A stunning 1936 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic has won the third annual Peninsula Classics Best of the Best Award, beating seven other superb vehicles to the prestigious title.
The event, which this year took place at the Peninsula Hotel Paris during Rétromobile week, sees the winners of eight prestigious concours compete against each other to be crowned the overall champion.
The Bugatti, which previously won the Chantilly Arts & Elégance Richard Mille, was named Best of the Best ahead of a 1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Spider by Touring, a 1957 Ferrari 250GT Cabriolet by Pinin Farina and a 1929 Mercedes-Benz S Roadster by Barker, among others.
Co-owned by the Mullin Automotive Museum in California and Rob and Melani Walton, the Type 57 Atlantic is considered by many to be the world's first supercar, on account of its supercharged engine capable of hitting 200kmph, and hand-crafted, art deco-inspired bodywork.
Peter Mullin, Founder and CEO of the Mullin Automotive Museum, said, “The Atlantic represents the pinnacle of everything I adore about French automotive styling and is widely described as the Mona Lisa of the automobile collector world.
"From its signature curves to its aviation-inspired rivets, to the Jean Bugatti-designed sleek all-aluminium body, the car is truly a remarkable piece of art.”
Rob Walton, the car's co-owner, added, “I second Peter’s thoughts – the other seven nominees were simply stunning, which makes winning the award feel even more special.”
The winning Bugatti, chassis 57374, is certainly a rare beast: it's one of only four Type 57SC Atlantic models produced, and one of only three remaining.
What's more, it is the only surviving 'Aéro Coupé' – a moniker given to the first two vehicles off the production line, which were mechanically similar to Bugatti's Aérolithe concept, but not to the final two; the other Aéro Coupé is believed to have been destroyed by the Nazis.
Bugatti Head of Tradition Julius Kruta said, “The Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic is the crown jewel of the automotive circuit.
"This car was Jean Bugatti’s masterpiece with its beautiful and breath-taking lines, plus its unmatched performance for the time. Today, it remains the ultimate expression of the Bugatti legacy: unparalleled power and beautiful design.”
Images: Cedric Canezza