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The Multi-Million-Dollar Recreation of the Long-Lost 1935 Bugatti Aerolithe Is for Sale

The multi-million recreation of one of the most mysterious cars in history, the Bugatti Aerolithe, is on sale at this spring Paris Retromobile. Although only a replica, it is still expected to fetch more than $3 million.
The multi-million-dollar recreation of the long-lost 1935 Bugatti Aerolithe is for sale 11 photos
The multi-million-dollar recreation of the long-lost 1935 Bugatti Aerolithe is for saleThe multi-million-dollar recreation of the long-lost 1935 Bugatti Aerolithe is for saleThe multi-million-dollar recreation of the long-lost 1935 Bugatti Aerolithe is for saleThe multi-million-dollar recreation of the long-lost 1935 Bugatti Aerolithe is for saleThe multi-million-dollar recreation of the long-lost 1935 Bugatti Aerolithe is for saleThe multi-million-dollar recreation of the long-lost 1935 Bugatti Aerolithe is for saleThe multi-million-dollar recreation of the long-lost 1935 Bugatti Aerolithe is for saleThe multi-million-dollar recreation of the long-lost 1935 Bugatti Aerolithe is for saleThe multi-million-dollar recreation of the long-lost 1935 Bugatti Aerolithe is for saleThe multi-million-dollar recreation of the long-lost 1935 Bugatti Aerolithe is for sale
The original Bugatti Aerolithe concept was shown in 1935 at the Paris Auto Salon only to completely disappear soon thereafter. Officially designated as the Coupe Special or Coupe Aerodynamic, the concept Jean Bugatti designed served as inspiration for the famous Type 57SC Atlantic of which only four were built. The original concept was most probably dismantled after the Paris Auto Salon ended, and its parts were reused for other builds.

The Aerolithe concept had a body made entirely out of magnesium, with technologies borrowed from the aircraft industry. Jean Bugatti moved the cabin as far back and low as possible on the Type 57 chassis and rounded off everything behind the cowl, including the irregularly shaped doors. “This really started the whole teardrop thing,” said David Grainger, the owner of the Guild of Automotive Restorers in Bradford, Ontario, and the impetus behind the Aerolithe replica project.

The concept failed to attract attention in Paris back then, though, and not a single order followed, so the car was brought back to the factory and dismantled, with the parts most probably used to build other cars that were more in demand at the time. Almost 80 years later, people reconsidered their opinion when they saw the replica David Granger built.

The Aerolithe recreation started with a genuine Type 57 chassis (#57104) that retained almost all of its original parts, including the engine, transmission, rear axle, and most of the front axle. Grainger decided to build a Bugatti replica on it, and the mysterious Aerolithe was one of the first options. “It didn't make any sense to replicate a car that still exists,” he explained.

With only 11 pictures, two blueprints, and a painting as inspiration, Grainger built the replica using the techniques that were available to Bugatti in the mid-Thirties. The Aerolithe replica was finished in 2013 after seven years of effort, but the result was worth it. Jay Leno appreciated it as well, six years later.

In the latest twist to this incredible story, the Bugatti Aerolithe recreation is now for sale at Artcurial's Retromobile auction in Paris next month. The pre-auction estimate for the car ranges from €1.5 million to €3 million (about $1.7 million to $3.4 million).

 
 
 
 
 

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