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Atalanta brand revival

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13th March, 2012

On Monday 5th March 2012 the clock was turned back 75 years at the Royal Automobile Club in London (England) when a new British made Atalanta sports car was launched.

The Atalanta Sports Tourer revives a design that was first shown to the public on 5th March 1937 and is the result, so far, from a joint venture between Staffordshire-based motoring enthusiast, Martyn Corfield and Cheshire based restorer Trevor Farrington.

John Surtees OBE, the only World Champion on both two and four wheels, complimented saying: "It is nice to see that enthusiasts still exist and are willing to put their heart and resources into such a project as the Atalanta."

Speaking at the launch, Corfield outlined the history of the marque and highlighted some of the many innovative technical features of the original Atalanta models. The company's aim was 'to fulfil the exacting requirements of professional and amateur drivers on both road and track'. (copyright image)

In reviving the Atalanta, modern technology has been used to enhance performance and safety while the 1930s English sports car style has been retained; as have tall, narrow tyres (for good driver 'feel' and ride comfort) and all components are new, with more than 85 per cent being unique to Atalanta’s design (castings, stub axles, springs, steering system and so on), all sensitively packaged within traditional hand-crafted aluminium over ash coach built structure.

Corfield said: "Our aim at Atalanta Motors is to reproduce the positive and enjoyable characteristics of vintage motoring in a reliable and usable manner that is relevant to today’s driving environment. The new Atalanta gives a stylish, exhilarating drive with easily accessible performance and a comfortable ride with engaging handling which delivers driver satisfaction even at modest speeds. Atalanta is about style, innovation and performance."

When the original Atalanta was unveiled 75 years ago it received many favourable reviews, such as the one following:

There is an individuality of both appearance and design in the Atalanta, a hand-built limited-production machine, which is establishing itself as a new make. An immediate point of interest is that it is the only normal production car at present built in this country with all four wheels sprung independently. Autocar April 1939

Only seven of the original Atalanta’s still exist, of which four are in running order. Four owners of the 1930s models were present at the launch of the revived car, including Sarah and Barry Ward, who said afterwards: "We both thought the car was fabulous and the colour combination was very striking and we like it very much. The finish looked very good, the dashboard looked modern and classic all at the same time as did the wheels, which are very attractive. There is nothing else like it and you have all done a wonderful job."

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Rory Watson, the son of Neil Watson one of the founders of Atalanta Motors in the 1930s, helped Martyn Corfield unveil the new car. He said: "It was an emotional experience. I never thought that something my father helped create all those years ago would be revived with this new Atalanta. I'm sure my father would be very proud of what Martyn Corfield and his team have achieved."

Limited commissions for the 2012 Atalanta 'Revival' are being taken and each will be built to an individual specification as a unique vehicle.

About the original Atalanta

Established in December 1936 and based in Staines Middlesex, Atalanta Motors announced its first car on 5th March 1937. It was the only pre-war British car manufacturer that instigated and brought together innovative design features which included:

  • fully independent coil spring suspension
  • adjustable damping front and rear
  • fully hydraulic brakes
  • electrically operated magnetic epicyclical gearbox (an early form of semi-automatic gearbox)
  • multi-valve, twin-spark cylinder heads
  • selective engagement of a supercharger and
  • extensive use of lightweight materials such as electron, duralumin and hiduminium alloy for many of the castings.

Atalanta cars were available in a variety of configurations, including:

  • an open two-seat sports car
  • a two-seat sports tourer
  • a two-door fixed-head coupe
  • a luxury two-door saloon and
  • a two-door drop head coupe.

Only 21 cars were produced before the outbreak of war in 1939. The war forced the demise of the company.

Martyn Corfield has been a lifelong enthusiast of motor vehicles including those from the Edwardian, vintage and post-vintage eras. In 2007, Corfield undertook a demanding project to make a replica of the 1954 Austin Healey 100/4 Bonneville record car, following continuous development and testing Corfield used the car to break several UK and international speed records at Millbrook in 2009.

Following his initial acquisition of the 1938 Atalanta works Le Mans car, Corfield thoroughly research the history of the company and purchased several more cars – which led to his passion to revive the marque.

Trevor Farrington has been restoring vintage cars and preparing historic race cars from his base in Cheshire for over 25 years and is currently actively involved in the development of the Atalanta Revival motor car. The owner of an interesting Atalanta monoposto, Farrington also shares his motoring interests with historic motor cycle racing where he has become a passionate and accomplished competitor.


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