Don’t feel bad if you’ve never heard of the Atlas-Allied Swallow. Don’t be concerned if the car looks a little familiar – it should – it’s a doppelgänger for one of the most iconic shapes ever designed. But what you are looking at isn’t the same car that has been in the New York Museum of Modern Art for decades as an example of near perfect design, it just looks exactly the same. For fans of the Atlas-Allied Swallow it’s a good thing lawyers were much less aggressive in the 50s than they are today.
While Bill Burke and Mickey Thompson (yes, that Mickey Thompson) would become famous for various automotive ventures throughout their storied careers, their first attempt at making a living with cars was inauspicious at best. While the legendary Cisitalia 202 Coupe was readied for the 1952 Autorama Show in Los Angeles, the pair made a surreptitious mold of the iconic shape and soon adapted it for the MG TD chassis.
By Halloween, the body kit was complete and it was readied for production under the banner of Atlas Fiberglass (the name would change to Allied Fiberglass in 1953) with the car christened the Swallow. The body kits were eventually adapted for modified Ford frames and then used custom tube frames using military surplus materials. The Swallow would be the first production fiberglass sports coupe and the company’s founders would each go on to bigger and better things.