Hidden Bugatti May Fetch Over $9 Million At Bonhams Auction

A 1937 Bugatti Type 57 that has been tucked away for over 50 years is to go under the hammer in February.

The Type 57 Surbaisse 3.3-liter four-seat sports Grand Routier “Dulcie,” to be precise, features bodywork by Corsica Coachworks on a special lightweight chassis that was built for the 1936 French Grand Prix. Just three chassis were made and, until now, it was believed that only one remained.

The car was originally supplied by London dealer Jack Barclay to Sir Robert Ropner, a shipping magnate. With a top speed of 115 mph the Bugatti was the fastest car of its day.

The Type 57 was later sold on to Rodney Clarke, principle of the British Connaught Grand Prix team, and in 1969 it went to Bugatti specialist Bill Turnbull who began a lengthy restoration, but sadly died before it was fully complete.

Nicknamed “Dulcie” because of its registration number DUL351 the car is expected to sell for a massive sum at Bonham’s Legends of the Road Sale on February 19. Offered with no reserve the price is predicted to reach $6.8-$9.6 million.

Sholto Gilbertson, Director, Bonhams Motor Cars UK, said: “This could well be the last ‘hidden’ pre-war Bugatti of note. This really is an extraordinary example of one of the most valuable and desirable pre-war motor cars. Other 57S Bugattis are in museums or known collections, and to offer the car to the open market for the first time since 1969 is going to be tremendous.”

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Report by Nik Berg for hagerty.com


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