Its 1952, and much attention has been drawn, over the past year, to the completed, yet empty car dealerships in Cardiff and Swansea, and more attention still to the completed, and also apparently empty, factory in Pontypridd, with canvas sheeting covering potential branding in all 3 locations, while in Oxford Street in London’s West End, a car dealership is nearing completion. What could all this be? Was very much the mindset of the public in January 1952, above the Cardiff dealership, an astute passer-by noticed a brand, between the 2 storeys above the car dealership at ground level, it read “Vincent Automotive Design Studio, Cardiff”. The same lettering was noticed at the Oxford Street location, albeit reading “London” as opposed to “Cardiff”. Both people were not just standard passers-by, in fact, they were actually renowned automotive journalists, an agreement was made between them that they would meet at Bristol Temple Meads train station on the 18th January 1952 to discuss their findings and write a piece for their segments about what all of this could be on about. Meeting in the station allowed an element of privacy in the British Rail first class lounge at Bristol, and the unsuspecting location allowed them to work efficiently. It was decided that they would travel in by train, to further reduce their chances of being apprehended by enthusiasts and fans. The London based journalist departed on the 10AM train to Bristol and the Cardiff based journalist on the 11AM train to London, meeting in Bristol at 12 Noon. The meeting was over in 90 minutes, the pair had decided that something big was about to happen in the British automotive scene, and both had notes for their segments on it. Fast forward to February 12th 1952. The pair had received an invitation to a car factory opening, opening the day after, in Pontypridd, as well as the unveiling of a new car, set to revolutionise personal travelling comfort and speed. The new car was launched, albeit to little fanfare, the company being only small. But, with big, bold chrome elements straight out of an American car show, it sure turned heads.
Presenting The 1952 Vincent Atomica Coupe.
Powered by a plentiful 6.15l V8 engine making 207bhp and 321lb/ft, it was a super GT of its day, a top speed of 130mph and ability to cruise for hours at 125mph meant that it was the ultimate in prestige and performance on Britain’s roadways. The Atomica was not without its share of negativity, however, its fuel economy was terrible, especially considering that Britain was still reeling from WW2 and rationing was still in force. It’s brakes, despite being big, were tuned for comfort and therefore didn’t have much stopping power, and its high levels of power meant that eager drivers of their new super GT had to deal with much wheelspin off the line. With all of that said, however, the car was a big success, with a months long waiting list within 3 weeks of sales starting. It’s performance made headlines across the globe, with a top speed of 130mph, it was one of the fastest cars on Earth. In 1955, one even raced the Flying Scotsman on the East Coast Mainline between London and Edinburgh, the train took 6.5hours, the Atomica smashed it’s record, doing the 400 miles in just 5 hours, inclusive of stops for fuel and comfort breaks. And again in 1964, it beat the West Coast Mainline between London and Glasgow, the train took 6 hours, the Atomica, only 4.5, again, inclusive of all stops made. This car was smashing every long distance record and beating the fastest trains in the world, and driving second hand market prices through the roof.
The leadership at Vincent Automotive where extremely satisfied with the launch of the Atomica Coupe, most people seemed to like the car, and love its design, with its big front grille, full length side chrome strips and chrome strips centering the bonnet, roof and boot lid, as well as the tri-stack rear lights. But, Vincent Lee Laithwaite thought he could do better, and fix what was wrong with the Elite trim level to make it even more attractive to more people, a more mainstream trim level was needed, with a smaller engine and less expensive materials in its interior. The Atomica 6, powered by a still beefy inline 6 cylinder engine, and revised 5 seat interior. The result was a 107bhp version of the Atomica, sold at a lower markup. It sold well and Laithwaite bought one Atomica Elite and one Atomica 6, at full retail price, to show his confidence in the Atomica.
Wow. The lore stuff is fun. But that also took me about an hour to do, next one wont be so long as this was just to start off the “production lore”, to see more information about what Vincent Automotive is and how this is going to go from here, please check OP. So, you probably want some photos of the Atomica now.
The rear of the Atomica was very distinct, the black bar across the boot lid, the low mounded V badge, dual, US style exhaust outlets and triple stacked lights flanking it all.
The Atomica had an imposing stance, a wide grille low down on the front made the car look sporty and aggressive, the bonnet ornament making the front even more imposing.
The design work of the Atomica was simple, but exquisite, a long, straight chrome line accentuates the car’s length, giving it a very regal presence from the 3/4 view.
From the side, the American influence is just as clear as the front, wing mounted chrome mirrors, a full length chrome strip, and 4 chrome strips linking the rear wheel arch and rear bumper give it a high end look. The high profile of the tires is especially visible from the side, the upshot is that they give the car a very comfortable ride, but do impact ease of driving and sportiness when compared to lower profile tires.
That’s the lore started off, see you soon with the next design, and I’ve now been going at this for 1 hour. I’m insane, ok.