Bugatti Type 57S Atalante (57502): 5th Earl Howe Bought Bugatti Type 57S Atalante Coupe 1937 Who Owned It For Eight Years

July 21, 2014 by staff 

Bugatti Type 57S Atalante (57502): 5th Earl Howe Bought Bugatti Type 57S Atalante Coupe 1937 Who Owned It For Eight Years, The Bugatti Type 57S Atalante number 57502 is one of a batch of rare French sports coupes built in 1937 by the Bugatti company, a version of the Bugatti Type 57. Of the 710 Type 57 cars built, only 43 were Type 57S and only 17 of those were produced with the in-house Bugatti Atalante coupe coachwork (not to be confused with the Type 57 Atlantic body).

The car with chassis number 57502 (registration EWS 73, ex-DYK 5, ex-works-1127-W5) was rediscovered in 2008 having been stored in a private owner’s garage in Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne, England, for 48 years, with few people aware of its location. Described as “one of the last great barn discoveries” by classic car experts, it was sold at auction by Bonhams on 7 February 2009. Set at a reserve price of £3 million, due to its low mileage and original condition, it was speculated that it could become the most expensive car ever sold at auction, at around £6 million. These hopes were dashed, however, as it reached £2,989,495 (US$4,408,575).

The car was bought originally by the 5th Earl Howe in 1937 who owned it for eight years. It passed to three intermediate owners before being bought in 1955 by Harold Carr, from Newcastle upon Tyne. He drove it for a few years, then locked it in his garage in 1960, where it was discovered by his family after his death in 2007.

Chassis number 57502 was completed at the Bugatti works on 5 May 1937, wearing the works number plate 1127-W5, and then wore the British number plate DYK 5, later being re-registered as EWS 73, the number which it wore on rediscovery. When discovered, 57502 still possessed its original chassis, engine, drive train and body. It had an odometer reading of 26,284 miles (42,300 km), described as “remarkably low”. While mostly original, the car as found in 2008 did contain some modifications from the originals. Dating from bespoke modifications made by Earl Howe, the car possessed unique bumpers, rear-view mirrors on the A-pillars, and a luggage rack. In addition, due to the fitting of a Marshall K200 supercharger while it was owned by Mr J P Tingay, the car was with respect to engine power closer to the retrofitted super-charged types, (although the K200 is not the same supercharger used on the original C or SC models however).

According to James Knight of the Bugatti’s future auctioneer Bonhams, the rediscovered Bugatti “is incredibly original and, although she requires restoration, it is “restoration” in the true sense of the word…save for some of the interior, all original parts can be restored or conserved in order to maintain originality”.

The car was ordered new from Bugatti by Francis Curzon (1884-1964), the 5th Earl Howe, a former Naval officer and British politician. He took delivery of it on 9 June 1937 from Sorel of London, the UK agents for Bugatti. Curzon was a keen motor racing enthusiast, racing several times in the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race, winning the 1931 race, and the first president of the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC).

The Bugatti was then sold via Continental Cars to a Mr J P Tingay in 1947. A Mr M H Ferguson acquired the Bugatti from Tingay in 1950 and by 1954 it formed part of the collection of Lord Ridley of Northumberland.

In April 1955 Harold Carr paid Jack Barclays £895 for the car ($2,500 US), but drove it for only a few years. Dr Carr then stored the car in a lock up garage after its last tax disc expired in December 1960, where it remained unused and untouched.

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