The Williamson Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic – Click above to enlarge

Widely regarded as one of the most beautiful automobiles ever created, it's not every day that a Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic changes hands. Only four of examples were ever made, and only two or three of them are still around today. One is owned by Ralph Lauren, and another belonged to the late Dr. Peter Williamson. Californian auction house Gooding & Company has now announced that the Williamson Bugatti has changed hands for a record sum, and though the buyer and exact amount paid remain undisclosed, reports place it between $30-40 million, easily eclipsing the $12.2 million paid for a 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa this time last year.

Until his recent passing, Dr. Williamson had amassed a considerable collection of classic Bugattis. Gooding had helped assemble the collection, and since his passing has helped his estate sell them off. But the Atlantic – the crown jewel of the collection and winner of the 2003 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance – was saved for last. According to reports, the car was acquired through Gooding by the Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard, California, where we recently went to check out the soon-to-be-rebuilt Bugatti Type 64 Coupe, so with a little luck we might have the opportunity to bring you the Atlantic in due course. Follow the jump for the press release from Gooding.

[Source: Gooding & Company]
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GOODING & COMPANY MAKES HISTORY WITH THE PRIVATE SALE OF THE WORLD'S MOST VALUABLE CAR, THE 1936 BUGATTI TYPE 57SC ATLANTIC

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (May 5, 2010) – Gooding & Company, the internationally celebrated auction house that offers a wide range of services, including private and estate sales, is proud to announce that it has sold the unparalleled 1936 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic to an undisclosed buyer. As the official broker for the Trust that formerly owned the Atlantic, Gooding & Company found a devoted connoisseur who will become the guardian of this treasured piece of automotive history.

"I am extremely pleased to have found the new buyer for the 1936 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic, one of the world's most significant and valuable automobiles that has been in a private collection and rarely seen during the past four decades," says David Gooding, president and founder of Gooding & Company. "It has been a great pleasure to work with the Williamson Family and Trust in this important endeavor."

Formerly the coveted pillar of the world renowned Williamson Bugatti Collection, the Atlantic was the 2003 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance best in Show car.

The Atlantic was an automobile derived from Bugatti's prototype Aerolithe Electron Coupé that caused a sensation when it was unveiled at the 1935 Paris Auto Salon. Bugatti later built just three Atlantics, each one different from the next, but this 1936 car (chassis #57374) is the first in the series and its historical significance, originality and restoration has been revered by enthusiasts throughout the world.

About Gooding & Company
Gooding & Company, the official auction house of the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, will be conducting its annual two-day Pebble Beach Auction on August 14 & 15, 2010. Auctions are broadcast live from Gooding & Company's website on
www.goodingco.com/auction. Bidder registration forms, press credentials and additional auction information are also available on www.goodingco.com or by calling (310) 899-1960. For additional vehicle information and up-to-the-minute results, follow Gooding & Company on Facebook and Twitter @GoodingCompany.

Gooding & Company provides unparalleled service for those in the collector car market, offering a wide range of services, including private and estate sales, appraisals and collection management. Gooding & Company achieved two new world record sales at its inaugural Amelia Island Auction in March this year with the outstanding 1931 Voisin Mylord Demi-Berline at $2.75 Million and the 1961 Porsche RS61 Spyder at $1.705 Million. At its annual Scottsdale Auction in January, Gooding & Company topped Arizona's auction week charts for the third year in a row with the sale of the $3.74
Million 1956 Jaguar D-Type Sports Racer.