When using the Kingston Bypass I used to call in at the HRG works (Halford, Robins & Godfrey) to collect a road-test HRG, or the Alta factory (Jeffery Taylor) to see what Alta was doing. On one occasion Taylor told me that he was building engines for light aeroplanes, and as he knew that I had had articles in The Aeroplane he asked if I would mention his new project there.
He gave me its specification as 60hp at 1200rpm. I duly wrote my piece which was published and The Aeroplane wanted a photograph of the engine. It transpired that it had never been built, which was a let-down for me…
I remember the Alta as having the most alluring specification of any of the small-capacity sports cars available before World War II. One could hardly lack interest in a specification embracing a power unit with an alloy cylinder block, twin overhead camshafts, inclined valves in a hemispherical orientation and an external exhaust system with four separate pipes.
The 2-litre sports version was claimed to do 85mph, and in supercharged form 110mph. Taylor was only faintly interested in road cars, despite a production run from 1931 to the late 1940s when a 2-litre saloon eventually became available. But he supported all aspects of competition and by 1934 could claim the record for the Brooklands Mountain Circuit, his driver A J Cormack, the speed for the circuit with its two difficult 90-degree corners being 73.56mph.