On Monday 5 March 2012 the clock was turned back exactly 75 years at the Royal Automobile Club 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 5 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’.
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 percent 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 these below.
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
The performance is terrific, and this is backed up by superlative road holding and cornering. The Atalanta went round bends at 80 mph as though it was on rails. I wouldn’t mind betting that you have never been along a road faster before – this was undoubtedly the case. Motorsport March 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.”
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.