- Credit: Pixabay

Bugatti Aérolithe: The $114 million car that vanished without a trace

It's one of the biggest unsolved mysteries in automotive history that you may one day uncover!

2w ago

Less than a year after Bugatti presented what eventually became one of its most eye-catching designs in 1935, the car in question disappeared from the face of the Earth as far as humans are aware - with nothing but the chassis number 57453 to use as a tool for uncovering any potential discovery.

Around 800 Bugatti Type 57's were built, which automatically renders them sought after. But it's the Type 57 Atlantic Coupé that embodies the holy grail of a mystery yet to be solved - only four were made, with the son of the company's founder, Jean Bugatti himself held responsible for the striking design of the cars.

Credit: Pixabay

Credit: Pixabay

Composed of 90% magnesium, 10% aluminium and blended with a touch of Bugatti's 'secret sauce' of Elektron - a specific type of alloy known for being used in aircraft, it really was unique for the period of time.

Speculations and theories on just how this fragment of automotive history seemingly ceased to exist range from anything in the realms of sunken remains, being stripped for parts by Bugatti, or being gifted to international celebrities - all the way to more feasible explanations such as the car being destroyed during World War II that closely followed in years to come.

A design study at heart and initially created with a purpose to springboard the design of the legendary 'Atlantic' cars that were to come, the chassis 57453 had no owner for this reason - so there is no traceable information available that may be linked to a previous owner.

Although the mystery continues to stay with us, it hasn't stopped replicas being produced to fill the history. Canadian master restorers at the Guild of Automotive Restorers completed the replica of the mystery car in 2013, with only old photos at hand for the design - and a painting which gave a clear enough indication of the colour of the original vehicle.

But finding anything close to these cars is near impossible in the wild, with many of the Type 57's having their keys clenched by wealthy private collectors who probably refuse to let the machines see the light of day.

If you are fortunate to stumble upon the treasure trove, you're most likely going to be entitled to a hefty amount of cash - Bugatti estimates it's somewhere in the $114 million range. If I was the lucky discoverer, I'd probably keep the secret going just a little longer before claiming my riches.

What would you do if you came across the jackpot? Let me know in the comments!

Ollie Funnell | Student Journalist, Coventry University

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Comments (26)

  • That’s because stole it for his personal collection

      19 days ago
  • I would sell a kidney to drive that

      19 days ago
  • It's probably somewhere in either middle east, China or that rich guy in Brunnei collection.

      18 days ago
  • If i found her, i would keep her. A beauty that needs to be seen, not spirited away in a garage

      19 days ago
  • It's so elegant

      12 days ago