The Bugatti Type 57 is iconic in almost any form. Almost no matter what form examples come in, they’ll be worth seven if not eight figures. Now, Bugatti is highlighting a one-off example that it says is the “inspiration for modern Bugatti cars.”
The Type 57 Roadster Grand Raid Usine shown here is the only example known to history. Unveiled in October of 1934, it was designed specifically for competition. To that end, its body is made from light but strong aluminum.
A V-shaped windscreen, aerodynamic headrest supports, and streamlined elongated fenders point to that spirit for competition as well. The car also features adjustments to the controls and a seating position that’s been pushed back towards the rear of the car compared to the normal Type 57.
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Interestingly, the name Usine was never an official nameplate of Bugatti. The brand believes that it was Ettore’s son, Jean Bugatti, that actually designed the car. Whatever the case, it’s finished in Ettore’s favorite colors, yellow and black.
This same vehicle was entered into the Paris-Nice rally by Pierre Veyron, also known as the man that the original hypercar itself is named for. It also won the Chavigny hill climb event in 1935. It’s a sincere piece of automotive history beyond its place in the family tree.
Could it be that the Type 57 Roadster Grand Raid Usine points toward the new “icon” that Bugatti plans to unveil this weekend? We can’t say for sure but the timing certainly is interesting. Comments made by Bugatti’s President, Christophe Piochon, also seem to indicate that there’s some connection.
“The Bugatti Type 57 Roadster Grand Raid Usine is an exceptional piece of Bugatti’s heritage in every aspect and one that embodies all that Bugatti stands for in the 21st century,” said Piochon… “It was engineered for performance and designed with the highest standards of craftsmanship and luxury. It is a luxury sports car, the inspiration for modern Bugatti cars.”
Today, this icon is kept in the Louwman Museum in Hague. The museum was founded in 1934 so it’s fitting that these two icons are intertwined. We can’t wait to see what, if any, influence the Type 57 Roadster Grand Raid Usine has on the car that’ll be unveiled in just a few days.