Off the blocks

Cars you thought you'd never see again: Attila Mk3

Hardly seen since Mark Hales raced it with some success in the 1980s. the Attila Mk3 is back racing. It's being readied for a season in the Gentlemen Drivers' sports-racing series in 2005 in the hands of its new owners Charles Cook and Allan Ross-Jones.

Just six Attilas were designed by Val Dare-Bryan in the early 1960s. This 64 example is a short-wheelbase rear-engined car fitted with a 5-litre Chevrolet. Tony Lanfranchi was one of the notable drivers to race the rather tricky Mk3 in period.

The car surfaced again in 2000. when Howard Culley acquired it and had a major restoration done, but he raced it only once before Cook and Ross-Jones bought it a year ago. Since then, a series of teething troubles have kept it away from the tracks. But. said Cook, "All the big work had been done. It's quite an advanced car for its era, with inboard front suspension."

Recent dramas include overheating and a stripped crown-wheel and pinion.

"It runs an LG500 gearbox and it took some time to find a new CWP," said Cook. "It's a hell of a beast and it concentrates the mind wonderfully." He's seen 160mph at Snetterton.

One other Attila is known to reside in France. but Mk3 is thought to be the only one racing at present.

Dare-Bryan. who worked with Colin Chapman on designs like the Lotus 18. has been to see it testing this year.