$5mm Re-creation Stems from Perhaps the Greatest Car Mystery of All Time

1935 Bugatti Aerolithe by David Grainger
The historic ‘1-of-1’ re-creation of the 1935 Bugatti Aerolithe by David Grainger and his team at The Guild of Automotive Restoration in Bradford, Ontario, Canada – and will be on display October 19-20 at the Atlanta Concours. Chassis #57104 took all cues from only 11 original photographs and was a seven-year project to complete – becoming a global restoration sensation, having utilized the very same standards and coachbuilding techniques used in the 1930s.

ATLANTA – July 9, 2019 — When David Grainger, Bugatti expert and owner of The Guild of Automotive Restoration in Bradford, Ontario, Canada was commissioned to re-create one of the most famous pre-war European vehicles ever to exist, he was determined to take history to a new level and both Grainger, and his Bugatti Aerolithe Type 57, will again make history this October when the one-of-one handcrafted art deco vehicle is displayed on the field of one of the most historic spots in Atlanta – the original Fort McPherson Army base — now home to Tyler Perry Studios, and for 2019, the new home for the Atlanta Concours d’Elegance.

“With embellishment comes art,” said Grainger, referring to the magnificent artistry he and his team created during a seven-year process of building the all-new, yet period correct, Aerolithe.  “We had the original chassis, #57104, along with the original 3.3-liter, 8-cylinder DOHC engine and its perfect rear axle,” continued Grainger.  However the vehicle lacked a body and the team at the Guild had only 11 photographs to go on to create the same perfection of its original predecessor — one that had been shown at only one auto show in Paris in 1935, taken to one show and on one road test in the UK, never sold by the factory – and as legend states — never to be seen again.

According to Grainger, the Type 57 was the ‘car that started it all’ but became the greatest automotive mystery of all time.  After it vanished, Bugatti used the prototype’s unique features as the pre-cursor to the legendary Atlantics, and European coachbuilders took on its styling cues and curves to update their own design direction — but nothing matched the exquisite beauty of Aerolithe’s sensual teardrop fenders and coupe and overall chassis design. 

Grainger’s re-creation was built to perfection, utilizing the very same standards and coachbuilding techniques originally used in the 1930s.  And thanks to Chris Ohrstrom, the very patient and exemplary patron of the project, Grainger was indeed able to move forward.  “We were charged with the inability to use modern day technology, tools or materials such as carbon fiber, and instead relegated to what would have been the strongest material of that timeframe – magnesium,” said Grainger.  Lightweight but increasingly hard to work with, magnesium was only one of the many challenges the project entailed noted Grainger. “We had to duplicate something you just can’t see – and that was the greatest challenge of all.”

With no modern processes or conveniences to be utilized, the Aerolithe project became a fastidious, research-driven venture and marked one of the most innovative re-creations by any restoration house or manufacturer to date. In addition to the bodywork, the artisan approach was incorporated into all phases of the interior, including the center-aligned Jaeger instrumentation panel, and the beautiful, yet remarkably simple green leather seats.

When approached by the Atlanta Concours to display, Grainger found a perfect fit based on the show’s reputation for innovative program elements and unique collections as well as a highly regarded team that for 2019 will include honorary judges Ed Gilbertson and Ken Gross.

Now in its fourth year, the Atlanta Concours gains increased global recognition with the showing of Aerolithe, which has been selectively displayed at world renown venues including Amelia Island; The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering; Kuwait Museum; and several prestigious art galleries.  Additionally, to further promote the upcoming Atlanta event, Aerolithe and Grainger will be featured within a full segment on ‘Jay Leno’s Garage,’ where Jay became the first and only individual to ever drive the re-created model on the road.

A selection of high resolution Aerolithe photography can be viewed: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/kx4dkvixd2b1ds9/AADPv2_vPkAGFqnYlx1W1Hxga?dl=0

Other responsibilities for Grainger during the Atlanta Concours weekend will include his role as a celebrity judge during Saturday’s ‘Cars and Classics Invitational,’ where only 200 cars will be pre-selected to partake on the parade field, with models ranging from 1900-1970. 

He will also be the head judge for the day’s Magnificent Seven competition — a highlight which debuted in 2017, drawing a total of 14 winners from these 200 vehicles, creating two specific groups of seven stand-out vehicles that will be invited to return on Sunday to be displayed within their own class among the field of spectacular concours vehicles.  One ‘Magnificent Seven’ class will remain the ‘best seven’ overall from Saturday’s field, with an addition this year of a second group offering the ‘best seven’ preservation/survivor cars. 

Grainger’s keen restoration and historic automotive knowledge is a given, based on his long-standing as host for top-rated ‘Restoration Garage,’ now in its fifth year on Motor Trend TV.

Bill Wallet, co-chairman for the Atlanta Concours, is excited for the opportunity to bring a world-class car like the Aerolithe to his growing show. “From the very beginning, we have sought to produce a show of innovation coupled with historic value – and the Aerolith is a very special example of both.”

General admission and VIP tickets for the Atlanta Concours, October 19-20, 2019, can be purchased on line at www.atlantaconcours.org/2019-tickets/  – with discounts applied if purchased before August 30th.

ABOUT THE ATLANTA CONCOURS:

Founded by CEO and Co-Chairman Bill Wallet and Co-Chairman Harry Krix, the Atlanta Concours d’Elegance is the first premier Concours automotive event to grace the metropolitan Atlanta region and will include more than 180 vintage and collectible entrant vehicles on Sunday, as well as approximately 200 rare and high-interest privately owned automobiles on display Saturday. Wallet and Krix are lifelong friends and business associates who joined together four years ago to realize their dream of producing a major classic automobile event such as the Concours d’Elegance for the Atlanta community.

1935 Bugatti Aerolithe interior
The center-aligned Jaeger instrumentation panel complements the beautiful, yet remarkably simple, green leather interior of the re-created 1935 Bugatti Aerolithe, which heads to the southeast October 19-20 for the Atlanta Concours at Tyler Perry Studios near downtown Atlanta.
1935 Bugatti Aerolithe rear
Unique features of the beautiful re-created 1935 Bugatti Aerolithe include a full lightweight magnesium body, skillfully crafted by the team at The Guild of Automotive Restoration in Bradford, Ontario, Canada – lead by David Grainger, host of top-rated ‘Restoration Garage’ on Motor Trend TV. Grainger will be bringing the $5mm re-created Aerolithe to the Atlanta Concours, October 19-20, as an example that blends innovation with historic value.
1935 Bugatti Aerolithe engine
The original 3.3-liter, 8-clinder DOHC engine is one of four original components that retain the authenticity of David Grainger’s 1935 Bugatti Aerolithe historic $5mm re-creation, which will be on display October 19-20 at the Atlanta Concours d’Elegance

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All information can be found at www.atlantaconcours.org

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