The most iconic Bugatti, the Type 57SC Atlantic featured flowing coupé lines with a pronounced dorsal seam running from the front to the back end of the vehicle.
The 1935 Aérolithe concept, on which the 57SC was based, used Elektron composite for its body panels. This meant the engineers needed to rivet the panels together externally as, although a durable and lightweight material, the alloy was extremely flammable when exposed to high temperatures. The production run of 57SC Atlantics possessed plain aluminium bodies though the dorsal seams were retained for style.
The Atlantic name was termed in honour of Jean Bugatti’s pilot friend, Jean Mermoz, who never returned from a South Atlantic aviation journey. The ‘S’ stood for ‘Surbaissé’ (‘Lowered’), which was a major undertaking in itself, and the ‘C’ for ‘Compresseur’, a supercharger that Bugatti introduced in response to customers seeking more horsepower.
The iconic long bonnet hid a 197-horsepower 3.3-litre inline-6, which allowed the coupe to clock a top speed in excess of 125 mph.