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1930s – Bugatti Aérolithe

Bugatti Aérolithe – Luxury Cars of the 20th Century
Very few cars are shrouded in as much mystery as the Bugatti Aerolithe. First presented at the 1935 Paris Motor Show, the Aérolithe was the precursor to the famed Type 57 Atlantic, devised by Ettore Bugatti’s son, Jean Bugatti. After the cars debut and subsequent Atlantic production, the Aérolithe disappeared. Whilst no historical documents can provide evidence of the cars fate, it is theorized the Aerolithe was cannibalized for parts before the Second World War. The sad truth of the Aérolithe’s demise is that it represented the purest portrayal of Jean Bugatti’s initial vision of perhaps the most beautiful car ever conceived. A car which transcended luxury and uncompromised beauty and style, combining the three, creating a vehicle representing the artistry of the decade and excessive affluence of vehicles of the past.

Happily, the Guild of Automotive Restorers have produced an exact replica of the Aérolithe in the truest sense; an exact replication of the concept car. Using a Type 57 chassis, engine, rear axle and gearbox, the spectacular body has been produced from magnesium, as the original Aerolithe’s body consisted of Elektron, a magnesium alloy. Like the cars fate, the colour of the Aérolithe has also been contested for decades, many claiming it was finished in silver, as it appears in the few photographs documenting its appearance at the 1935 Paris Motor Show. Despite this, the Guild have concluded its true colour is the pale metallic green from examining a painting given to Jean Bugatti showing the car in the colour. More evidence supporting this theory is the cars code name used during production: “Crème De Menthe.”


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