Page last updated at 15:00 GMT, Thursday, 1 January 2009

Car worth 3m is found in garage

Bugatti Type 57S
The 1937 Bugatti gathered dust in a garage for 47 years. Pic Bonhams

A classic Bugatti car, which gathered dust in a Tyneside garage for almost 50 years, may fetch up to 3m ($4.35m) when it goes under the hammer.

Relatives of reclusive Newcastle doctor Harold Carr found the 1937 Type 57S Atalante in a garage after he died.

Now the classic car, thought to be one of just 17 built, is to be sold by Bonhams in Paris next month.

It was originally owned by Earl Howe - first president of the British Racing Drivers' Club.

Dr Carr, a former army surgeon, left the contents of a lock-up garage to his family when he died in 2007.

As well as the Bugatti, his nephew also discovered a classic Aston Martin, and a Jaguar E-type in the lock-up.

The nephew, an engineer from Newcastle, said: "We just can't believe it.

"Of course we're delighted and we're going to make sure the money is shared out among the family. It's a wonderful thing to leave."

Bugatti Type 57S
Only 17 Bugatti Type 57S Atalantes were built. Pic Bonhams

Earl Howe took delivery of the sporty two-seat Atalante after it was completed in 1937 and kept the car for eight years.

After Earl Howe sold it, it changed hands a couple of times before Dr Carr bought the car in 1955 from Lord Ridley, a member of the Northumberland gentry.

He drove the car for the first few years, but in 1960 it was parked in his garage where it remained until his death.

James Knight, international head of Bonhams' motoring department, said: "I have known of this Bugatti for a number of years and, like a select group of others, hadn't dared divulge its whereabouts to anyone.

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"It is absolutely one of the last great barn discoveries.

"The Atalante is incredibly original and, although she requires restoration, it is 'restoration' in the true sense of the word.

"It offers a truly rewarding project to the new owner - who will join a select list of distinguished owners - to play such an integral part in bringing this wonderful motor car back to life."

The car has a remarkably low mileage with an odometer reading of just 26,284.

The Bugatti 57S is a highly coveted car by collectors, with at least four thought to belong to the Musee Nationale de L'Automobile in Mulhouse, France.

Others remain in the hands of private collectors.



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