1937 Bugatti Type 57 Pillarless Sports Coupe

1937 Bugatti Type 57 Pillarless Sports Coupe Coachwork by Graber.

The extremely handsome, one off coachbuilt Bugatti presented here is accredited by Bugatti experts to be a collaboration of its original owner with the Swiss coachbuilder Graber who were one of the leading Swiss coachbuilders of their day.
Most of Graber's 50 workers were skilled specialists, and the firm regularly displayed their latest creations on their stand at the Geneva Salon. It could be said that they were less flashy than some of the French coachbuilders, less advanced than certain Italian efforts but they were definitely of higher quality than most and displaying the well-balanced design preferred by their wealthy clientele. The success of Hermann Graber's company may be judged by the fact that it perpetuated comfortably into the 1970s, long after many of its pre-war contemporaries had ceased.
According to information supplied by Bugattiste Kees Jansen, 57443 was completed by the Bugatti Works in September 1936 and was sold in chassis form to the Bucar Bugatti agency, who had operations in both Berlin and Zurich. This particular order was for the Grob Agency in the Zurich Canton of Horgen. 57443 is one of a handful of Type 57s that were supplied at this time all with chassis numbers in close proximity of each other, notably, 57444, 57446 and 57447. 57443, 57444 and 57447 were all to be equipped with coachwork by Graber. Jansen's records state that the rolling chassis was driven over 150km to Hermann Graber's coachbuilding works on September 21, 1936.
The car's original owner is said to have been an architect and was therefore responsible for the design, while the coachbuilder was for its construction. A number of its features including the hood louver treatment are common with other Graber bodies.
The result was a dramatically different automobile to the factory offered Pillarless sedan, which was arguably a victim of practicality over style. The car here is a clever, set-back, close-coupled design retaining the popular scalloped side panels synonymous with Bugattis, and dispensing with running boards to accentuate separate 'teardrop' or pontoon fenders. It is unquestionably a success, and it is perhaps only at second glance that one notices the presence of the secondary door. With the spare tire set at the back of the car, the full design of its side from its quarter-batched hood louvers backward is uncompromised, always a sporting styling touch. Another particular feature which is rather interesting are the long 'eared' wheel hub spinners, which it is said were to make wheel removal easier for a lady owner early in its career.

Descriptions & pictures by bonhams & en.wheelsage & flickr & coachbuild
Production Start 1937
Country of origin Italy