Bugatti 57sc Atlantique [1937]
Credit: Richard Bord / Getty Images

Number made: 3 or 4
What one will cost you: More than you have
Horsepower: 240 (est.)
Engine: Supercharged 3.3 liter, twin-cam inline 8
Top speed: 125 mph
0-60 mph: n/a

History: Ettore Bugatti's Type 57SC Atlantique, which was actually designed by his son Jean, perfectly fused the family's congenital artistry with the father's unique profligacy. Ettore was a Milanese artist's son given to big-money outlandishness – châteaux, thoroughbred horses – and yet he entered car design with an artist's credo. He said, "A technical creation can only be perfect if it is perfect from the point of view of aesthetics."

Design: Bugatti intended to make the Atlantique coupe out of magnesium. When that material proved too difficult to manipulate, he used aluminum to cloak this dark menace. The raised seams and rivets that hold the streamlined Atlantique together may be aesthetic leftovers from magnesium construction techniques, but they serve to reinforce the car's machine age origins. The shape itself, with its swept-back fenders and squat rear end, is pure high-speed gentleman's express, a statement of individuality for those living beyond society's constraints.