Historical Car Museum Hosts the Bugatti Type 57 Aerolithe – For the First Time in the World and Middle East
The Historical, Vintage & Classic Cars Museum in Kuwait revealed one of the rarest historic classic cars, a remake of the 1935 “Bugatti Type 57 Aerolithe” in a special exhibition that is available to public viewing, giving them an interesting opportunity to visit this special car for the first time in the Middle East.
Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Nasser Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, and His Excellency Sheikh Mubarak Al-Sabah Al-Salem Al Hamoud Al Sabah, a member of the Board of Trustees at the Museum, and Mr. Host Brunung – President of the International Federation of Historical Automobile (FIVA), and His Excellency Fabrizio Nicoletti Italian Ambassedore to Kuwait, and His Excellency the Russian Consul in Kuwait Mr. Sergei Alexeev. Also attended from United Stats of America, the owner of the car Mr. Christopher Ohrstrom, and Mr. David Grainger – GM of the Guild Automotive Restoration Company in Canada. And from the United Kingdom, Mr. Douglas Hogg – the young Designer of the future concept of the 2025 Aerolithe, and his father Mr. Phil Hogg. Also attended a number of Kuwait Car Dealers and Car Collectors and Museum members and Kuwait VIP’s.
The arrival to Kuwait of the legendary classic car which is the oldest in the history of luxury car making is part of the museum’s objectives of satisfying the desires of car lovers. The exhibition presents sports car enthusiasts an historic opportunity to get to know one of the fastest and oldest cars that was made back in the 1930s.
In addition, there will be also a display of the futuristic interpolation of the Aerolithe, from a concept design, done by Douglas Hogg in 2010 to resemble the Bugatti Aerolithe 2025 as a graduation project while he was studding at Coventry University in the United Kingdom. Also at display is a repainting of an original painting of the “Cream du la Ment” the Aerolithe original colour name, done by one of the Bugatti technician and given as a gift to Mr. Jean Bugatti, to show their appreciation to such a great car. This painting became the only evidence that gave us the true colour of the original car.
The car which was re-manufactured by a Canadian company, in the same original design and technical information and the craftsmanship of the Bugatti technicians while they build the original Aerolithe. They used all original Bugatti parts in the process with matching number, of chassis, engine, transmission, rear differential and some of the front axle. For nearly 10 years, the car’s re-creation has captured the attention of classic and historic car enthusiasts who remained watching with keen interest for the time of its launch, until it was announced it was debuting in Kuwait before anywhere else in the world.
The choice of Historical, Vintage & Classic cars Museum from all the museums in the world by the manufacturers for the debut launch of the car, attests to the importance and global position of the museum and an affirmation of the cooperation in partnership with the International Federation of Classic Cars – FIVA, which was confirmed after the museum’s several successes in the launch of specialized cars, most important of all was the “Kuwait Concours d’Elegance”, which is considered one of the most famous competitions in the auto world.
On this occasion, Mr. Mustafa Makhseed Manager of the Committees at the Historical, Vintage & Classic Cars Museum said “We are proud of what has been achieved by the Museum in hosting this huge event in the automotive world, and are very pleased especially with the confidence reposed in Kuwait to be the first country on the globe to showcase the reincarnated the “1935 Bugatti Type 57 Aerolithe”.
He stressed further that the exhibition is one of the many ways in which the museum satisfies the teaming numbers of historic and classic car enthusiasts in the country, adding that hosting of such high profile events will continue in the future. Makhseed noted that hosting the event is a great achievement for the museum since it was chosen from among many high profile museums in the world to host the event and adds to the long chain of achievements chalked since the museum’s inception.
Mr. Makhseed expressed his sincere thanks to His Highness Sheikh Nasser Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, for his continued support and sponsorship of the museum, which represents a monumental historic asset that places Kuwait among the ranks of countries with international car museums. He also thanked all those involved in organizing the event, especially Mr. Abdulaziz Ishaq member of the Board of Trustees for his great efforts and continues support and help to overcome all the challenges, and the distinct role played by the members of the Board of Trustees in the museum.
High International Appreciation
For his part, Eng Zakaria Dashti, Director of the Media Committee at the car Museum, said “The museum has been chosen from among the many international museums specializing in Classic and historic cars to be the first to witness the reveal of the 1935 Bugatti Type 57 Aerolithe. He added that the selection of Kuwait as the first point from which the car is showcased to the world is a great achievement and a huge expression of confidence that attests to the prestige enjoyed by Kuwait as a center for classic cars in the Middle East. He also noted that the month-long automobile show event is not just a regional but a world level event.
