A virtual magazine for a true passion!

Editor: Jaap Horst

Volume 29 (2024), Issue 2

Construction of a concept car: the Bugatti T57 Gangloff coupe

At the beginning of the 2000s, we came up with an ambitious plan after a unique discovery in an old attic. We wanted to build the legendary design of house coach Gangloff, never realized before, for the first time on a Bugatti T57 chassis. A somewhat crazy project that ultimately became a true titanic work, cost more than 5,000 hours of work, but also led to a phenomenal result and earned us an international response. This is the story of our Bugatti T57 Gangloff Coupé.

How a great project emerged from a rusty chassis
About 20 years ago, one of our British acquaintances in the field of classic cars discovered the complete chassis, still in original condition, and some parts of a Bugatti T 57 from 1935 in the attic of an old industrial building. What was once a four-seater Bugatti had a Stelvio convertible body, at the time we learned of this discovery only the chassis, suspension, gearbox, steering wheel, dashboard instruments and radiator remained.

This discovery inspired us and made us think: why not be the first to restore the car with the legendary, aerodynamic and never made Gangloff bodywork instead of the famous convertible version? An ambitious project was born.

Several parties contributed to the restoration: our colleague and English classic car specialist Rod Jolley provided the ash wood load-bearing body frame and the aluminum sheet metal, we went looking for the original parts for the restoration or manufactured those parts ourselves if necessary. no longer found, Danish classic Bugatti engine specialist Eric Koux provided the correct type of engine that was only a few numbers away from the authentic engine. The complete assembly, coordination and therefore restoration of the project took place with us in Brussels, where the Bugatti gradually came to life.

We wilden dat alle aspecten van de wagen overeenstemden met de exacte filosofie van toen. Zonder authenticiteit, geen geslaagde restauratie!

Bernard Marreyt , Marreyt Classic Cars

As befits the restoration of a classic car, the complete (re)construction was done with the greatest respect for the soul and history of the car. That is to say: a completely historically correct restoration. The design of the frame and the leather upholstery of the seats, the decorative woodwork of the interior, the construction of the multiple layers of paint, the exact lie-de-fin, the almost black eggplant brown color, the large 19 inch spoke wheels... We wanted all aspects of the car to reflect the exact philosophy of the time.

No discussion possible, even if that meant that we had to invest around € 25,000 for the restoration of the authentic Bugatti radiator with thermostatic shutters alone... Without authenticity, no successful restoration!

A matter of details
The restoration not only took a lot of time and patience, but also required some creativity on our part. During the project we encountered a number of issues that are specific to the construction or restoration of an 85-year-old concept. For example, we had to take into account that drivers today have a larger build than in the 1930s. That's why we didn't mount the body directly to the chassis, but bolted it to the sides. We managed to create more height in the interior (between five and ten centimeters) without compromising the elegance of Gangloff's design.

We also had to solve certain details that had never occurred before because the car design had never reached this stage, such as inventing a mechanism for the "wind-up" side windows while taking into account the design of the body.

The Bugatti T57 Gangloff Coupé, a classic car that makes hearts beat faster
After five years of intensive work, the Bugatti T57 Gangloff Coupé was finally ready to be shown to the world. And if we say so ourselves, the result was and still is breathtaking. The car shows a beautiful harmony between the ingenious Bugatti mechanics and the elegant, aerodynamic sports body of Gangloff. An almost unreal piece of classic car history that we finally brought to life with the deepest respect for the designer's vision.

Our Bugatti T57 Gangloff ultimately turned out to be the calling card for Marreyt, but for us it is above all the ultimate fulfillment of our own classic car dream. And we are proud of that.

First Published on marreyt.com

This car, chassis "57132" is in fact the second Gangloff coupé (built to Gangloff design 4027- which had been drawn by Lucien Schlatter on June 19, 1939). The first one was built on a unused T101 chassis, and was given the (already existing) chassis number "57324". It was featured in the article on the Bagatelle classic car show in the very first issue of the Bugatti Revue, which appeared on April 1, 1996.

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