Monterey

18-19 August 2017

1937 Bugatti Type 57 Cabriolet

  • Chassis no. 57156
  • Engine no. 280

Please note that Internet bidding is not available for this lot. Interested parties that are unable to attend the sale may register to bid by telephone or place a commission bid online at rmsothebys.com.

  • Exceptional period-style coachwork
  • Immaculate concours-winning Alan Taylor restoration
  • Documented by marque historians Pierre Yves-Laugier and Kees Jansen


The records of Dutch Bugatti historian Kees Jansen indicate that rolling Type 57 chassis 57156, originally produced with engine 48, was delivered in June 1934 with a Galibier Conduite Interieure body to the famous Belgian racer Trasenster. It was subsequently taken back by the factory and sold again, this time with a new chassis of the same number and a new second-series engine, number 280, to a Deflandre on 9 March 1936. Pierre-Yves Laugier notes that Monsieur Deflandre traded the car on a 57C Ventoux at d’Ieteren of Antwerp in 1938. It is likely that d’Ieteren then produced this handsome drophead coupe body on the second-series chassis.

The car remained in Antwerp for many years, eventually winding up in the 1950s with Jean de Dobbeleer, the noted Bugattiste dealer, who stated that it had been a trade-in from a priest, Abbé Dubois de Sévry, to whom it had been donated by a Mr. Cadans. It was subsequently exported to the United States in 1955 by Gene Cesari for Porsche dealer Jack Fritsche, passing next to Al Wall and, in 1958, to Joseph Fine of Silver Spring, Maryland.

Mr. Fine put the Bugatti into his garage, with its original de Dobbeleer exportation invoice still on the windshield, and there it remained until his death in 2003. The car was then sold by his widow and acquired by the consignor, who elected to have it fully restored by the noted Alan Taylor Company of Escondido, California. As part of the restoration, the styling of the car was improved and redesigned with new fenders and door skins, beautifully hewn in aluminum by Edouard de Valcorbeil, as well as numerous other improved details, such as the addition of a Champagne carrier and beautifully crafted fitted luggage, which stow vertically behind the seats. The finish of the leather, woodwork, and paint is all spectacular and a tribute to its restorers’ craftsmanship.

The restored cabriolet has been proudly exhibited at several concours d’elegance, including several times at Amelia Island; the annual La Jolla Concours, where it was judged Best of Show Pre-war in 2013; and Keels and Wheels, where it received the People’s Choice award in 2014. Further, it has been a First Prize winner (no. 3176) in Classic Car Club of America National judging. It is presented in beautiful condition, and is still ready for further concours appearances, as a stunningly restored machine and surefire crowd favorite.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

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+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

Cameron Smyth

csmyth@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Cameron Smyth joined RM Sotheby’s as a Car Specialist in 2015, working out of our corporate office and providing assistance on c... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

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+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

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+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

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+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

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+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

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+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

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+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more