He pointed out that this position achieved by the historic and classic cars Museum in Kuwait came as a product of years of continuous hard work in addition to the museum’s success in hosting major unique events in the world, including the “Kuwait Concurs d’Elegance” which had excellent feedback in terms of organization and preparation.
Dashti expressed his pride in the museum’s achievements, saying that those successes collectively have put it firmly on the world map of classic cars, which rightly confers on it the Classic Car Center of the Middle East. Additionally, the museum was also able to communicate with an audience of car enthusiasts in Kuwait and the region, until it became well known as a go-to place for updates in the auto world.
He stressed that the museum present this event for car lovers in Kuwait and the Gulf states, as well as the world, as an opportunity to visit and see this legendary car that is showcased for the first time during the period from 13 May to 15 June 2013 to learn about its long history as well as see the version of the model for the design of the modern concept version of Bugatti Type 57 Aerolithe car, which was carried out by the young car designer Douglas Hogg.
The Aerolithe (or Electron coupe as it was also known) was a one off prototype designed by Ettore’s son Jean for the 1935 Paris motor show. It was a quantum leap forward in styling, aerodynamics and engineering from anything that had come before and was the undoubted star of the show.
It featured superlight magnesium bodywork – a first at the time. The famous riveted construction that was used in aerospace was because of the great difficulty in using magnesium – it is difficult to weld as it can catch fire easily and it is extremely difficult to work to shape. The Aerolithe went on to star at the London Motor Show later in 1936, but then mysteriously disappeared off the face of the earth. To this day, no one knows for sure what happened to it.
In 1936 Bugatti presented the legendry Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic, the production version of the Aerolithe, but it was not build from Magnesium due of all the difficulties and problems involve, it was made form aluminum, but kept the famous riveted construction to resemble what was so unique about the Aerolithe. Only four Atlantices have ever been made into production, only three remains known today. One have been sold at auction at 40 Million US dollars, making it the World Most Expensive Car.
After 78 years, a company in Canada called ‘the Guild of Automotive Restorers’ has been working on building the Aerolithe. They have worked on many other projects but this one was the most important. They kept it original and faithful to what is known of the original – which is not a lot! Around eleven black and white photographs of the original car from Paris and London Motorshows and some stories from Bugatti enthusiasts is all what there is to be known to have existed. After huge research and collecting of information, they managed to build the car in the same exact specifications and craftsmanship that the Bugatti technician used in building the Aerolithe, the most important and challenging decision was using Magnesium to build it just like the original Aerolithe in 1935.
To construct it, the restoration team had to learn to handle dangerous magnesium. The team had spent a long time determining which period-correct alloy to use; in the end, the appropriate metal turned out to be much more difficult to shape than more modern mixes. Color was a key question for the team as all existing photos were black-and-white. However, a painting of the car existed, and by comparing this with other Bugatti colors, the original paint shade was identified.
Even finding tires required extra effort. The photographs of the car at its only Motor Show appearance displayed it shod on Dunlop Balloon whitewall tires. Nothing suitable could be found, so the tires were custom fabricated after long but successful negotiations with the owners of the Dunlop trademarks. From start to finish, the research, planning and execution of the Aerolithe build took five years of trial and error.
Bugatti Aerolithe 2025
In early 2010, a young car designer, Douglas Hogg, started work on the futuristic design of the Bugatti as his Graduation Project at the University Of Coventry, England. He worked on a concept model of imaginative design of the car with the help of his father Philip Hogg.
Inspired by the style of founder of Bugatti Mr. Ettore Bugatti, as he used in various possible ways in order to reach perfection. Hogg suggested that the concept would be a 2025 year car and it would be the fastest and lightest car around the world.
For those wishing to enjoy viewing the car and the rest of the exhibits in the museum, please visit the museum during the official working hours in the showroom from 8am to 8pm at the museum’s headquarters in Shuwaikh Industrial Area 1, Block 1, Street 7, Building 48. Tel: 24819186 – Fax: 24824037. – Free admission
Eng. Zakaria Dashti
Historical, Vintage and Classic Car Museum of Kuwait
Source: Historical, Vintage & Classic Cars Museum of Kuwait