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Editor: Jaap Horst

Volume 15, Issue 3

The Phoenix at the Beach - 57473

Walter Jamieson

For years there had been much idle talk and vague rumor that there was not one but two recreated versions of Atlantic 57473 in France. The one owned by Nicolas Seydoux was thought to have of couple of shock absorbers from the original car, but little else. The car was well-known, especially in Europe, and, in contrast to its original black and later blue-grey, sported a most arresting color, the description of which was a risky endeavor at best. It differed so much from one photograph to the next that I, for one, couldn't help but think that each showed it in a new color. I finally settled on 'very dark brown leaning ever so slightly toward aubergine'. Anyway, the look was so stunning that attempts to identify the color were beside the point.

Also, there was still the theory that the other version of 57473, built and owned by a M. Berson, might contain a few more bits of the original car.

Then the word began to circulate that another 57473 was being built by Paul Russell & Co.in the State of New Hampshire, U.S.A. And, finally, like the risen Phoenix, it appeared at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in August, 2010. The story put about on that occasion was that the Seydoux 57473 and the Berson 57473 had both been acquired for a Swiss-based collection and sent off to Mr. Russell in New Hampshire for what was to be an ambitious reunion resulting in enough 57473 between the two of them to recreate the car.

The story needn't be told again of the dissasterous encounter between it and a railcar, not a Bugatti railcar as ironists would have it, at an unguarded grade crossing near Gien, France in August, 1955. It is enough to say that the word invariably used to describe the condition of the car after the crash was "demolished."

The latest reincarnation is presented to look as it did just before the fatal crash in a lovely, subtle blue-gray. It is a gorgeous piece of work. Beyond that, many unknowns and many different standards come into play that enable many opinions to be voiced and debated.

With Atlantic 57374 sold this past Spring for $35 million, 57453 still missing and unaccounted for, and 57591 with Ralph Lauren, any discussion of 57473 can get pretty serious

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