Is this Bugatti replica a dream car or disaster?
The Delahaye Pacific copies the classic Bugatti Type 57S Atlantic for just $275,000, a mere fraction of the real car's value.
We hate to be blunt about this, but chances are good you will never own a real 1938 Bugatti Type 57S Atlantic.
Though more than a few tycoons capable of fronting the $30 million-$40 million it would take to add one to your fleet, there simply aren't very many to go around.
Counting the prototype, four were built. Two survive. One is in the collection of the Mullin Museum, and Ralph Lauren seems pretty attached to the other.
The same is true of all the wildly styled, skillfully executed art deco rides that were produced—in extremely limited quantities—in the 1930s. These hand-built wonders don't change hands very often at any price. But don't despair. You've got options.
You could commission a custom body to be built on an existing, pedigreed chassis. Peter Mullin, apparently not content with the Atlantic displayed in his museum, did just that.
You might consider buying a replica car—or “replicar,” as they are often called—which tries to mate classic lines with a modern chassis. That's a risky proposition: For every convincing, high-performance Shelby Cobra kit, there are plenty of Cord 810 and Auburn Boattail Speedster replicars that don't look quite right.
Delahaye USA, a custom-car company operating out of Long Valley, N.J., offers a third option: a vehicle that is a modern interpretation of a classic style. Their Bugatti 57S Atlantic-inspired “Pacific” (get it?) is one example of their handiwork, and it's currently for sale at Hemmings.com for $275,000.
It's built on a custom steel tube chassis, powered by a BMW V12, bodied in fiberglass and upholstered in a very . . . interesting brocade fabric. The Pacific is longer than an Atlantic, and Delahaye USA says the interior is big enough to accommodate a 6.5-foot-tall driver. The vehicle currently on sale is a prototype, and the company plans on building it in a variety of configurations if interest in sufficient.
The Delahaye USA earns our praise for calling their cars “re-creations” rather than replicas, a distinction that provides a bit of latitude to play with classic lines and proportions without raising the ire of purists. Some their art deco fiberglass bodies even look great as hot rods.
Still, the Pacific is no Atlantic, and it never will be. This raises an interesting set of questions:
Putting cost aside, could you ever appreciate Delahaye USA's Pacific for what it is, knowing full well that you could never own the real thing? It might help you to imagine substituting the brocade interior for another upholstery material of your choice for the sake of argument.
Or does this last option—buying a nice, die-cast model of the Atlantic and resigning oneself to an otherwise Bugatti-less existence—seem like a better idea?
-- Graham Kozak
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You guys seem to be frozen in cult of the past. A good replica does no harm to the original.
Considering price and availability of real ones it makes sense to revive the glory with a replica.
But it has to be done right with good chassis dynamics, drivetrain, ultra modern brake system,
and reliable,powerful,efficient engine. For $ 275K it sounds possible to do.
Their "new" body looks just right, but garden variety chairs in brocade will have to go !
Now, if some of the other builders (say of Cobra and hot rod styles) would create this body/chassis with a price closer to us knucklehead's budget it could sell well!
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