Last week, in the shadow of the Geneva Motor Show, a pre-war British sports car marque, Atalanta, was relaunched at London's Royal Automobile Club. The unveiling of a new Atalanta car took place on 5 March 2012, exactly 75 years to the day after the original car of the same name was first shown to the public.
The new car, the Atalanta Sports Tourer, retains the style of the original, but in the interests of improved safety and performance, incorporates modern technology where appropriate. Previous standards of craftsmanship have been retained though; the bodywork is hand crafted from aluminium and mounted on an ash frame, while some 85% of the parts are unique to the Atalanta. One aspect of the design is the retention of tall, narrow tyres, which should play an important part in giving the car the right look and feel.
In their day, the early Atalantas claimed a number of technical firsts. Autocar, for example, reckoned the Atalanta was the only normal production car built in the UK that had all-round independent suspension. Other notable features for the time were adjustable dampers, fully hydraulic brakes and multi-valve, twin-spark cylinder heads, as well as extensive use of lightweight materials.
The project to revive the Atalanta is the work of enthusiast Martyn Corfield and car restorer Trevor Farrington. Only twenty-one of the original line of Atalantas were built before production was interrupted by the onset of war in 1939, never to restart. The reborn 2012 model will probably be just as exclusive; what are being described as 'limited commissions' are being taken, and each car will be built to the precise specification of its buyer.