Atalanta marque to be reborn

| 15 Nov 2011

One of Britain’s most innovative pre-war marques is set to be revived next year when a retro-styled Atalanta prototype is unveiled.Staffordshire-based businessman Martyn Corfield – who set a raft of speed records in an Austin-Healey 100 in 2009 – is planning to launch a modern car inspired by Atalanta’s 1938 Le Mans entry (below, which Corfield owns) after acquiring the rights to the Staines-based company’s name.

Exact details of the new model have yet to be confirmed, but Corfield told C&SC that it will be powered by a mainstream 2-litre four-cylinder engine and feature traditional ally-over-ash frame coachwork. “It will reflect as much of the ethos of the original design as is possible under existing legislation,” said Corfield who also plans to offer both supercharged and non-supercharged versions, as the company did in period.The retro approach won’t extend to the chassis, however, because Corfield plans to use modern materials to ensure rigidity. He said: “Atalanta changed the design of the chassis to increase rigidity and we’re planning on improving its torsional stiffness even further with special foam-filled aluminium sections that will look identical to the original construction, but will be inherently much stronger."The original Atalanta was a short-lived marque that produced only 21 cars – boasting either four-cylinder and V12 engine options – in a roadster, coupé and drophead coupé style, all featuring independent coil-sprung suspension all round, which gave the marque a reputation for excellent road-holding.Corfield is aiming to reveal the prototype next spring, 75 years after the marque was created. “The name Atalanta was inspired by an Arcadian huntress in Greek mythology so it’s fitting to relaunch the badge in an Olympic year,” added Corfield, who reckons the marque never got the chance to benefit from its leading-edge thinking.“They were seriously innovative for their day, it’s just a pity that WW2 interrupted the development of what could’ve become a great product.”