RM Sotheby’s, the official auction house of Florida’s Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, will spotlight French pre-war automotive design when it returns for its 19th annual Amelia Island event next March 11. The 2017 sale will be headlined by a stunning 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Cabriolet (above, Darin Schnabel photo courtesy of RM Sotheby’s) with rare coachwork by Vanvooren of Paris. Offered for public sale for the first time in its 80-year history, the Type 57S is expected to be among the most valuable automobiles ever offered during an Amelia weekend.
“The cars of Ettore and Jean Bugatti exemplify the virtues so appealing to the Classic Era sporting enthusiast who had the means to acquire the very best,” said Don Rose, Car Specialist, RM Sotheby’s. “The T57, in particular, was legendary for its high power, light handling and overall refinement.”
The Type 57S Cabriolet, chassis no. 57513, is one of only three built, and is believed to be the only one in private hands that remains in original condition with its original chassis, body, engine and gearbox, — as well as numerous other seldom seen original components. The car has enjoyed a short string of long-term owners, mostly UK-based enthusiasts.
In 1962 it was acquired by T.A. (Bob) Roberts, OBE, who went on to become its longest-term owner, carefully maintaining the car for the next three decades. Early in Roberts’ custodianship, the Bugatti was changed to its current livery of black over primrose yellow, with various upgrades made to enhance cooling and lighting. During the 1970s, Roberts fitted 57513 with an unused 1937 Type 57G competition engine, while the original unit (numbered 21S) was kept with the car.
Principally used as a road car thereafter, it was eventually retired to Roberts’ Midlands Motoring Museum in Bridgnorth, Shropshire — with its original engine reinstalled — before passing onto its current and first American owner in the 1990s. In single-ownership for the last two decades, 57513 comes to Amelia Island with its original engine still equipped with the larger competition carburetor from the Type 57G that provides increased power.
The largely unmolested Bugatti will be surrounded by a curated selection of some 80 handpicked automobiles at the sale. Among other entries representing beautiful pre-war design are a 1930 Stutz Model M Supercharged Coupe and a 1933 Cadillac V16 All-Weather Phaeton. For further information on RM Sotheby’s Amelia Island sale, please visit www.rmsothebys.com