Vintage Sports Car To Sell At Auction

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A rare 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Atalante motor car will be sold at auction this weekend in Paris. It's one of only 17 of its kind. The car is expected to sell for millions.


But for now, here's another tale about a brand with a long history. Bugatti made high performance cars in France before World War II and those cars are treasured by collectors. A 1937 Bugatti turned up in the garage of a British doctor who died two years ago. That car, a 57S Atalante could go for more than $4 million when it's auctioned this weekend in Paris. The black two-seater is one of only 17 believed to exist.

Mr. JAMES KNIGHT (Managing Director, Bonhams International Motor Car Department): It was an incredibly valuable car. In the period, it would have been one of the most expensive cars you could afford to drive on the road.

MONTAGNE: That's James Knight who's in charge of Collectors Cars at Bonhams, which will auction the vehicle.

Mr. KNIGHT: What's so original about it is that it retains its original body and it hasn't even got replacement panels on it. That's quite rare in a car of that age. And this car is just like it would have left the factory.

MONTAGNE: The Bugatti was built to reach 130 miles an hour at time when most cars could only do 50. It originally belonged to Earl Howe, one of the founding fathers of the British Racing Drivers' Club. In 1955 it was purchased by a British doctor who pretty much kept it in the garage until his death in 2007. His family then contacted Bonhams and asked them to take a look.

Mr. KNIGHT: What we came across when we first opened the doors is that it was actually covered in lots of bed blankets that he tried to use as a car cover. Over the years, some of the over blankets had got a little bit wet and the material of those over blankets had kind of fused against the paint and the body of the Bugatti.

MONTAGNE: The restorers at Bonhams tidied up the car for Saturday's auction, but no one has tried to turn on the engine. That will be left to the new owner.

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

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