18 December 2010
The Ariel car company was originally started in 1991 and called Solocrest Limited. It became Ariel Ltd in 2001 and can be found in the English county of Somerset. It is a very small car firm and makes less than 100 cars per year.
The vehicle it makes is the Ariel Atom, lightweight with blistering performance. The one sold in the UK uses a Honda Civic Type-R engine/gearbox for propulsion, while the US version is powered by a supercharged GM Ecotec engine. The Atom is a road car with no body panelling at all, not even a roof to keep you dry. In England's wet weather, a real problem at times I would imagine. The body therefore simply consists of tubular framing, the obvious advantage being lightness. This is a car that works within Lotus' founder Colin Chapman's mantra of speed achieved through light weight. It tips the scales at less than 500 kg (1,100 lb), so its power-to-weight ratio is impressive. The Ariel website describes it as: "Uniquely designed, beautifully made, astonishing performance. The essence of the Atom is no compromise, total driver involvement."
Ariel is about to embark on a V8 car, the Atom 500, to be made in a limited run of 25 units. I cannot see the point, but for some enough is never enough.
What it means to me: I would love to drive one, either on a race track or down a twisting back road. Oh well, dreams are free.