The Bugatti Type 57 SC Atlantic, a timeless Jean Bugatti masterpiece now nearly 90 years old, has long captured the imagination of aesthetes and automotive enthusiasts and is still regarded as the most valuable and exclusive automobile in the world. Many of its design features including the bolted fin that runs the length of its body inspired Bugatti’s modern design DNA. But this car is not just a reference for Bugatti’s design team: one customer wanted to take things a step further, creating her very own tribute to the iconic Atlantic for her first Bugatti car, a Chiron Super Sport¹. This is how the ‘57 One of One’ became reality.
A wish for her very own Bugatti came true two decades later, when her husband – a Bugatti owner who shares the same passion and dedication to cars – surprised her for her 70th birthday with a personal invitation from Bugatti to come to Molsheim in France to configure her own Chiron Super Sport. With memories of that trip to Oxnard and a great deal of passion and excitement, she discovered the home of Bugatti for the first time. Jascha Straub, Lead Designer Sur Mesure at Bugatti, was on-hand to introduce her to the extraordinary history of the Château Saint Jean and the brand – the first part of a co-creation journey that would stretch over year.
“During her visit, when we passed a scale model of the Type 57 SC – the very first Atlantic and the exact one she had seen all those years ago – there was an immediate spark of recognition between us that this is the direction we should take. For years I have been idly dreaming of reinterpreting this icon, so I already had my own ideas of what I would do to honor the most elegant car ever designed. That meant that right away we could sit down and begin evolving the design, to realize her vision together,” said Straub.
The striking silver-tinted blue hue, gleaming under the lights of the Mullin Automotive Museum, was imprinted in the customer’s mind. For this vibrant homage there was only one color her and Jascha could envision. Yet, achieving this was no mean feat. Because each Sur Mesure project is meticulous in its process, immersed in even the tiniest details, and because referencing one of the greatest pieces of automotive design ever conceived required precision and humility, Jascha Straub travelled to the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao where the original car was the central art piece in a temporary exhibition called “Motion, Autos, Art, Architecture. “That original car had such a deep effect on our customer that we wanted to get the exact same color for her Chiron Super Sport. What we really wanted to achieve is that, every time she sees her car, she feels the same emotion that she felt on that day 20 years ago, when her admiration for the Type 57 SC Atlantic began. I flew to Bilbao, with a color swatch that we had created, to observe the paintwork under different light conditions. It needed to be completely authentic to the original.”
On the Type 57 SC Atlantic, the large horseshoe Bugatti grille sits proudly upright, seemingly suspended between the shapely wheel arches. This design aspect was an important reference point. For the Chiron Super Sport ‘57 One of One’, the Sur Mesure team worked hand-in-hand with engineers at Bugatti to create a faithful homage to the original that would also remain true to the Bugatti ‘Form Follows Performance’ design philosophy and the car’s engineering requirements. Each inlet, line and vent of the Chiron Super Sport is carefully considered to meet the extreme cooling and aerodynamic needs of a 440km/h hyper sports car. The unique resulting design – a new grille with polished vertical lines and a thicker center spine – is a beautiful modern interpretation yet true to the iconic Type 57 SC Atlantic.
The design is paired with five-spoke Super Sport wheels – combining polished chrome and the same blue as the original – and vibrant chrome accents. The underside of the rear wing features a hand-drawn silhouette of the Atlantic, finished with ‘57’ and ‘One of One’ lettering in a subtle nod to the craftsmanship and design that inspired this unique work of automotive art.
“The customer’s enthusiasm and active engagement throughout the whole design process were a constant source of inspiration,” continued Straub. “Her perspective, rooted in a profound respect for Bugatti’s heritage, and driven by a desire to craft an authentic homage, guided us in creating a vehicle that stands at the intersection of history and innovative engineering.”
Inside, the customer selected ‘Gaucho’ leather – deciding on a timeless color to further accentuate the exterior design. Notable highlights include the Atlantic’s silhouette hand-stitched in ‘Lightning Blue’ on the door panels and a center console with a custom inlay that proclaims ‘57 One of One’. With an appreciation for the broader history and artistic vision of the Bugatti family the iconic ‘Dancing Elephant’ sculpture of Rembrandt Bugatti is delicately embroidered on the headrests, signifying her passion for animals. The signatures of Jean Bugatti, the genius who was the creative force behind the admired Type 57 SC Atlantic, and Rembrandt are applied to the door sills.
Hendrik Malinowski, Managing Director at Bugatti Automobiles, said: “When crafting a bespoke car for our customers, we will always look to pay tribute to our rich heritage. For a customer to embrace our lineage in such a way, and lead in the inclusion of such design elements, it is a proud moment. A creation like the ’57 One Of One’ is the perfect match for our Sur Mesure offer, bringing a passionate customer with bold ideas together with our endlessly creative and talented design and engineering teams. The result is a breath-taking new chapter in the legend of the Type 57 SC Atlantic; authentic, beautiful and formed in the spirit of Jean Bugatti’s original. The Type 57 SC Atlantic will always be an icon and this latest homage can proudly sit alongside it on the concours lawns of the future.”
Eventually, the ’57 One Of One’ will achieve the same iconic status as its predecessor, earning a rightful place at the Concours d’Élegance. But for now, the customer is enjoying her Bugatti driving experience, having explored the scenic routes of the American West behind the wheel of her exceptional Bugatti on the US Grand Tour.