1937 Bugatti Atlantic 57 S - Mother of all Sports Cars?

34 posts in this topic

Posted (edited) · Report post

Hi,

It is hard to understand why kit manufacturers ignore some of the most spectacular pacemakers of automotive history. One of these ignored vehicles is the Bugatti Atlantic. In 1937 it showed many features that we consider to be typical for a modern sports car: Breathtaking appearance and performance, a radically reduced vehicle height for a low center of gravity, doors reaching into the roof, the use of lightweight materials.

Some years ago I happened to see a pile of 1/24 Bburago toy models at a large food store at less than (converted) $ 10.00. Among them were some Bugatti Atlantic. At first glance they looked rather odd but on nearer view their proportions seemed to be possibly correct. At home this first impression proved true:

  • All dimensions of the metal body were correct. A big problem were the poorly fitting movable doors with their crude hinges. Door gaps varied extremely because firstly the door shapes were different from the door openings and secondly the doors didn't follow the curvatures of the body.
  • The rear radiator edges "flow" into the hood of the real car. This striking feature was missing, probably it was too difficult to reproduce it for a toy model.
  • There were no usuable interior parts.
  • The crude chassis and all other parts were made of a strange kind of plastic. It was very hard and tough, and sanding or to gluing it turned out to be impossible.
  • Rims and tyres had a completely wrong "universal" size.

Therefore only the metal body from fire-wall to the rear (including the integrated front fenders) and the two doors were used. I stripped the paint, sanded off all details and after days of adjustment work inserted them closed. All the rest of my model had to be self-made including chassis, radiator, hood, interior, rims and tires.

Only very few Atlantic were built, so all cars are slightly different. My model shows the vehicle delivered to England to R. Pope (registration EXK 6), later owned by Ralph Lauren.

post-11944-0-47982800-1381261025_thumb.jpost-11944-0-70772300-1381261027_thumb.jpost-11944-0-97511500-1381261029_thumb.jpost-11944-0-20941600-1381261032_thumb.jpost-11944-0-64631700-1381261034_thumb.jpost-11944-0-34645600-1381261037_thumb.jpost-11944-0-77533900-1381261022_thumb.j

Edited by Plastheniker

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Posted · Report post

WOW !! BEAUTIFUL !!!

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Posted · Report post

You sure do some very nice work!

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Posted · Report post

Another wonderful creation Jürgen! The wire wheels, interior, paint - everything absolutely spot-on. And all starting from a Bburago?!?!?! Incredible.

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Posted · Report post

That is awesome work, and it is a stellar car. Brilliant scratch building everywhere. The interior is fantastic. My only comment would be, having seen the prototype at the Louvre last year in the Ralph Lauren "Art of the Automobile" exhibition, is that the rivet heads on the "spine" are very visible on the real thing, and they are actually a part of the story of this fantastic car, since at the time, the metal of the cabin could not be welded. Colour is obviously a subjective choice, but I also think it looks cooler in black, as it is now. Of all of the cars in that show, this is one of the top 3 "sculptures", and the shape takes priority for me, over the colour. It's a great model though, and one I'd be proud to have on the shelf!

bestest,

M.

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Posted · Report post

Very nice work. I love that car.

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Posted · Report post

Very sharp..

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Posted · Report post

One of my all time favorite cars ... and what a beautiful job you did on this one!

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Posted · Report post

Spectacular!!!

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Posted · Report post

Lovely model , you did top class work on this.

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Posted · Report post

Another of your AMAZING builds! looks fantastic!! :D

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Posted · Report post

Great work! Often look at mine and wished it was better quality. What ypou have done is amazing.

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Posted · Report post

Great job, looks similar to the Bugatti Aerolithe Coupe

I saw being built by the boys over at The Guild of Automotive Restorers on the history channel.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Very impressive work! The scratch building is amazing.

Regarding the real 1:1 cars, didn't these have magnesium body panels? I just noticed the ridges on the body and fenders. I suppose where the panels were riveted or screwed together?

Edited by dmk

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Posted · Report post

Amazing job!

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Posted · Report post

Awesome work ! Great craftsmanship.

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Posted · Report post

That is one of those cars that just gets better with age. I swear I find something new I like about it every time I see a picture of one.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Superb scratchbuilding, and you nailed the Pope Atlantic before Lauren had it restored. I have a couple of these kits, and my plan was to put the body on the very nicely done Franklin Mint T57 Atalante chassis and interior (the wheelbase and some parts are identical). I'm particularly impressed by your fix on the radiator and, as usual, your amazing wire wheels. I do wish that the fins on the body and fenders were a bit larger so I could make the rivets more obvious.

