It was back in 1929 when the Alta motor company would release its first model automobile. The company itself which was located in Surbiton, Surrey, was founded by Geoffrey Taylor. Their very first car features a 1.1 litre engine whose block was composed entirely of aluminium. Furthermore, the dual overhead cams were driven by a shaft which made this engine a high performance engine in its time. Available in normally aspirated or supercharged versions, the Alta cars were some of the finest available at the time.
From the beginning, the Alta automobile was designed for racing and as such soon found its way onto various race tracks. The Alta was nothing less than a sports car and there was even a model which had become popular for use in hill climbing and could be fitted with a second wheel on each side of the rear axel.
While at first, the Alta cars were dual purpose designed meaning that they could be used on the track, but also were street legal, however, by 1934 Alta began producing purely competition vehicles. These cars featured a light curb weight along with an off-set seat. These became popular almost immediately and they were used quite often for shorter events such as sprints, hill climbs as well as time trials.
With the onset of the war, Alta turned its focus from the production of cars to the manufacture of war goods as a means of supporting the war effort. However, as the war ended, Alta became the first auto manufacturer in Britain to produce a Grand Prix car. The famous Alta GP made its initial appearance in 1948 and was used in the GP racing events. Even with this new GP car being produced, Alta also went back into the production of their regular road car lines.
From Grand Prix Alta was ready to move into the Formula One racing circuits but unfortunately did not have the capital to do so. As a result, Alta instead opted to produce a Formula Two car that featured a 1,970cc 4 cylinder engine. This was proven to be a highly tunable engine as was witnessed by Peter Whitehead who pulled many wins using the car.
In 1966, Geoffrey Taylor passed away and his son took over. In an attempt to revive the Alta name in 1976, Michael Taylor built a Formula Ford vehicle. However, this revival was unsuccessful and as a result the company had to close its doors for good. The Alta name though has a huge fan base and a great number of the cars still exist today in private collections across Great Britain.Original Authors: Nick (Globel Team)
Edit Update Authors: M.A.Harris
Updated On: 29/08/2008