The Nostalgia of Forgotten Gods: ATS, Italy, 1962-1965

  • 02 March 2024
  • 2 min read
  • 3 images
The Nostalgia of Forgotten Gods: ATS, Italy, 1962-1965 image

Photo credit: RM Sotheby’s, Wheelsage

Roarington's journey among the brands that have disappeared from the automotive scene stops in Italy this week, more precisely in Bologna. It is the early 1960s and an internal turmoil within Ferrari had just ended, leading to the dismissal of the entire management staff in the winter of 1961, caused by protests over the behaviour of Enzo's wife, Laura. Enzo did not tolerate these protests. Among the protestors were Carlo Chiti, known for designing Maranello's first rear-engined single-seater, the 156 F1, and Giotto Bizzarrini, creator of the 250 GTO.

The Nostalgia of Forgotten Gods: ATS, Italy, 1962-1965 - 1 The ATS Tipo 100 for the 1963 Formula 1 season driven by Phil Hill and Giancarlo Baghetti.

The opportunity to make a different Ferrari a few kilometres from Maranello arose: Giorgio Billi, Jaime Ortiz Patino and Count Volpi di Misurata, wealthy enthusiasts, decided to finance the project with the aim of entering the field with their own Formula 1 car and producing road cars competing with Ferrari. A project that was more than ambitious, it was daring. Starting from scratch required huge financial resources and the creation of an entire company represented a seemingly impossible challenge.

The Nostalgia of Forgotten Gods: ATS, Italy, 1962-1965 - 2 The ATS project involved the production of sports road cars competing with Ferrari. Unfortunately, only a dozen examples left the factory.

And indeed, the fate of ATS was not a lucky one: The lavish presentation at the Hotel Baglioni in Bologna of the Formula 1 Tipo 100 in 1962, followed by a disastrous 1963 racing season created a conflict between the financing partners. This also gave a blow to the road car project called the 2500 GT, 2468 cc V8 engine in aluminium alloy, designed by Franco Scaglione, the man who created the Alfa 33 Stradale. Twelve were produced, among them some GTS, with aluminium bodywork and just 750 kg, intended for competition. This is why, the ATS represents something very special for collectors.

The dream was too short-lived for a car that was an authentic work of design and engineering art.

The Nostalgia of Forgotten Gods: ATS, Italy, 1962-1965 - 3 The ATS 2500 GT is equipped with a V8 of 2468cc built completely "in house" with light aluminum alloys for a power output of between 220hp and 250hp.