1937 Atalanta 2-Litre Sports

1937 Atalanta 2-Litre Sports

A short-lived but highly regarded manufacturer, Atalanta Motors of Staines, Middlesex was the brainchild of Alfred Gough, designer of the overhead-camshaft Frazer Nash engine. Gough was joined in his new venture by another ex-FN employee, draughtsman Peter Crosby, while financial backing came principally from undergraduates Peter Whitehead and Neil Watson, the former a future Le Mans winner and the latter heir to the Burma Oils fortune. Other luminaries of the British Motor industry that played a part in the Atalanta story include Wally Hamill (Dunlop and Morris); Eric Scott (Specialoid pistons); A C Bertelli (ex-Aston Martin); and Dennis Poore (Manganese Bronze Holdings and Norton Villiers Triumph).

Founded in 1937, the firm specialised in hand built sports cars of advanced design; the exclusive and expensive Atalantas being unique among British cars of their day in featuring all-independent coil-sprung suspension. The channel-section steel chassis was a substantial, X-braced affair, while the use of Hiduminium alloy for the suspension links and Elektron magnesium alloy for the huge (16"-diameter) Lockheed hydraulically operated brake drums helped keep un-sprung weight to a minimum.

Gough four-cylinder engines powered the majority of Atalantas, not that there were many; indeed, it is estimated that no more than 20 cars of all types were built. The Gough engine was available in two capacities: 1.6 (78bhp) and 2.0 litres (98bhp), while in 1938 the company added a Lincoln Zephyr V12-powered 4.3-litre model to the range. Whatever the engine, the Atlanta's performance was excellent, thanks in no small part to its lightweight construction, and many of the cars enjoyed successful competition careers. Most were bodied by Atalanta's neighbours, E D Abbott of Farnham. Sadly, the outbreak of WW2 curtailed development of these exciting designs, and the Atalanta marque was not revived after the war's end. Survivors are exceedingly rare.

This car is one of only two short-chassis models.

Descriptions & pictures by bonhams & auta5p

Production Start 1937
Country of origin Great Britain