Barn Discovery
Lot 409
Barn discovery, formally the property of Guy Martin,1937 Bugatti Type 57 Galibier Sports Saloon Chassis no. 57380
Sold for £166,500 (US$ 202,924) inc. premium

'57380' as discovered by Bonhams in a village on the outskirts of Paris

Lot Details
Barn Discovery,1937 Bugatti Type 57 Sports Saloon  Chassis no. 57380 Engine no. 254 Barn Discovery Barn Discovery,1937 Bugatti Type 57 Sports Saloon  Chassis no. 57380 Engine no. 254 Barn Discovery,1937 Bugatti Type 57 Sports Saloon  Chassis no. 57380 Engine no. 254
Barn discovery, formally the property of Guy Martin
1937 Bugatti Type 57 Galibier Sports Saloon
Chassis no. 57380


  • 'The car sped along at 80mph with the comfort and quietness one associates with the Type 57... We were quite willing to believe that Jean Bugatti has achieved the 435 kilometres to Paris in just under 1½ hours in the Type 57 - an average of 77mph...' - Motor Sport, May 1939.
    By the early 1930s Ettore Bugatti had established an unrivalled reputation for building cars with outstanding performance on road or track; the world's greatest racing drivers enjoying countless successes aboard the Molsheim factory's products and often choosing them for their everyday transport. Because of its lengthy run of success, Ettore Bugatti remained stubbornly committed to his single-cam engine, only adopting the more advanced double-overhead-camshaft method of valve actuation, after much prompting by his eldest son Jean, on the Type 50 of 1930. From then on Jean Bugatti took greater responsibility for design, his first car being the exquisite Type 55 roadster, a model ranking among the finest sports cars of the 1930s. He followed that with a design of equal stature, the Type 57. A larger car than the Type 55, the Type 57 was powered by a 3.3-litre, double-overhead-camshaft straight eight of modern design housed in Bugatti's familiar vintage-style chassis. The range showed the strong influence of Jean Bugatti and at last gave the marque a civilised grande routière to match those of rivals Delage and Delahaye.
    The Type 57 attracted coachwork of the finest quality executed in a startling variety of styles but was no mere rich man's plaything, as evidenced by two outright wins at Le Mans. Proof, if it were needed, that ancestral virtues had not been abandoned when creating a car fit to rank alongside Rolls-Royce or Bentley. Its success is revealed by the production figures: some 680 examples of all Type 57 models were produced between 1934 and 1940, and the post-war Type 101 was based on its chassis. However, although many Type 57s were fitted with bespoke bodies, the most popular coachwork was built to Jean Bugatti's designs by the marque's preferred carrossier, Gangloff of Colmar, just a few miles from the Bugatti works at Molsheim.
    The Type 57 in all its forms attracted discerning owners who were only satisfied with the best, among them speed king Sir Malcolm Campbell, himself the owner of a Type 57, who wrote: 'If I was asked to give my opinion as to the best all-round super-sports car which is available on the market today, I should, without any hesitation whatever, say it was the 3.3 Bugatti... it cannot fail to attract the connoisseur or those who know how to handle the thoroughbred. It is a car in a class by itself.'
    This Bugatti Type 57, chassis number '57380', was previously registered to a M. Demarest in France ('1252 DX 75') for which there are old tax 'discs' from 1959 through 1962. The car's next owner was a doctor, who was followed by Guy Martin (son of Le Mans racer Charles Martin) and then the current owner in 1983. (The current owner's wife is Guy Martin's niece). Although he intended to, the vendor never got around to restoring the Bugatti, which remains very complete and original but in need of a full mechanical restoration at the very least. The brakes are binding and the engine is said to turn over but not run; the body though, is in quite good condition, as the 'suicide' doors close very easily and properly. There is some rodent damage to the rear of the interior, which otherwise is generally not too bad. Believed off the road since circa 1968 and sold strictly as viewed, this exciting Bugatti 'barn find' comes with the aforementioned tax records, French Carte Grise and Attestation d'Assurance (1960).

Saleroom notices

  • We are pleased to report the coachwork fitted to the Bugatti is that of Van Vooren and not Gangloff as catalogued. We thank marque expert David Sewell for this information. Please note that this car was NOT owned by Charles Martin (Welsh) of Bugatti and Alfa Romeo pre-war racing fame. This car was previously the property of Clément Auguste Martin who competed at Le Mans three times between 1930 and 1955 as well as the Spa 24 Hours 6 times.
Auction information

This auction is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future auctions, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this auction, please contact customer services.

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Buyers' Premium and Charges

For all Sales categories excluding Wine, Coins & Medals and Motor Cars and Motorcycles:
A successful bidder at this sale will be required to pay Bonhams 1793 Limited ("Bonhams") a premium calculated as follows:

25% on the first £50,000 of the Hammer Price
20% from £50,001 to £1,000,000 the Hammer Price
12% from £1,000,001 of the Hammer Price

VAT at 20% will be payable on the amount of the premium.

The premium is payable for the services to be provided by Bonhams in the Buyer's Agreement which is contained in the catalog for this Sale and for the opportunity to bid for the Lot at the Sale.

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  1. Rob Hubbard
    Specialist - Motor Cars
    101 New Bond Street
    London, United Kingdom W1S 1SR
    Work +44 20 7468 5805
    FaxFax: + 44 20 7468 5802
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