The Mullin Automotive Museum in California loaned a stunning Type 57 SC Atlantic to the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao’s latest exhibition. A central automotive art piece at the exhibition, the legendary vehicle was automotive designer Jean Bugatti’s pièce de resistance and also one of two surviving original examples. The ‘Motion. Autos, Art, Architecture’ exhibition will be open till 18 September 2022.
Located in the northern Spanish city of Bilbao, the titanium architecture of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is one of the most spectacular buildings in continental Europe. The latest exhibition, personally curated by architect and designer Norman Foster, celebrates and investigates “the parallels between the automotive world and that of art”.
Inside ‘Motion. Autos, Art, Architecture’ is a hand-picked collection of about 40 of the automotive industry’s most exclusive, breathtaking and technically innovative creations. Among the selection and appearing in the ‘Sculptures’ gallery of the exhibition, the Type 57 SC Atlantic’s engineering excellence was highlighted, along with its prominent flowing lines.
Mystical Allure & Exclusivity
Shaped by Bugatti’s craftspeople, the 1936 automobile was the first unit originally built for British banker Victor Rothschild. Jean Bugatti created the second-made Atlantic — now infamously known as the “La Voiture Noire1” — for his personal use which has been missing since 1938 and is presumed to be lost during the Second World War. According to experts, that Atlantic is valued at more than €100 million if it is ever found. The third unit was in a severe collision in 1955 that almost completely destroyed the car. The last and fourth Atlantic belongs to fashion designer Ralph Lauren.
The striking car features an extremely long bonnet with an overall length of 3.7 metres. Its rear end flows downwards in an oval shape and extends almost to the ground. A raised seam, an outstanding design feature, runs vertically from the hinge in the split bonnet to the tail — dividing the body in the middle.
The Type 57 SC Atlantic is powered by a robust, near-silent 3.3-litre straight-eight engine. It is able to produce up to 200 PS and has a top speed in excess of 200 km/h. A work of art on wheels and also a pioneering innovation at a time when mostly horse-drawn carts were still on roads.
Christophe Piochon, Bugatti’s president, said the Type 57 SC Atlantic remains one of the greatest pieces of automotive design ever conceived despite being created over 80 years ago, as very few existing cars can command such a distinct presence.
“It is the very definition of the automobile transcending into the world of art, making it the ideal specimen to illustrate our brand’s heritage and design philosophies at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao,” added Piochon.
Other beautiful cars include a 2010 Dymaxion #4, an Alfa Romeo BAT Car 7 from 1954, General Motors’ Firebird I, II and III, as well as the space-inspired Pegaso Z-102 Cúpula from 1952. Purchase tickets to Guggenheim Bilbao’s ‘Motion. Autos, Art, Architecture’ exhibition here.
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