Legacy is a tricky thing to grapple with, but Bugatti’s latest concept car shows just how successful embracing the past can be.
Like something straight out of a time-bent noir film, the marque’s Next-57 concept is a streamlined take on the Type 57 SC Atlantic Coupé that it first created back in the 1930s. Its silhouette expands on the original’s sweeping body lines and takes them to their limit for both aerodynamics and an aesthetic that’s just as alluring today as it was nearly a century ago. Bugatti’s hallmark horseshoe grille at the front pays homage to its design tradition while creating a welcome textural disruption to the otherwise glossy exterior.
The cabin itself has a teardrop outline with a likewise flowing interior enhanced by extensive use of hot pink suede upholstery across the single seat, door interiors and steering wheel. But, fortunately, all of this extravagance can be appreciated even by those not operating the vehicle as a ridged glass roof provides improved visibility. Plus, quite simply, it just looks painfully cool.
As impressive as the imaginative renderings are, their grandeur is necessary to match that of their inspiration. The Type 57 SC Atlantic is one of the rarest, most influential—and most valuable—vintage cars on the market. Between 1936 and 1938, only four were produced in total and only three of them are known to remain in existence today, with many searching for the elusive last example (a car the automaker estimates could be worth $114 million) like some kind of Holy Grail. The model helped pave the way for how contemporary minds think of sports cars and, seeing how it was built as both a street car and racing alternative, it provided the framework for the creation of that particular kind of crossover.
“The Atlantic is among the icons in Bugatti’s long tradition,” said Stephan Winkelmann, Bugatti’s president, in a press statement. “In terms of elegance, quality and performance, the coupé was unique in its time and is still unique today. A luxury super sports car. For us, it is both an inspiration and a commitment.”
See more photos of its modern reinterpretation below: