Carbon updating

Interesting slant on marque revivals with the recent news that Atalanta, which built handsome sporting cars before WWII, is being restarted. Normally this sort of resuscitation involves pure replication, but in this case Martyn Corield, the man behind the wheel who owns original Atalantas, has chosen to use modern technology within a period outline. Which you might argue is appropriate, since Atalantas boasted advanced thinking, with adjustable damping, all-independent suspension, light

I chassis and epicyclic gearbox. They went and handled extremely well, but struggled with the under-developed Gough four-cylinder, and even a switch to a cheap, reliable Lincoln Zephyr V12 generated more road tests than sales. When war came Atalanta folded, with 21 cars built.

Corield tells me his new design copies the chassis rails but stiffens the structure with a composite sandwich, so unlike Morgan’s new carbon monococque hiding under a Plus 8 shape, this looks convincingly like traditional construction. Suspension sticks to the twin-trailing arms route back and front, but machined in alloy with coils in place of the horizontal rear springs. Similarly the vintage-look dash conceals modern electrics, and while the body is hand-built alloy on an ash frame, the timber patterns have been digitised and can be cut by machine. Like the original, the new car plumps for torque over revs with a US-sourced long-stroke four, packing variable valve timing and emissions equipment.

Is it a replica? Not exactly, but Corield clearly believes it can be better than that. Is it going to happen? Corield has built up a successful food company and was behind the project which got a Healey 100/4 up to 153mph, so he has a record. Finally, is it an Atalanta? There’s a 70-year gap, but Corield reckons his conception is “faithful to the core ideals”. And after all, the new Bugatti has damn-all to do with Molsheim…

Gordon Cruickshank