Dieselpunk + Steampunk Culture

Lord K's Garage #116: Aston Martin Atom

Another car born in the wrong time.

The Atom, built in 1939, was a contemporary of Supermarine Spitfire and Bristol Beaufighter. It was different from earlier Aston Martin cars like these fighters were different from mid-1930s RAF biplanes. Designed by Claude Hill, the small sedan was ultra-modern and innovative: box frame structure, aluminium over panels, first use of Gordon Armstrong patented parallel linkage front coil suspension, first Salisbury back axle in UK (before license given to GKN), electromagnetic semi-automatic Cotal gearbox, aircraft-style Hammock seats.

Photo by Red_Five1 @ Flickr

A car like this could easily set a trend for the British automotive industry. For obvious reasons, it didn't happen - during WWII Aston Martin company was producing aircraft components.

It was powered by a 2-Litre OHC engine used in the 15/98 production model. In 1945, the Atom was refitted with a DB1 engine, 2-Litre pushrod of novel design, with 6:1 low compression, making 110 mph (177 km/h) achievable - a speed unheard of for a British four-seater sedan.

Photo by f1jherbert @ Flickr

Gordon Sutherland, the Aston Martin proprietor, personally travelled over 100,000 miles in the Atom, using it as a test bed. They say Sir David Brown liked the car so much that he bought the company. Probably it's an exaggeration but since 1947 - the year he bought Aston Martin - Sir David was the one and only Atom driver, covering about 150,000 miles in this smart car.

Photos by f1jherbert @ Flickr

Beautifilly restored to its 1946 appearance, the Atom took part in numerous car shows, incl.Pebble Beach and Villa d'Este Concours d'Elegance, Goodwood Festival, Beaulieu, Silverstone and Louis Vuitton Concourses and Car Parade in front of H.M. the Queen in Windsor Castle.

Photo by f1jherbert @ Flickr

Source: astonmartinatom.co.uk

Headline photo: by jenskramer @ Flickr. Line drawing: smcars.net

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Comment by Aaron B. Daniels on December 10, 2011 at 11:56am

What a BEAUTY!

Comment by Alex Bolado on December 9, 2011 at 5:40pm

Indeed, it looks very James Bondish.

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