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Wednesday, March 10, 2021

One off Bugatti 57C Shah of Iran

As we all know that the Bugatti Automobiles SAS was a French car manufacturer of high-performance automobiles, founded in 1909 in Molsheim by the Italian-born industrial designer Ettore Bugatti. Those French company-made cars were known for their design beauty and their many race victories.
1939 Bugatti 57C Shah of Iran was a two-seater cabriolet of substantial proportion and extravagant art-deco styles, is commissioned by French government as a wedding gift to the Prince Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the soon-to-be Shah of Iran at the time. (Picture from: Tehran Times)
The famous classic Bugatti models include the Type 35 Grand Prix cars, the Type 41 "Royale", the Type 57 "Atlantic", the Type 55 sports cars, and many other. And among these models, many of which are then sent to the famous coachbuilder to be built according to the wishes of its wealthy owner.

After some time ago we discused about the Bugatti Brown which was built by an Anglo-French artist named James-Jacques Brown. Well, this following classic car is no less beautiful to the Bugatti Brown mentioned above and uniquely, it's built using the legendary Bugatti Type 57C chassis as well.
1939 Bugatti 57C Shah of Iran is bodied by the Carrosserie Vanvooren of Paris in the Figoni et Falaschi bodywork dramatic style. (Picture from: Supercars)
As mentioned before, this classic car later known as the Bugatti 57C Shah of Iran is not entirely made by those French automotive manufacturer, if usually the unique and beautiful cars such these  were commissioned by millionaires in person, but it was different thing happened on this one-off car.

This car was commissioned by the French government in the 1939 as a wedding gift to the Prince Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the soon-to-be Shah of Iran at the time (and reigned the throne in the 1941). In the time the French government wanted to create one of the most luxurious cars to come from their country, so the Bugatti Automobiles and Carrosserie Vanvooren were chosen to realize.
1939 Bugatti 57C Shah of Iran has several unusual features such a very short windscreen which could be wound down into the bulkhead and a disappearing top which was concealed by a panel behind the interior. (Picture from: Pinterest)
For the project, Bugatti contributed its finest of Type 57C chassis and the Van Vooren of Paris, one of the most progressive coachbuilders of the day is built its dramatic body in the style of Figoni et Falaschi. As the result was a two-seater cabriolet of substantial proportion and extravagant art-deco styles.

It could be seen on the car, there're several unusual features such a very short windscreen which could be wound down into the bulkhead and a disappearing top which was concealed by a panel behind the interior. While from its 324 cc supercharger Bugatti's engine able to spew an impressive power of 175 horsepower.
1939 Bugatti 57C Shah of Iran uses a 324 cc supercharger Bugatti's engine able to spew an impressive power of 175 horsepower. (Picture from: FavCars.com)
Reportedly (widely circulated in the media), due to the low quality of roads in Iran at that time, this car was rarely used by the owner. Until one day, there was political upheaval which led to the overthrow of the Shah of Iran by a movement led by Ayatullah Khomeini in 1979, this one-off car was almost scrapped, and the new Iranian government then sold it for a very cheap price.

However, the news is denied by the current Iranian government as quoted of the Tehran Times on May 20, 2020, which writes that the car belonged of the last Shah of Iran has been out of the country since 1959, when a man named Houshang Jalili paid 2,000 rials ($275) to own the second-hand, abandoned Bugatti.
The magnificent 1939 Bugatti Type 57C was given to the Shah of Iran as a wedding present and now resides in the Petersen Museum. (Picture from: RevInstitute)
Despite all the controversy, and afterwards not been in the Iranian soil, the car has changed owners many times among Bugatti enthusiasts. And before being sent to England to be overhauled or completely rebuilt by Rod Jolly Coachbuilding and Louis Giron, this car had heavily butchered to accommodate an American V8.

One of the interesting things about the car is the preservation of the Iranian plate number which off course different of its first plate number during the ownership of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, but somehow it's a symbol to describe its historical roots connected to Iran. 
After the restoration, the Bugatti Shah of Iran auctioned for the US. $1,760,000 and has since changed owners several times. Currently, the car has a good shelter at the Petersen Museum in California alongside some other of the world's most important cars. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | SUPERCARS | TEHRANTIMES | ]
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