The catalog offered a believable explanation that the factory records are “mistaken,” and that the car was indeed an Atalante from day one
The Type 57 Bugatti was introduced in March 1934, and variants of this touring model formed virtually the entire output from the Molsheim factory until war intervened in September 1939-by which time a total of less than 700 examples had been produced. Influenced by Ettore Bugatti’s talented young son Jean, the car was larger and more refined than previous models.
This particular Atalante Coupe, chassis no. 57679 fitted with engine no. 496, was invoiced by the factory as a Gangloff Stelvio drophead cabriolet for delivery to Earl Howe. However, RM Auctions believe that the records are mistaken because for well over 50 years the Atalante on offer here has been known and widely regarded as the Lord Cholmondley Atalante. This is further substantiated by period photographs taken in front of Lord Cholmondley’s house that show the Atalante registered with his traditional number plate, FGC180. Furthermore, the car known as the Lord Howe Stelvio, chassis no. 57698, resides in a museum in Texas.
In the mid 1950s, this Atalante was imported into the U.S. and subsequently registered to a Mr. Sorenson of New Jersey. It remained within the care of the Sorensen family for at least 20 years. In the late 1980’s, the Atalante passed through a succession of owners until it became a centerpiece within the Len Immeke collection. It was during this time that it was upgraded with a supercharger by the marque specialists Competition Motors. Several years later, the Atalante changed hands once again, going to an important Japanese collector until it was purchased by the actor, Nicolas Cage.
It remains in excellent condition and truly show worthy, as it is one of the most beautiful, striking designs to have been produced at Molsheim. This Atalante is truly an important car that would be a centerpiece of any collection. Attesting to this, the Atalante has been shown at Pebble Beach, where it was met with much enthusiasm from the judges and crowds.