One-off

World's Rarest Aston Martin Heads to Auction

75-year-old concept was light years ahead of its time.

Buyers at this year's Goodwood FOS Bonhams auction will have the chance to buy an ultra-rare Aston Martin dating from World War II. Finished and registered in 1940, the 75-year-old Aston Martin Atom is one of the oldest concept cars in the world and is expected to fetch hundreds and thousands of dollars. The lightweight, aerodynamic concept was designed and built for businessman Gordon Sutherland who said of the car: "The whole point of the Atom was to make the smallest, lightest, enclosed saloon possible."

The wartime need for metal meant that less than 750 private cars were registered in the UK that year, while the name was chosen as at the time an atom was the smallest, most powerful thing ever conceived. With speeds of up to 100 mph, the 2+2 prototype coupe stunned the wartime press and its technological developments were utilised by the British marque after the war. The Atom has clocked 250,000 miles, changing ownership just once in the past half-a-century. Meticulously maintained and conserved by its current owner, the Atom will go under the hammer on June 27.

Bonhams Group Motoring Director James Knight said the Atom: "is plainly one of Aston Martin's absolute landmark designs, and certainly one of the most exciting one-off British cars we have ever been asked to offer. It is unique, it is super-sophisticated, and when one considers it within the context of 1939-40 it represents a monumental achievement."

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