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OPULENCE & SPLENDOUR

Luxury and the arts From houses to cars and from Hockney to van Dyck, a profile of the best and the worst

Love at first sight

Stunning 1938 Bugatti that once formed part of the collection of the heir to Macy’s to be auctioned with a guide of £1.4 to £1.6 million

 

A 1938 Bugatti Type 57C Atalante owned for the majority of its life by John Wendell Straus (1920 – 2008), the heir to Macy’s department store fortune, is undoubtedly one of the star lots at RM Sotheby’s Driven by Disruption sale on 10th December in New York.

 

Love at first sight – 1938 Bugatti Type 57C Atalante
Love at first sight – The 1938 Bugatti Type 57C Atalante on offer

 

Owned by Straus – whose grandparents founded the department store chain before perishing on the Titanic in 1912 – from the early 1950s after he saw it on offer at Zumbach Motors on West 54th Street in New York, the Bugatti was put into storage in 1962 and remained there, covered in dust, until the mid-2000s. Auctioned as a “barn find” and in largely original condition with a guide of £198,000 to £263,000 ($300,000 to $400,000, €280,000 to €373,000) by Christie’s in 2007, the car has now been completely restored and is now on offer for a staggering £1.4 million to £1.6 million ($2.2 million to $2.5 million, €2.1 million to €2.3 million).

 

Love at first sight – 1938 Bugatti Type 57C Atalante
Suicide doors are amongst the distinctive features of the Bugatti
Love at first sight – 1938 Bugatti Type 57C Atalante
The car’s indicators are especially natty
Love at first sight – 1938 Bugatti Type 57C Atalante
The interior is largely original
Love at first sight – 1938 Bugatti Type 57C Atalante
The Bugatti was left in storage for 45 years by Macy’s owner John Wendell Strauss

 

Described as being of French Art Moderne in terms of its design style and being the personification of “the country of France on wheels: bright, modern, spectacular and proud”, this particular Bugatti was exhibited at the 1939 New York World’s Fair and has won awards at Pebble Beach, the Saratoga Invitational and the Lake Mirror Classic since being restored.

 

 

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Comments

3 comments on “Love at first sight”

  1. The Olympic – Titanic switch, and enormous Lloyds loss

    Guggenheim’s father perished – like John Jacob Astor and fifteen hundred others, in the Titanic disaster, which will be found to be the greatest insurance fraud ever perpetrated

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