1957 Bugatti Ventoux Special
Type Ventoux Spécial
Chassis No 57524
Engine No 379
Gear Box No 379
Front Axle No 379
Rear Axle No 379
Completed March 12th, 1937
Ordering Agent Crequy et Cornette Bugatti Lille, France
Original Owner Etienne Pollet-Beghin Nord, France
Mileage 37,700 kilometers
Engine 135BHP 3.3-liter Dual Overhead-Cam, Inline 8-Cylider
Gearbox Four-speed manual transmission in unit with engine
Front Suspension Live Axle with Semi-Elliptic Leaf Springs
Rear Suspension Live Axle with Inverted Quarter-Elliptic Leaf Springs
Wheelbase 3,300mm / 130 inches
• Fully restored yet highly-original car with matching numbers
• Ex-1937 Lille Fair and Concourse Show Car
• Engine and Gearbox completely rebuilt in 2014
• Unique “one off , tear-drop” style coachwork
• Well-known history with known ownership documented from new
• Inspected and documented by Pierre Yves Laugier and David Sewell
Bugatti's Type 57 was by all accounts one of the firm's most successful designs. It was announced in 1933 with production commencing in earnest in 1934 with the final examples being finished in 1940. The Type 57 was available with a variety of in-house and outside Coachbuilder bodies. One of the best known versions was the Ventoux, a two-door, four-seat design penned by Ettore's brilliant designer and son, Jean Bugatti. The Ventoux version was offered as soon as the Type 57 became available in four distinct series over a six year production run of the model. A total of 164 different Ventoux models were built. Each was characterized by a sweeping aerodynamic overall look that featured the classic “Horseshoe” radiator, long, flowing bonnet and steeply raked windscreen. Flowing close-fitting fenders front and rear further complemented the design and gave the vehicle a look of speed even when standing still.
Chassis No. 57524
This particular Bugatti was the 99th Ventoux of the 164 completed and other than some very special coachwork, it was a standard 3rd Series Ventoux. 57524 was given extremely unique coachwork with a dramatically sloping “teardrop / fast-back” rear end treatment and thin, full-width, slender “V-shaped” bumpers front and rear that would remain unique to this particular example. The exterior was finished in a solid black with “Natural” colored leather interior and contrasting carpeting and headliner. The design was initiated as a request for Bugatti to provide a “one-off” show car for the upcoming 1937 Lille Fair and Concours. According to Bugatti's records, the vehicle was finished on Friday, March 12th, 1937 and delivered immediately to the official Bugatti Agent of Lille, France, Crequy et Cornette. After the show, 57524 was returned to Crequy et Cornette and offered for public sale. On Wednesday, April 14th, 1937 it was purchased by the first owner, Mr. Etienne Pollet-Beghin of the Nord region. He road-registered his new machine on plates “2539 MD 3” which it would wear until after the war.
This Bugatti was purchased in 1939 by Marcel Heyndrick and one year later in 1940, it was purchased by Albert Meyer, a prominent businessman who resided at 51 Av. Raymond Poincaré, Paris, France in the 16th district. A brass plaque denoting his ownership remains fitted to the dash of 57524 to this day.) In 1956 this Bugatti, now registered “2713 EW 75” was photographed near Paris. The photos show clearly the delicate, full-width “V-shaped bumpers, front and rear as well as the unique “tear-drop / fast-back” rear coachwork. Not long thereafter, circa 1957, this vehicle was exported to Belgium by the legendary Bugatti Collector and Dealer, Jean De Dobbeleer. (Photographs of this Bugatti appear in the book “The Bugatti's of Jean De Dobbeleer” by Charles Fawcett.) During the export/import from France to Belgium, in order to avoid taxes, the vehicle's original identity as 57524 was temporarily exchanged for that of “57422” by exchanging the chassis plates and showing the engine number 310. (Both vehicles re-exchanged identities again setting the record straight many years later during restoration of each.) Sometime in 1960, De Dobbeleer sold this Bugatti to the J.W. Wllsworth Collection in South Africa. It was shipped and remained there for many years being documented as such by Hugh Conway in his Bugatti Register of 1962. Just shy of twenty years later in 1981, the Wilsworth Collection sold this Bugatti to Ennio Gianaroli and it was reimported back to Belgium. In 2006, it was again sold and this time passed to Bugatti collector and enthusiast, Albert Lemaire.
From 2009 until 2013, this Bugatti was given an extensive and very careful restoration. In 2014, the engine and gearbox were also given a complete and thorough rebuild. During the restoration which was fully documented, the vehicle was carefully inspected and verified as being both highly original and remarkably correct. The original engine, gearbox, front and rear axles all showing distinctly the correct “379” original stampings were all found to still be present. The car was fully vetted by both Pierre Yves Laugier and David Sewell, respected authorities on all things Bugatti prior to its last and most recent sale.
A massive and comprehensive documentation album with records, notes, photos and correspondences covering 80 years of continuous history and ownership accompanies this incredible automotive treasure.
It would as such be very difficult if not impossible to find a more thoroughly documented as well as unique Type 57 Ventoux than 57524. The unique special coachwork, trim and early show-history of this Bugatti further separate it from the other more common examples completed.