The Galibier was named after a mountain pass on the French side of the Alps. It was the most sedate model within the Type 57 range, a 4-door 4-seater sedan with conservative looks in the Bugatti tradition. With the coach Ventoux and cabriolet Stelvio the berline Galibier formed the backbone of the Type 57 range and was made in three consecutive series. This body style was only available on the standard chassis.
The first series, like you see here, appeared even rather old fashioned, quite a contrast to the rest of the range. Distinctive features of the Galibier were the lack of doorpillars between the front and rear doors, which opened in opposite directions to create a very wide entrance, and the separate trunk at the back. In front there were the thermostatically operated radiator blinds, standard for all Type 57 cars.
The Galibier sedan was one of the first models to appear on the Type 57 chassis in 1934. The first series of the Type 57 ran from 1934 till 1936 and showed a remarkable combination of advanced engineering and conservative solutions. Advanced were the extensive use of aluminum, the double-overhead camshafts on the engine, the crank with 6 (friction) bearings, a dry single plate clutch and a 4-speed gearbox integrated with the bell-house of the engine with the top 3 speeds synchronized. Very conservative however were the solid front and rear axles, the elliptical springs and, certainly for such a powerful car, the cable operated drum brakes.
Later Galibier models looked more modern with skirted fenders, integrated trunk and more flowing lines in general. The body of this Galibier wasn't built in France but in Switzerland by coach builder Graber. External coach builders however often followed the style of the original Bugatti designs.
The second series of the Type 57 ran from 1937 till 1938 and showed a number of changes: the engine was now mounted in rubber to silence vibrations; the camshafts, valve guides, crank casing and exhaust manifolds were improved and adapted for mounting a (Roots) compressor; the chassis was reinforced and the dashboard instruments were elaborated. Galibiers appeared even more modern during the late 1930s with fastback and streamlined styling and front and rear doors hinged on doorpillars, where the front doors opened backwards (so-called "suicide doors").
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