Alta Car and Engineering Company, referred to as just Alta, was a Formula 1 constructor and engine manufacturer in the 1950s. It was founded by Geoffrey Taylor in 1929, and was primarily a road car manufacturer, building its first competition car in 1934.
The cars were never run in the Formula 1 World Championship as a factory team, making five appearences in the inaugural three seasons of the sport in the hands of various privateers. The best result for an Alta car in the Championship came at the 1950 Belgian Grand Prix, with Geoffrey Crossley scoring a ninth place finish.
Although its final race as a constructor came in 1952, Alta continued to supply engines to British teams, most notably HWM between 1951 and 1954, and Connaught between 1955 and 1959. In that time Alta powered cars scored two Championship Podiums, along with several non-championship race victories.
Formula One World Championship
Alta began building its first Formula 1 car, the Alta GP, almost immediately after the cessation of the Second World War. It contained a 1.5L straight four engine, producing up to 230bhp. One of these cars were sold to irishman Joe Kelly, who raced it at the season opening British Grand Prix. He qualified near the back of the grid, over 15 seconds off the pace. The poor showing continued into the race where despite finishing, he was not classified as he had only completed 57 of the 70 lap distance.
The other Alta GP on the grid was another privateer, Geoffrey Crossley. Crossley was the fastest of the two Altas, nearly a second faster than Kelly. His race ended after 43 with transmission issues. He returned later in the season for the Belgian GP, qualifying 12th out of the 14 qualifiers, 67 seconds behind pole. He drove an unobtrusive race to ninth, Alta's best ever finishing position as an entrant.
Season by Season Record
|1950||Joe Kelly||GP||L4 1.5||Joe Kelly||1|
|Geoffrey Crossley||Geoffrey Crossley||1, 5|