The last couple of years have been tough on small sports car brands--Wiesmann, De Tomaso, Bristol, Artega and more have all gone bankrupt since 2011. But Italian automaker Automobili Turismo e Sport (ATS) is ignoring all that and forging ahead with new models

The latest is this, the 300 Leggera. Looking like a cross between several 1960s roadsters--there's a little E-Type Jaguar in there, a bit of Cobra and perhaps a dash of Ferrari GTO--the 300 Leggera is a very different beast from the Sport 1000 revealed last year. Where that car was an edgy and modern Le Mans prototype-style track car, the Leggera is much more elegant.

ATSsays the design represents an homage to "typical Italian small sports cars of the Fifties and Sixties"--and hints at the success such cars had at race circuits all around the world. Like those sports cars, the 300 Leggera is free of modern electronic intervention, taking drivers back to the days they were expected to fend for themselves. The company even promises easy servicing and maintenance.

It doesn't house the throbbing V-8 or V-12 you might imagine though. In that respect, the 300 Leggera is thoroughly modern, with a front-mid-mounted 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, producing 200 horsepower. Doesn't sound a lot, but the ultra-low 1,400-pound curb weight should ensure strong performance. With a low-slung body and just a basic windshield to protect you from a barrage of insects, it'll feel even quicker out on the road.

Each car is built to order for a price of around 30,000 euros--around $40,500 at today's exchange rate. It'll even be available to U.S. buyers as well as those in Europe, which also makes a change from the norm.


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