SPOTLIGHT: 1939 Bugatti Type 57C by Vanvooren
What makes a car unique at SEMA? Vibrant paintwork? Custom bodywork? Maybe a one-off engine conversion? In reality these modifications become commonplace at such a huge event like SEMA. To really stand out at this show you need to push ALL the boundaries… and then some.
Meguiar’s might just have the solution this year! What you’re looking at here is a 1939 Bugatti Type 57C, a super-rare classic produced between 1934-1940. It’s also been modified by master coachbuilders Vanvooren of Paris. Oh, and the original owner just happened to be the Prince of Persia!
Mohammed Reza Pahlavi (the Prince of Persia and future Shah of Iran) received this unique supercharged Bugatti as a gift from the French government on his first wedding – much better than a food blender, right? Vanvooren of Paris constructed the dramatic body in the style of Figoni & Falaschi, one of the most progressive coachbuilders of the day.
Features including fully skirted fenders, a top that conceals beneath the metal panel and a windshield that can be lowered into the cowl by means of a hand crank under the dash.
In 1959 the Bugatti was sold out of the Shah’s Imperial Garage for the equivalent sum of just 275 U.S. dollars. Since then it’s been owned by a succession of Bugatti enthusiasts but never publicly shown until 1983 after a complete restoration. In 2013 it sits pride of place on the Meguiar’s SEMA stand, and as you can see from the pictures it’s as beautiful to look at as the story behind it!