1938 Atalanta Short Chassis news, pictures, and information
Coachwork: Abbots of Farnham
Chassis Num: 1011
Engine Num: 1009
|Sold for $258,500 at 2007 Gooding & Company.|
The outbreak of war and the steep price tags were reasons for the demise of the Atalanta marque. Their existence would continue, though production switched to making pumps; the company became known as Atalanta Engineering Ltd.
Alfred Gough designed an overhead camshaft engine to replace the 4ED Meadows. It had three valves, two sparks per cylinder, and twin-plug ignition. The engines soon generated a reputation for unreliability; Gough though better of his engines and with the assistance of Peter Crosby and Eric Scott from Specialloid Pistons, formed a new company. It was created to produce a Gough-designed car and the name of the company was from a well-known Frazer Nash TT Replica dubbed 'Atalanta.'
Financing for this new endeavour was from a variety of sources including racing driver Peter Whitehead, Dennis Poor, Miss Midge Wilby, and Tim Scott from Tim Birkins. Work began in a shed behind Dexter's Cafe on Staines High Street while new premises were being constructed on London Road.
Their line of vehicles including two-seat roadsters, two-liter Drop Head Coupes, Saloon, and Fixed Head Coupes. Power plants included both Gough and Lincoln Zephyr engines. The chassis were rather unique for a British car; Gough fitted them with a fully independent suspension that was very modern for its era. In an effort to keep weight to a minimum, lightweight exotic metals such as Hiduminium was used. Nearly all of the cars were bodied by Abbots of Farnham with the Bertelli Coupe being the lone exclusion.
This 1938 Atalanta Short Chassis is powered by a four-cylinder, single-overhead camshaft engine that displaces 1996cc. There are 16-inch Lockheed finned drum brakes and an independent suspension. It is painted in blue and was originally part of a three-car team by factory patron Miss Midge Wilby. The car was used in such events as the Scottish, RAC and Welsh Rallies. One of Wilby's cars was entered for the 1938 LeMans race but failed to finish due to an accident.
The car retains its original bodywork and running gear. During some period in its life the original Gough engine blew up. It was then fitted with a Bristol engine. Later in its life, one of its devoted owners was able to find an original Gough engine, number 1009 - only two numbers away from the original one, and had it installed in the long engine bay.
During the 1990s, TT Workshops was commissioned to rebuild the car with the cost soaring to $250,000. The work was rewarded with a class win at the Louis Vuitton Concours d'Elegance at the Hurlingham Club in 1997.
The car returned to the United States where it was used and shown regularly.
In 2007 it was brought to the Gooding & Company auction held in Pebble Beach, California and estimated to sell for $275,000 - $350,000. Those estimates proved nearly accurate, as the lot was sold for $258,500.
By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2008
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