Words & photos - Daniel Bevis
The Atom is one of my favourite cars from Aston Martin's rich century-or-so of opulence for two key reasons: one, it looks incongruously French, and two, those rear doors are utterly ridiculous. Even the slenderest of sylph-like flamingos would struggle to slide into the Atom's rear with the vaguest semblance of grace. Wonderfully silly.
This car only existed as a one-off prototype. It was, in fact, something of a trailblazer, being one of the first fully-functioning concept cars. Built back in 1939, it dabbled in the increasingly exotic and spellbinding art of aerodynamics and lightweight sleekness, with its Claude Hill-designed aluminium body draping itself dramatically over a lightweight steel frame. It was originally powered by a 15/98 engine, but this was swapped out for a more robust two-litre unit in 1944. It's since remained in its original state, and is currently owned by noted Aston Martin collector Tom Rollason. It's really the trump card in his Aston deck; not only is it a unique slice of design history, but it's the car that David Brown liked so much, he bought the company - the man behind the iconic 'DB' nomenclature drove the Atom in 1946 prior to buying Aston Martin outright. This car is just dripping in significance. And it also looks gorgeous.
You can learn more about the Atom's history here.
Photos taken at AM's 2013 centenary event in Kensington - click here for more photos.