May 12, 2010 – (Motor Sports Newswire) – A vintage Bugatti has become the most expensive car in the world, with a Californian auction house selling the ultra-rare 1936 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic for more than $40 million.
The vehicle – believed to be one of only two such models in the world – was sold by Gooding & Company in California last week and while the auction house has refused to reveal the final sale price, it is widely believed to have fetched more than $US30 million ($NZ41.8m).
The auctioneer has also kept the identity of the buyer close to its chest, saying only that it went to a “devoted connoisseur who will become the guardian of this treasured piece of automotive history”.
While there has been speculation that the Mullin Automotive Museum in California was the purchaser, the museum has denied this was the case, although it did confirm it had asked the new owner to display the rare car to the public.
The car was the cornerstone of Dr Peter Williamson’s Bugatti collection, but that collection went on the market after the famed neurologist and car collector passed away in 2008.
The majority of his collection has already been sold by Goodring & Company for $US15.5 million ($NZ21.6m).
But the T57 was the first of just three Atlantics built by Bugatti, with just two surviving. The other existing example is owned by fashion designer Ralph Lauren
The sale price smashed the record for the top-priced car at auction, which was set last May in Italy when a 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa was bought for €9m ($US15.8m)
The Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic has been described as the first supercar ever made, with a distinctive and influential teardrop body, a low stance, 200 bhp engine and top speed of 123 mph.
SOURCE: The National Business Review