In early February, a rumor popped up that Bugatti was bringing an extremely special multi-million-dollar one-off custom to the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. This week, Bugatti put out a teaser on social media that hinted at a new 57 SC Atlantic-inspired design. Could the two be related, or are automotive enthusiasts in for two major surprises?
Maybe we've been watching too much "True Detective" and have the itch to put clues together, but a peculiar timeline has begun to take shape surrounding what's to come next for Bugatti. On Feb. 12, we picked up a report from The Supercar Blog that said ex-VW boss Dr. Ferdinand Piech had ordered a one-off Bugatti that cost about $18 million and would debut in Geneva. On Feb. 18, Bugatti began a social campaign that celebrated the 80th birthday of the famed 57 SC Atlantic, highlighting each of the four examples that were built.
On Feb. 24, Bugatti publicly wondered if the design of the 57 SC Atlantic could be reinterpreted in the modern automotive landscape.
The Bugatti Type 57 SC Atlantic is one of the most mystical cars in automotive history and the star in the Hollywood movie OVERDRIVE. To find out more about its real life story, stay tuned! #Overdrive #Bugatti #BugattiAtlantic #Type57SC #BugattiHistory #Bugatti110Ans pic.twitter.com/RRhttBc6mI— Bugatti (@Bugatti) February 18, 2019
And today, Feb. 25, Bugatti posted an interview with Deputy Design Director Etienne Salomé in which he added a couple more hints. He starts by saying, "When the team and myself started to design this car," which suggests the Atlantic-inspired car is indeed real. He goes on, referencing Jean Bugatti: "How would he translate the timeless beauty and the elegance of his own private Atlantic onto a modern-day Bugatti?"
Jean Bugatti's 57 SC Atlantic cannot be re-created, but what do you think? Can we translate its design language into the 21st century? #Bugatti #BugattiAtlantic #Type57SC #BugattiHistory #Bugatti110Years #Bugatti110Ans #JeanBugatti #BugattiDesign #BugattiDesignLanguage pic.twitter.com/HUKPQAkCUq— Bugatti (@Bugatti) February 24, 2019
The second piece of information there could be taken literally or figuratively. In a literal sense, it sounds like the Atlantic-inspired car could be a design applied to a current Bugatti. Might it be a custom one-off Chiron? Bugatti has already shown how much it could change the look of its hypercar with the release of the track-focused Divo. Taken figuratively, however, it could suggest Bugatti will build a new model with the Atlantic's design ethos and spirit but with modern technology. That would mean the one-off and the Atlantic-style car are two different things.
Bugatti's Deputy Design Director Etienne Salomé tells us, what it would need to revive the 57SC Atlantic in the 21st century. #Bugatti #BugattiAtlantic #Type57SC #BugattiHistory #BugattiStory #Bugatti110Years #Bugatti110Ans #JeanBugatti pic.twitter.com/zoHagIElSP— Bugatti (@Bugatti) February 25, 2019
Because Bugatti only has one supremely specialized vehicle, its next moves are always highly anticipated. Back in 2016, the company said it had four options as to what would come after the Chiron, and pointed out the Galibier as one of the four. Coincidentally, the Galibier has a few Atlantic-style features, such as the spine that runs down the center of the car.
At this point, this is all speculation, and the only thing that is known for sure is Bugatti will not be unveiling an SUV. We'll update expectations as we learn more information.