1/18 Scale Car of the Year – Bugatti Type 57

Some of the most collectible cars ever made come from the risk-taking, pioneering automotive engineers and coach-builders of the pre-war period. These were cars when cars were something new, something to be taken to the fringes of design and styling and experimented with. That meant that many designs were truly unique, with single models of a car coming out that shared nothing with any other car on the road. One of those was the Bugatti Type 57.

By the time the 57 debuted, Bugatti was a legendary producer of racing cars with platforms like the Type 35, still one of the winningest cars in history.

The creation of Ettore Bugatti’s son Jean, the type 57 was one of the world’s first real supercars, with later SC versions featuring a supercharged DOHC 32v inline 8 capable of taking the car to over 120mph in a lowered body.

A few T57’s, notably this Atlantic, wore an Aerolithe body, made from a lightweight but flammable magnesium alloy that necessitated external rivets, creating the cars signature seams, although production cars used aluminum.

CMC has produced one of the best ways to honor and appreciate the 57, if you don’t happen to have a spare 40 million to own a real one. This is a model of the Type 57 SC Atlantic, restyled and updated by Ralph Lauren, wearing a gorgeous shade of black and distinctive wheel covers with matching black paint and chrome accents.

Everything is delicate and everything works. The hood opens with delicate pins. The doors open via handle, and the small spare tire cover comes off with a clip. The suspension features actual leaf springs. The engine has real tubing and the seats are real leather. This CMC is a model as carefully executed as the real thing.