Alta (Alta Car and Engineering Co., Tolworth, Surrey U.K.)
Competitive years: 1935-1939
Horsepower Range: 140-180
Color images by Jonathan Sharp
Geoffrey Taylor was the Colin Chapman of the 1930s but with a difference; he not only created his own chassis, suspensions and coachwork, but the engine as well. From scratch. His first effort in 1929 was a DOHC 1100cc sports racer which was developed into a very rapid voiturette contender. Rapid, yes, reliable no. That takes time and money and while Taylor had the brains, he sorely lacked the resources to make his cars last the distance. Therefore they did best in short events like sprints and hillclimbs, and the cars rarely raced outside of the British Isles.
By 1936 Taylor had produced several ‘offset’ race cars with the propshaft to the left of the driver and updated to 1500cc and supercharged via a Roots blower. In 1937 a single seater version with independent suspension and coil springs was offered, all with his roller chain driven twin cam head. Altas continued to race after the war, but had to wait until 1955 for a victory, when Tony Brooks won the Grand Prix of Syracuse with the 2.5 liter Alta-engined Connaught.