Due to be launched amidst the Classic Nostalgia celebrations of the Shelsley Walsh hill climb on 22nd-23rd July, and in the company of one of the greatest British racing families, the Campbells, the Bluebird Atalanta promises not only an exhilarating drive in a beautifully handbuilt motor using modern materials and technology, but also a reminder of motoring history.
Those with a penchant for speed are regularly attracted to Shelsley Walsh, the world’s oldest operational motorsport venue founded by the Midlands Automobile Club in 1905. Here, the hill climb rises 1:7 in places, over 1000 yards with competitors reaching up to 140mph. It’s little wonder that some of the best drivers and cars have taken up the challenge.
G L Glegg, for example, enjoyed a strong racing record at Shelsley Walsh in the 1930s. Motorsport magazine commented that Glegg’s own V12 Atalanta two-seater would join, “the select band of genuine, give-and-take 100 mph cars”.
Sir Malcom Campbell MBE was also a regular competitor at the historic hill climb course for over a decade. In 1923, he competed in the mighty Sunbeam 4.9 litre 6cyl car vanquish before setting a new World Land Speed Record at Pendine Sands of 146.16mph. During the roaring 1920s and 30s Sir Malcolm set 13 world speed records. His son, Donald Campbell CBE went on to break eight absolute world speed records on water and land, and remains the only person to set both records in the same year (1964).
Later, Mark Joseland, erstwhile captain of the Frazer Nash Club and and a member of the Midlands Automobile Club for well over 50 years (from 1977 to 1999 as secretary), himself owned a couple of original Atalanta sports cars. He was part of the Shelsley Walsh Hill Climb team of organisers.
The Campbells’ legacy of speed lives on – Sir Malcolm’s grandson, Don Wales continues to set world records and currently holds a World Land Speed Record, two American National Records and has broken 8 UK Land Speed Records with Bluebird Electric. Donald Campbell’s daughter, Gina Campbell has also won the UK Off-Shore Boating Championship as well as holding the Women’s World Water Speed Record from 1984 to 1993. Gina was awarded The Queen’s Service Order for promoting water safety.
No other sporting family has matched the racing Campbells’ success in their chosen field, achieving over 30 Land and Water Speed Records since the Bluebird legend began.
In November 2009, inspired by the Campbell family, Atalanta Motors’ owner, Martyn Corfield, set over 19 national and international records including the fastest ever UK 100 miles at 150.48mph in his Austin Healey endurance car.
It seems fitting, in this year of the 50th anniversary of Donald Campbell’s death, that Atalanta Motors should gather these various motorsport achievements together in one car – the limited edition ‘Bluebird Atalanta’.
Celebrating their heritage, an exclusive collaboration between the Campbell family and Atalanta Motors is launched at the July 2017 Shelsley Walsh Classic Nostalgia event, by Gina Campbell and Don Wales.
Based on the original Atalanta Sports Two-Seater, with exquisite features honouring the Bluebird heritage, just a handful of these very special limited edition ‘Bluebird Atalanta’ cars will be produced.
The bodywork is painted in the Campbells’ own unmistakeable blue, while the interior leather and laced wire wheels are colour-coded dark blue to match. The four-cylinder, 2.5-litre engine producing around 214hp and 198lb-ft of torque combines with high performance hydraulic disc brakes, and the Atalanta’s original independent front and rear suspension design utilising modern tailormade coil-over shock absorbers to create a rewarding drive. While the Bluebird Atalanta won’t break land speed records like its namesake, it’s still capable of satisfying the motoring ambitions of any discerning driver.
Find out more about the Bluebird Atalanta and commission your own piece of British motorsport heritage today.