Bugatti as a daily driver in fair weather for more than 30 years!

 

In addition to some personal experience with this particular Type 57, I also have private Bugatti Owner's Club records dating from both 1949 and 1951 that confirm the car's key details:

 

This Bugatti was ordered new by the official agent Arnaud in Lyon, France on behalf of first owner a prominent surgeon from Sèvres, France named André "Charles" Chauvenet in December of 1935. This would be the first of not one but three Type 57 Bugattis to join Dr. Chauvenet's family over the next few years. Assembly took place in January and February of 1936 and the car was fitted from new with a standard Type 57 engine with the internal number 282 which it still retains to this day. She was formally completed and invoiced on March 14th, 1936 and delivered shortly there after to the Chauvenet family. Chauvenet soon took delivery of two additional Type 57 Bugattis, and he had his first example, this Ventoux coupé then fitted with an optional down-draft carburetor and four-wheel hydraulic brakes making it one of the earliest known examples to be so fitted. The Ventoux coachwork is of the early Series One type with separate partitioned rear trunk. It was otherwise a standard production example with normal right-hand-drive steering.

 

Chassis 57345, would be one of the few Ventoux-bodied cars that would be completed without running boards. It was finished with the usual Ventoux touches of the flat, uncluttered wooden dash, simple steering wheel and the single-panel leather seats, as well as devoid of external running boards, 57345 would also have the 3.3-liter DOHC eight-cylinder engine with the single Stromberg carburetor helping to produce easily around 145bhp at an astonishing 5,000rpm.

 

Fortunately Dr. Chauvenet was one of Bugatti's most favored clients and much is know about him and his family even today. In 1938 he took ill and shortly before the outbreak of war moved to Paris. The car was then placed in storage and survived the Second World War remarkably well and would eventually be sold in 1960 by Edgar Bensoussan a well known and respected classic car dealer in Paris on behalf of the Chauvenet family. From there, the Ventoux Type 57 would be bought by J.W. Harrison of Arlington, Virginia, and thereafter, would make its way to the United States. Soon after arriving, the car would become registered with the American Bugatti Club where it has always been considered the benchmark of originality and correctness by which all others are judged. An ancient period slide taken by Harrison circa 1959/60 near Benthousan's garage survives and indicates clearly that the car was well cared for and remained in excellent shape at the time of sale.

 

The car would remain with Mr. Harrison until 1967 when it was purchased by David Uihlein. Uihlein would not purchase the car and have it sit as part of some boring, static collection, Instead, 57345 would be a car regularly driven to and from different everyday events and would continue in this capacity well into the late 1990s when David's health prevented his full enjoyment of his most treasured Bugatti.

 

Over the course of its life, this Type 57 Ventoux has been maintained and has undergone a number of necessary cosmetic and mechanical work but always under David's watchful eye to ensure it remained both functional and kept as original as possible. Finished in a Black and French Blue livery, the car is a striking thing to behold. Retaining its original motor, 57345 would appear to be highly original in a number of other ways, including its leather interior. In addition to that, each panel and piece of trim and bright work is delicately stamped with the Type No. "57" and the vehicle's body number "1146" is likewise found on all major alloy body panels.

 

This period correct and highly desirable first series Bugatti Type 57 Ventoux was a personal favorite of David Uihlein who was a most avid fan and collector of original, unrestored and ultra period-correct vehicles of all types. He told me personally on several occasions that this particular Ventoux was one of the most original and correct examples he had ever encountered and that it would remain with him until he passed away... something that in the end came to be.

 

David enthusiastically enjoyed the car for more than 40 years and it was never restored while in his care or needed to be as he never intended it to be anything but fun transportation. Aside from regular services, paint and touch-up work to deal with age related issues, the car remains essentially as ordered, built and delivered new.

 

When I first saw the car nearly 20 years ago, I considered it to be a remarkably original survivor. Many back then however deemed it only suitable as a starting point for a full restoration given the fact that it had at that point never been touched or restored before. Today, it is treasured for its originality and purity and likely one of the very last survivors that remains this original and correct.

 

During my most recent inspection, I was amazed to find hand written notes from the 1960s and all the way up to June of 1977 on the back of a letter addressed to David in which he details recent services and work he performed to the car. In addition to this was a a Standard Oil Company Map of Wisconsin from 1970, something that likely came in quite handy for David as he travelled out and about the countryside in his treasured Bugatti. Shortly before his death, he left his family a set of written starting and driving instructions. These two have been carefully preserved and were left under the driver's seat upon his passing to make ease of use for the next owner that much more enjoyable.

 

David amassed a very comprehensive and detailed album containing numerous original records and documents as well as manuals and bulletins. All of these items and numbers spares will accompany the car onto her next owner.

 

David is no longer with us, but his passion and enthusiasm are forever preserved in this amazing automobile!

 

All interested parties are warmly welcome to contact me for additional assistance with the purchase of this automotive treasure.

 

Email: bnoon@symbolicmotors.com

 

Phone: (619) 840-7811

 

More than 100 high resolution inspection photos and all records can be accessed using this link:

 

symbolicphotos.weebly.com