Atlantic scoops top honour Spectacular ex-Dr Peter Williamson T57SC is declared Best of the Best in showdown of concours champions… Words Robert Coucher.
A stunning 1936 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic, co-owned by Peter and Merle Mullin of the Mullin Automotive Museum and Rob and Melani Walton, has snatched the honour of The Best of the Best from a host of global concours winners.
Arch classic car enthusiast, The Honourable Sir Michael Kadoorie, chairman of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels, launched the unique Award in 2015 with co-founders Chip Connor, Bruce Meyer and Christian Philippsen. It considers the priceless winners of eight of the world’s most prestigious concours, the Atlantic being in the running after taking Best of Show at the 2017 Chantilly Arts & Elegance. The shortlist was considered by 24 automotive experts, designers and ‘car guys’ who included Ian Callum, Chris Bangle, Peter Brock, Nick Mason, Jay Leno and Henry Ford III.
The announcement was then made during the third annual Peninsular Classics Best of the Best Award gala dinner held at the fabulously opulent Peninsular Hotel in Paris on 8 February. Unveiled in the hotel’s suitably ‘dressed’ underground car park, the metallic blue Bugatti, chassis number 57374, was the first Type 57 Atlantic produced and is the sole surviving Aero Coupé. It was delivered new to Nathaniel Rothschild and was recently on display at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.
‘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,’ said Peter Mullin. Co-owner Rob Walton added: ‘What this Award does is to allow us to take a step back and admire the quality and beauty of the greatest classic cars in existence today.’
Bugatti head of tradition Julius Kruta was unsurprisingly impressed by the car and delighted with the decision. He 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 breathtaking lines, plus its unmatched performance for the time. Today, it remains the ultimate expression of the Bugatti legacy: unparalleled power and beautiful design.’
The award’s orginator, Sir Michael Kadoorie, hopes it will help to bring on a new generation of enthusiasts: ‘My great hope is that we not only succeed in thrilling longterm car enthusiasts, but that this award will also ignite a new-found passion for those just discovering the world of motoring.’