The best vehicles in the world meet once a year at the Concorso d’Eleganza on Lake Como, Italy. But even among the best in the world, there can only be one winner, and this year the honor went to a Bugatti Type 57S Vanvooren Cabriolet. It was one of four Bugatti vehicles on display and, in addition to winning its category, it was also named “Best of Show”.
With seven different classes on display, the Bugatti Type 57S featured in Class A, “The Golden Age of Elegance: The Art Deco Era of Automotive Design”. The technical excellence comes from Bugatti, while the elegant cabriolet bodywork is the work of Vanvooren, based in Courbevoie in the Paris suburbs. The convertible still impresses today with its proportions and clear lines. It is the first of four Bugatti Type 57S cars to be built with a Vanvooren cabriolet body. One of its previous owners replaced the stock engine with a V8 for testing purposes. After extensive research, the original straight-eight engine – lost for over 40 years – was relocated, a true modern-day miracle.
Alongside the Type 57S in Class A were a rare 1934 Bugatti Type 59 Sports racing car and a Type 57C Stelvio Cabriolet with 1937 Gangloff bodywork. After serving as a works racing car in 1934 and 1935, the Type 59 Sports was converted into a sports car and ran successfully until 1937. It had only five owners, including King Leopold III of Belgium from 1938. Today this vehicle is one of the Bugattis of most important races and is widely admired for its originality. The judges of the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este were so impressed that the Type 59 received the FIVA Trophy for the best preserved pre-war car.
The Stelvio Cabriolet was the first Type 57 to be fitted with a supercharger by Bugatti. Bugatti named it after the Passo dello Stelvio – otherwise known as the Stelvio Pass – because this steep mountain pass was overcome effortlessly by its powerful engine. Bodywork comes from exclusive coachbuilder Gangloff, based in Colmar, France, a stone’s throw from Bugatti’s Molsheim headquarters. The Cabriolet’s art deco bumpers are noteworthy, being the only known example of this Bugatti to feature such details.
In the “Concept Cars and Prototypes” category, the new Bugatti Bolide¹ was one of seven prototypes on display, winning the category’s coveted Design Award. The experimental study, Bolide, answers the question of what a Bugatti would look like if it were stripped down to its cutting-edge essentials and based on the iconic 8.0-litre W16 engine. When the concept was first unveiled in 2020, such was the desire of customers around the world that Bugatti took the decision to produce a small production run of 40 units of the Bolide – all of which build slots were immediately closed. exhausted.
The extreme, track-focused hyper sports car has an unrivaled power-to-weight ratio. Bugatti explored a new dimension of hyper sports cars thanks to its W16 engine producing 1,600 hp combined with the Bolide’s ultra-high downforce configuration. The Bolide achieves LMP-like performance, all without compromising optimum handling capability. However, in line with a fundamental brand philosophy, the performance of the Bolide will be highly accessible to all drivers behind the wheel to create a unique yet inspiring experience.
Christophe Piochon, President of Bugatti Automobiles said: “The Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este is one of the finest and most significant events in the world of classic cars and luxury sports cars. We are proud to participate again this year with four quite exceptional vehicles. We are honored that a Bugatti vehicle wins the prestigious “Best of Show” award among such renowned competition, in addition to winning its class. It is also an honor to see a wonderfully original Type 59 Sports win the FIVA Trophy and to have the “Concorso d’Eleganza Design Award” for “Concept Cars and Prototypes” awarded to Bolide. All these vehicles illustrate Bugatti’s enduring values despite nearly 90 years of separation: design, performance, elegance and quality.
Villa d’Este – Showcasing the beauty of Bugatti
In the 16th century, Cardinal Tolomeo Gallio had a palace built to serve as his private residence. This became one of the most luxurious hotels in the world in 1873. The majestic Villa d’Este palace, the gardens in the style of the Italian Renaissance and the sparkling waters of Lake Como are now the guarantees of an exceptional experience. For nearly 150 years, some of the biggest names in film, art, literature, politics and business have resided at the hotel. The hotel has hosted the Concorso d’Eleganza since 1929, with Bugatti vehicles among recurring entrants and winners.
In 2013, a 1938 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic received the coveted honor of being “Best of Show”. Owned by designer Ralph Lauren, the vehicle is one of only two original Atlantics still in existence. Only four vehicles were built, one of which is sadly lost and another restored after being involved in a serious accident. In recent years, juries have also been wowed by the 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Sports Tourer and a 1934 Type 59 Grand Prix.
Bugatti surprised the jury and the public three years ago with the unique La Voiture Noire². The ultimate grand tourer references Jean Bugatti’s lost Type 57SC Atlantic and brings art deco design into the 21st century. Bugatti won the “Concept Cars and Prototypes” category with La Voiture Noire in 2019.