Unique Aston Martin prototype from 1939 at InterClassics & TopMobiel

A unique experimental Aston Martin model from 1939, that indirectly saved the troubled factory just after the war, will be brought over from England specially for Interclassics & TopMobiel. The ‘Atom’ is one of the most important cars in the history of Aston Martin and is rarely available for public viewing.

The streamlined one-off prototype called ‘Atom’ was made in 1939 at the initiative of one of the then directors of Aston Martin, Gordon Sutherland. The idea was to create a fast, sporty saloon car and to eventually race it at Le Mans.

The outbreak of the Second World War meant that the Atom never got any further than the experimental stage. Things declined for Aston Martin after the war and the factory was put up for sale. Tractor manufacturer David Brown expressed an interest and Gordon Sutherland let him go for a spin in the Atom. Despite Brown running out of petrol half way through his drive, he was convinced of the Atom’s sporting potential and decided to buy the factory. That’s what makes the Atom one of the most important cars in the history of Aston Martin. The leading technology of the Atom was the basis for the first car that left the factory under the stewardship of David Brown: a racer that was used in 1948 during the 24 hours from Spa and then the rest of the world. This car, in turn, became the basis of the Aston Martin DB1.

In 1985 it was sold to a private collector who spent ten years having it restored. Gordon Sutherland, who passed away in 2004 at the age of 96, still played an advisory role in the restoration. In November 2012, the Aston Martin Atom became ‘Best of Show’ during the NEC Classic Motor Show in Birmingham, England. It’s incredible that the Atom will be visiting the Netherlands, as it is rarely available for public viewing in order to preserve its exclusive character.

Thanks to its aluminium-plated tube-frame chassis, the Aston Martin Atom weighs just 1,220 kilograms and has a 1,970 cm3 four-cylinder 82 HP engine with two carburettors, linked to a French Cotal semiautomatic gearbox. Its top speed is around 175 km/ h.