What will $30 million buy these days? About six Hollywood A-lister mansions in "the hills." Or, in car speak, about 17 new Bugatti Veyrons, the most expensive new automobile built. Or, exactly one vintage Bugatti: an Type 57SC Atlantic coupe, according to the Wall Street Journal.
That publication, as well as other sources, originally reported that one of the two surviving Bugatti Atlantic coupes of the four originally built has been sold for between $30-40 million. This price makes the Atlantic the most expensive car ever sold.
Sources originally reported that the car was purchased by Peter Mullin, but other media outlets stated the California collector denied purchasing the car. Mullin recently opened the Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard, Calif., in the significantly remodeled building that once housed publishing magnate Otis Chandler's car collection. A release by the collection stated this car may be displayed in the museum later this year. (See Old Cars Weekly May 6 issue).
The light-blue Atlantic that sold was part of Dr. Peter D. Williamson's extremely impressive Bugatti collection. When Williamson died, cars from his collection were dispersed at auction, but the Atlantic was sold in a private sale.
As I recall, the other surviving Bugatti Atlantic coupe is in the fashion designer Ralph Lauren's collection. A third Atlantic was struck by a train and only pieces survived, while the fourth Atlantic was the first, a show car for the Paris Salon. This show car is believed to have been dismantled by the factory, and parts may or may not have been used in production of one of the other three Altantics.
Learn more about Bugattis at the American Bugatti Club.
The above pictures from the Old Cars Weekly archives likely represent the surviving twin to the car recently part of the Peter Mullin collection. This pictured car is likely the car currently in Ralph Lauren's collection.