I inquired with some resin casters to see if they could make a resin body from the diecast body, allowing me to make certain modifications (such as opening the side mesh on the hood), but the prices quoted were through the roof.

PS FOR DMK: The prototype Aerolithe coupe was made from an alloy of aluminum, tin and magnesium called Elektron. It was so hard to bend and shape that the riveted seams were employed. It was also very flammable. As a result, the Atlantics used regular aluminum instead (but kept the riveted seams for design purposes).

Edited by sjordan2

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Thanks for your comments so far.

I do wish that the fins on the body and fenders were a bit larger so I could make the rivets more obvious.

My only comment would be, having seen the prototype at the Louvre last year in the Ralph Lauren "Art of the Automobile" exhibition, is that the rivet heads on the "spine" are very visible on the real thing, and they are actually a part of the story of this fantastic car, since at the time, the metal of the cabin could not be welded.

Skip, Matt, the question how to replicate the rivets caused some headache without result. Remember the 1/24 scale of my model. This picture shows how tiny the rivets on the 1:1 car are.post-11944-0-43191200-1381347749_thumb.j I estmated that their diameter is about 6 to 7mm, i. e. 0.25mm in 1/24.

  • First I tried to glue on small plastic discs made with a punch and die set. Minimum diameters of purchased sets are usually 0.6mm, my self-made set allows even 0.5mm. 0.5mm dia. is extremly hard to handle, nevertheless I managed to apply a short line of rivets. It simply looked completely out of scale and resembled Nemo's Nautilus.
  • Then I tried to apply styrene and aluminum strips embossed with a pounce wheel. This looked even worse.
  • Last I tried the method how plane modelers restore rivets on sanded surfaces, namely by sticking a needle. This failed too, because the metal was much too hard.

After some more days of pondering I gave up. Maybe today there would be a solution even without making larger fins, because recently I saw sheets with lines of tiny rivets that can be applied like decals.

Edited by Plastheniker

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Posted · Report post

Yes, even those press-on rivets are too large because the spines are too small. Every model I've seen at this scale or smaller has rivets that are way too big and obvious. The only alternative out there is a 1/12 kit by Gouel (over $1,000).

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Great job, looks similar to the Bugatti Aerolithe Coupe

I saw being built by the boys over at The Guild of Automotive Restorers on the history channel.

PS FOR DMK: The prototype Aerolithe coupe was made from an alloy of aluminum, tin and magnesium called Elektron. It was so hard to bend and shape that the riveted seams were employed. It was also very flammable. As a result, the Atlantics used regular aluminum instead (but kept the riveted seams for design purposes).

Skip, once again your expertise is impressive. Perhaps it might be interesting for those not familiar with the Aérolithe/Atlantic that probably one chassis(!) and one body were really made of Elektron. Aérolithe and Atlantic can be distinguished easily: Only the Aérolithe had the high and flat standard radiator and by this a higher bonnet and smaller windscreens.

Edited by Plastheniker

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Posted (edited) · Report post

All of my information comes from an out-of-print book called "Bugatti Yesterday Today and Tomorrow." This is by far the most complete reference on the Atlantic and its creation.

For more information on the Atlantic and all Bugattis, go to www.bugattibuilder.com. This includes the world's largest archive of original Bugatti images from the Bugatti Trust.

Edited by sjordan2

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Posted · Report post

I too Have a couple of these and would like to cast the body and use that to refine and build. Your build is very beautiful and

bears out the proverbial silk purse.

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Posted · Report post

What about drawing the rivets on with a blue ultra-fine tip Sharpie? Just touch the tip to the surface to create a small dot.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

it might be worth looking at what Mike Grant does with decals:

http://www.mikegrantdecals.com/Rivets.html

I've seen his stuff used on a number of models, and it does look very convincing...

Edit -- I just realised, I need to show you what Mike does. His style is an inspiration for me, and in my aircraft builds, I aspire to being able to do this:

F-104_08s.jpg

It's well worth taking the time to look around here:

http://www.migrantmodelpix.com

Mike's a master modeler, and whatever your favorite genre, there's inspiration and lessons to be learned from him...

bestest,

M.

Edited by Matt Bacon

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