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  Article Image gallery (18) AT121 Specifications  
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Country of origin:Great Britain
Produced in:1957
Numbers built:1
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:August 10, 2017
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Click here to download printer friendly versionBorn to a family of engineers, Daphne Arnott was one of the first women to build her own racing cars. Her grandfather ran a motorcycle company while her father designed the Arnott supercharger. Daphne Arnott joined the family business in 1948 and soon after and created a new department to design and built Arnott racing cars. Headed by chief engineer George Thornton, the new branch soon after startied producing small displacement single seater and sports racers.

In 1955, Daphne Arnott set her sights on Le Mans and a small sports car was produced around a supercharged version of the Coventry Climax FWA engine. Engineered by Thornton, the Arnott featured a sophisticated tubular chassis with unusual, rocker operated front suspension with a pivot in the middle and the in-board springs and dampers on the opposing sides. The car was entered for Jim Russell and Peter Taylor but the effort was short lived as the car was damaged by a hefty accident in practice.

Arnott did not give up and for the 1957 Le Mans a new car was built. It featured a similar chassis as the earlier car but now with a naturally aspirated Coventry Climax engine. It was mounted well back in the chassis for a better weight distribution and to accommodate for the unusual in-board suspension. Whereas most of Arnott's sports cars were roadsters, the 1957 Le Mans car featured a unique fibreglass coupe body, designed to be as slippery as possible for the long straights.

Russell and Taylor were once again tasked to drive the car. This time they did make it to the race and the small Arnott was clocked at 116 mph on the straight. It ran well but was forced to retire with a dropped valve during the fifth hour of the race. Shortly after the race, Daphne Arnott shut down here special department, making the Le Mans car the last of the line. She cherished the car and it was displayed for many years in the corner of the Arnott workshop.

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  Article Image gallery (18) AT121 Specifications