We’ve waited a while for some facelifts in the past, but this is ridiculous.
Autocar first drove an Atalanta not long after the company was first formed in 1936. We liked it.
It was nicely put together, good to drive and advanced. It had fully independent, coil-sprung suspension, a pre-selector gearbox, hydraulic brakes and a three-valve, twin-spark cylinder head, meaning it made a strong 78bhp from its 1.5-litre four-cylinder aluminium engine.
Later, a 4.3-litre V12 version was introduced, before Atalanta Motors went quiet. A total of 22 cars had been built, of which only seven survive.
Today, 79 years on, here’s the replacement, the brainchild of Martyn Corfield, Atalanta enthusiast and the man who wants to revive the marque. It’s almost ready. But before I get to drive it, there is a slight delay, explained by the fact that Corfield has had an issue with a supplied part. “He strives for perfection,” I’m told, which can be a worry because that can be a precursor to never getting near a car. But after a few days it’s sorted. And I’ll level with you from the off: this new Atalanta is great.
I know what you’re thinking, because I think the same. How the heck do you make a car like this and expect to make any money? I suspect the short answer is: don’t. Corfield owns other businesses, and so long as this Atalanta wipes its feet, he’ll be happy. There may be other Atalantas in the future. But in the meantime, up to 12 a year will be built, and that’s all that matters.
Externally, the reborn Atalanta has the same dimensions as the original car. And they’re pretty ones, aren’t they? Construction is similar, too, with an exquisitely made aluminium body over an ash wood frame, and outer chassis rails that follow the same silhouette as the original. Beyond that, mind, there are differences: the floor, which is made from expanded polypropylene, is lower than that of the original, in order to improve the packaging of the seats – because today’s drivers tend to be bigger.