Dennis Nicotra’s 1938 Bugatti Type 57C Atalante coupe was found after being hidden away for 45 years in a Pound Ridge, NY barn. The Museum is also presenting completely original 1905 Stanley Model CX steam car that was unearthed on a New Hampshire farm in 1964, and kept intact ever since. Both ‘barn finds’ represent truly intriguing examples of automotive archaeology.
“As the Bugatti’s new owner,” explains Mr. Nicotra, a real estate developer from Connecticut, “I was thrilled that the car was invited to last summer’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in Monterey, California.”
The car was shown in the Preservation Class – a fast-growing category at the prestigious show, where many newly-discovered ‘ barn finds’ are brought out into the light of day. “It was described in dozens of news articles with headlines such as, ‘The Greatest Barn Find Ever‘ and
‘Sleeping Beauty Bugatti.‘ The New York Times published a half-page article on the car prior to the auction.”
Every component on the Bugatti is preserved exactly as it was when parked by owner John W Straus, back in 1962. Now 89, Mr. Straus is the grandson of Isador Straus, the man who built New York’s famed Macy’s department store into an international retail name, before he was lost at sea, along with his wife Ida, when the Titanic sank in 1912.
“I immediately shipped the Bugatti to Scott Sargent in Vermont,” Nicotra explains. “Sargent is a highly-respected expert on these cars, and it made good sense to start there. He said the car was “as ‘pure’ a Bugatti as he’d ever seen.”
Every number matches, no exceptions. It was clearly born a Supercharged Type 57C, chassis number 57766, and has all its original parts. The body, an Atalante coupe, one of less than 40 of this style built, also boasts complete and total originality as every body part from stem to stern has the #32 stamp on it. It’s a real honest-to-goodness, pure-bred Bugatti. Straus put it away in 1962 with a full tank of fuel and it hadn’t moved since.
Nicotra’s fabulous Bugatti Atalante, the 102-year old Stanley Steamer, as well as two art exhibits – Photojournalist Bob Christy’s, “Broken Down Heroes” — an homage to forgotten cars — and nearly 50 of Saratoga’ Springs native Stu Eichel’s paintings of Barn Finds, all make their debuts at the Saratoga Automobile Museum beginning November 16th, 2007. The ‘Barn Finds’ exhibit now runs through January 27th, 2008.
For more information, visit the museum’s Web site at: www.saratogaautomuseum.org.