Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff


YESTERDAY, THE VIRGIN huntress Atalanta held center stage. Today in Part 2, automobiles profit from the etymological origin of Atalanta: αταλαντοσ, Greek for “unswaying” or “equal in weight”

Atalanta, the British Classic Car. Atalanta has appeared as a marque name for several British cars, fleetingly. For example, Atalanta Motors Ltd. produced automobiles between 1937 and 1939, albeit only 22 of them, with no two built to the same specification.

Image originally in The Autocar, March 5, 1937, from

Typically, Atalantas all had the rarity of independent coil-spring suspension, front and rear. The front coils were vertical, not unlike modern practice. The rears were horizontally aligned longitudinally.

Power came from a Gough four-cylinder, similar to one of the engine choices for Frazer Nash. The Gough had such advanced features as twin-spark ignition and three valves per cylinder actuated by overhead camshaft. Unlike the Frazer Nash chain-drive, the Atalanta featured an epicyclic gearbox (Ford’s Model T had one as well). An Arnolt supercharger was a catalog option.

Image from

A Soupçon of French Style. Bugatti chose the name Atalante, its French spelling, for his Type 57S when graced with elegant in-house coupe coachwork. Of the 43 Type 57S Bugattis, 17 Atalantes were built.

A Bugatti 57S Atalante. Image from Bugatti Magnum, Hugh Conway, G.T. Foulis, 1990.

A Phoenix-like Atalanta? Mixing matters mythological, I note the existence of Martyn Corfield’s modern day Atalanta Motors. To quote this British firm’s website, “The New Atalanta is neither a recreation nor a facsimile of any other motor car from a bygone era. It is the perpetuation of an original exquisitely crafted sports car, that provides prospective owners with an authentic opportunity to demonstrate truly individual style and good taste.”

Atalanta is located at the Bicester Heritage, a cooperative of classic car specialists in Bicester, not far from England’s Silverstone Circuit. Its goal, according to Atalanta’s Martyn Corfield, MD, is to produce perhaps a dozen cars a year at a price of £150,000 each.

Image from MR Motoring Research.

For more details, see Tim Pitt’s “Driving a Brand New Car That’s 80 Years Old,” MR Motoring Research, August 1, 2017.

From ancient Greece to the 21st century. Atalanta has indeed been fleet of foot. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2020

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