Rare Bugatti 57S Atalante Discovered in British Garage

January 2, 2009

(ChattahBox) — A recluse in his later years according to relatives, Dr. Harold Carr, an orthopedic surgeon in England, never married or had children. So when the doctor died in 2007 at the age of 89, his relatives didn’t know what they would find inside his dusty garage. The last thing Dr. Carr’s relatives expected to find was one of the rarest cars in the world and a life-changing inheritance. Among a trove of classic cars was a 1937 Bugatti 57S Atalante – one of only seventeen in the world – that could fetch millions at auction.

Now the classic car, thought to be one of just 17 built, is to be sold by Bonhams in Paris next month. The Bugatti 57S is a highly coveted car by collectors, with at least four thought to belong to the Musee Nationale de L’Automobile in Mulhouse, France. The black two-seater, was originally owned by Earl Howe soon after it was completed on May 5, 1937. Howe was the first president of the British Racing Drivers’ Club, and a winner of the 24 Hour Le Mans race. He kept the car for eight years, adding personal touches including a luggage rack, after which it changed hands a couple of times before Dr. Carr bought it from Lord Ridley, a member of the Northumberland gentry, in 1955.

He drove the car for a few years, but by the early 1960s it was parked in his garage, where it remained until after his death. It has exceptional originality, retaining original chassis, engine and drivetrain. Even the odometer gives a mileage of only 26,284, although the vehicle is almost 72 years old. The car was hardly a secret among classic-car cognescenti. Dr. Carr’s nephew said his uncle had received many letters from collectors all over Britain asking him to part with the Bugatti. “He got notes pushed through his door,” he said.

Dr Carr’s nephew said, “It was one of the original supercars. When it was built it could reach 130 m.p.h. when most cars could only do 50.”

The Bugatti will be a highlight of the Bonhams auction at Retromobile in Paris next month. Experts said the car could fetch $4.3 million or more, reports The Associated Press.


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