Unique Bugatti type 57 Atalante leads Coachbuilt collection at Concours of elegance
The Concours of Elegance, presented by A. Lange & Söhne, will showcase the most astonishing coachbuilt automotive masterpieces in history, including a unique Bugatti Type 57 with coachwork by Gangloff. The one-off or ultra-rare motorcars are joined by Formula One racers throughout the ages, modern-day hypercars, Le Mans 24 Hours winners, and more at the UK's finest Concours d'elegance, hosted from 4-6 September at Hampton Court Palace.
Harking back to a time when the world's most advanced and luxurious cars were delivered only as a rolling chassis to be bodied at coachworks of your choice, the Concours of Elegance will celebrate this era's most beautiful creations. Below are just a few examples:
Bugatti Type 57 Atalante Gangloff
Many consider the Type 57 to be the pinnacle of Bugatti's touring models. Revealed in 1934, it was the first car built under the direction of Jean Bugatti. He was also instrumental in the design of the new Type 57 engine, a 3.3-liter straight-eight producing 140bhp at a time when the equivalent Bentley figure was a ‘paltry' 115bhp. The biggest selling point over and above the mechanical design, however, was the stunning body styling drawn up by Jean and in-house carpenter-wheelwright, Joseph Walter. The Ventoux two-door, Galibier four-door, and Atalante Coupé were later joined by the Aravis Coupé and the open Stelvio, from renowned local coachbuilder Gangloff. This Type 57 Atalante, 57633, was ordered in February 1938 by wealthy French industrialist Fernand Crouzet. He asked Gangloff to create a one-off, and its unique features included long rear wings, a boot lid-mounted spare-wheel mount, a single back window, special bumpers, and disc wheels. The car survived World War Two unscathed via several changes of owner, and post-war it was refurbished and put to use as the transport for the French Embassy in London.
Jaguar XK150 S Bertone
The Jaguar XK150 featured styling reminiscent of its XK120 and 140 predecessors while featuring a far more contemporary late-1950s design. It originally came as a fixed-head coupé, a drophead coupé, and a roadster, but in a few rare cases, it got bespoke coachwork from famous design houses. This Jaguar, S 834365, is just one of three XK150s that were sent as bare chassis to Bertone in Turin, to be bodied as prototype fixed-head coupés. Each had slightly different styling by Franco Scaglione, who was responsible for arguably some of the most striking cars of the 20th century, from the Alfa Romeo B.A.T. cars to the Lamborghini 350GTV prototype and the Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 Stradale. The Bertone's were reportedly built as prototypes for a possible XK150 replacement – a couple of years before the E-type would fill that space. Interestingly, the cars all had a delicate ‘XKE' badge on their rear flanks. This XK150 Bertone is car no. 2, and its chassis was made on August 15, 1957, and dispatched to Italy the following month. It's the only example known to still exist, with the other two cars had apparently been unseen for decades.
Meet ‘Mr. Fred', one of only two Bentley 4.5-Litre Drophead sports coupés still in existence with bodywork by Salmons & Sons, the legendary Newport Pagnell coachworks that was to become the home of Aston Martin. What's more, this beautiful 1928 aluminum-bodied automobile was the personal car of company owner Mr. Fred Salmons – giving rise to its affectionate name. Founded in Buckinghamshire in 1830 by Joseph Salmons, the coachworks progressed from creating high-quality horse-drawn coaches and dog carts to bodying some of the earliest and finest cars for all makes of automobile chassis from 1898 onward. Its bespoke workmanship was much coveted. This 4.5-Litre's front wings are a wonderful example of the type of elegance and form in aluminum for which Salmons was known, while its distinctive mother of the pearl instrument panel is a thing of delicate beauty.
These cars will join others in the Main Concours display, curated as a line-up of the rarest and most spectacular cars ever built. Joining them are a selection of ‘Future Classics', iconic Formula One cars, and an all-new Junior Concours, showcasing the best of a half-scale pedal, electric and petrol-powered classic cars.
New for Concours of Elegance 2020 is the addition of the auction of the year, courtesy of Gooding & Company. The Gooding & Co team will be showcasing 15 vehicles, expected to fetch around £50m altogether, crowned by the most important competition Bugatti in history, a Type 59 Sports.
The UK's finest automotive manufacturers and specialists will also be displaying their vehicles, including a line-up of rare Porsche 356s from Export 56 and showcases from Joe Macari and Fiskens. Lotus, Jaguar Classic, Aston Martin, and Brabham Automotive will each be showcasing their latest models.
Away from the automotive displays, Concours of Elegance visitors can enjoy picnics courtesy of Fortnum & Mason, champagne from Charles Heidsieck, and luxury shopping from the likes of Niccolò P. and its bespoke polo shirts.
The Concours of Elegance 2020 takes place 4-6 September. With audience welfare in mind, the organizers have created a new operational plan including revised hospitality and restricted audience capacity, with the introduction of separate morning and afternoon tickets. Guest numbers will also be strictly limited to comply with social distancing guidance.