1932 Alta 1.5-Litre Supercharged Sports.
"The name of Alta may not have the aura of ERA, Maserati, Bugatti or Alfa Romeo, but nonetheless it holds an important
niche in the history of British motor racing and was the result of the endeavours of one man." - Denis Jenkinson, Motor Sport.
The late Geoffrey Taylor was a small specialist manufacturer with a difference. Where others concocted hybrids from proprietary bits and pieces, he not only designed but also made every part of the Alta sports and competition models, even down to superchargers. The little Alta factory near the Kingston by-pass (only demolished in the early 1960s) was largely put up with his own hands.
Completed in 1929, Taylor's first Alta was a 1,074cc sports car. The Alta engine featured cast-iron wet liners, twin overhead camshafts with vertical shaft/skew gear drive, hemispherical combustion chambers, and Nitralloy steel crankshafts, making it one of the more advanced designs of the day. Engines were available in supercharged and un-blown form, producing 76 or 49bhp respectively. Lightness and low build were two of Taylor's objectives, so the frame was under-slung, and even the little 1100s wore 13" brake drums. It is estimated that 13 cars were made, of which it is believed five survive. Taylor was keen to give the impression that his cars were being built in significant numbers, and thus the chassis numbers are not an accurate guide to the actual number of cars completed.
According to the information in the history file, this Alta, chassis number '16', was, in fact, only the sixth built and was originally supplied to a Mr R A Gardiner. Originally registered as 'KJ 8421' and painted black with red upholstery, chassis number '16' was the first of a limited series of open four-seaters. It was later converted by the works to its present two-seater configuration with pointed tail, reregistered and repainted with the original colour scheme reversed. It is believed that by 1934 ownership had passed to Douglas L Briault, and both he and J H Bartlett competed in the Alta at Brooklands on a number of occasions between 1934 and 1937. On 23rd June 1934 the Alta was a finisher in the BARC British Empire 300-mile race, and on 14th March 1936 won the second handicap race at the BARC meeting.
Descriptions & pictures by bonhams
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