In recent decades we witnessed the rebirth of many brands that have been disbanded more than 50 years ago. Bugatti and Maybach are probably the most well-known examples, but smaller ventures such as ATS (Automobili Turismo e Sport) have returned under new ownership as well.
ATS, short for Automobili Turismo & Sport, is an Italian car manufacturer born in the 1960s as a result of a massive departure of Ferrari engineers. ATS was formed by famous names like Carlo Chiti and Giotto Bizzarrini.
ATS was formed after the famous ‘Palace Revolution’ at Ferrari. The company was formed by Carlo Chiti and Giotto Bizzarrini, among others – intending for it to be a direct competitor to Ferrari both on the race track and on the street. Chiti and Bizzarrini built, with sponsorship from the Scuderia Serenissima’s Count Giovanni Volpi, a road-going sports car and a Formula One racing car.
The sports car was the ATS 2500 GT, a small sportscoupé developed by Carlo Chiti and Giotto Bizzarrini with a Franco Scaglione (ex-Bertone) designed bodywork built by Carrozzeria Allemano. He penned a sleek fastback with an integrated front bumper and a rear hatch for access to the V8 engine. The standard GT model featured a steel body while the GTS was equipped with an all-aluminum body for events like the Targa Florio. It was presented in April 1963 at the Geneva Motor Show.
The ATS 2500GT is able to claim the title of the first mid-engined Italian supercar – an honour usually thought to be associated with the Lamborghini Miura that appeared three years later.
Inside, the 2500 GT received a full leather treatment with a Nardi wooden steering wheel and electric power windows. Power brakes were also standard. The engine was a mid-mounted 2.5 L V8 engineered by Chiti, capable of achieving 245 hp (180 kW) and accelerating to 257 km/h (160 mph). Only 12 cars were reportedly built, and just a few exist today.
Apart from being the second mid-engine sports cars (the René-Bonnet / Matra Djet was presented five months earlier at the Salon de l’Autombile in Paris, France), the 2500 GT never gained fame or popularity, but its 90 degree DOHC V8 with a flatplane crankshaft was later developed into Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 engine in 2 L, 2.5 L and 3 L formats by Carlo Chiti at Autodelta. Both were technologically advanced for their time, but a commercial flop with only 12 produced in total between 1963 and 1965.
After the demise of ATS, Giotto Bizzarrini moved to Lamborghini before building his own cars as Bizzarrini, while Chiti founded Autodelta together with fellow ex-Ferrari engineer Lodovico Chizzola, which would work closely with Alfa Romeo for the following decades. Count Volpi subsequently backed the Serenissima marque which used much technology similar to ATS. Bruce McLaren used a Serenissima engine for a few Grands Prix in 1966.
Now 50 years later, the new owner of the Bologna-based ATS company, Daniele Maritan plans a comeback in the automotive industry with two new models. The first one is a reboot of the firm’s 2500 GT that was showcased during the 1963 Geneva Motor Show.
The new ATS GT is going to be made around a tubular chassis with carbon panels and a composite bodywork. The GT is styled by Emanuele Bomboi, formerly of Fiat and later design director of Bertone, and ATS says it offers a ‘timeless yet striking design, evoking the brand’s past while reflecting its very contemporary performance’.
It isn’t hard to see the resemblance to the 1963 car, the new GT takes on many contemporary supercar design cues, including a low front scuttle and highlighted accent line running along the side of the glasshouse. The devil-may-care approach to exterior design carries over to the rear end, which combines the aesthetic qualities of old Italian supercars with modern styling motifs.
It will feature a mid-mounted 4-cylinder Cosworth turbo engine that should produce approximately 550 hp (410 kW). With a targeted curb weight of less than 1000 kg (2204 lbs), it should turn out to be a quick car.
The other model planned is the Sport 1000 which is described as being a true racing car but road-legal. This car will draw its inspiration from the Radical SR3 and will be available with one of the engines from the following motorcycles: Suzuki Hayabusa, Yamaha R1 or the Honda CBR. Also in the works is a 200 hp MV Augusta-powered model. ATS plans on offering it as a kit car as well.
More about ATS soon here on Yakymour. Come into the wonderful world of ATS….