Less Car: The Ariel Atom Jason 31 Jul 2006

54 comments Latest by samuel maccullough

What happens when a car company with only 7 people decides to build a supercar that only costs $50K and can outrun the competition priced $250K and above? You get the Ariel Atom. “It’s so fast it can destroy your face.” -Jeremy Clarkson

It’s less car alright: No windscreen, no roof, and no bodywork, but it’s not like you were going to take your Enzo out in the rain anyway, were ya?

Man does that look like fun.

54 comments so far (Jump to latest)

shane 31 Jul 06

Amazing! Does the company have a site??

nb 31 Jul 06

I saw this posted on Digg last night and thought of you guys when Jeremy mentioned the, “only 7 employees.” Keep up the great work.

Rabbit 31 Jul 06

Hehe… Bad ass car. Funny host, too. “Mouth full of bees!”

Xian 31 Jul 06

Last year I picked that out as my upcoming midlife crisis. I still have about 20 year to go, but maybe by that time I’ll have 50k sitting around. :)

Nick Selvaggio 31 Jul 06

Very cool! That is a Honda tuners dream!

Derik 31 Jul 06

Posting a clip from Top Gear without a license to do so is copyright infringement. You disappoint me.

But that’s an awesome car.

Kenny 31 Jul 06

I saw this on one of those HD channels you get with cable service.

I was floored then and am floored now.

Brandon Eley 31 Jul 06

If you’re in the US and want one of these babies, check out their US website:

http://www.arielatom.com

Nice! I know what I want for Christmas now.

Cliff Spence 31 Jul 06

I love Top Gear, even though I’m not much of a car buff; the hosts are brilliant and the content is fascinating.

(What some call copyright infringement, I call incredible viral marketing potential. It’s too bad…)

Don Wilson 31 Jul 06

Hmmm… Who is more likely to survive in a crash… The Ferrari Enzo or this Ariel Atom? I’ll let you guess :)

Aaron Post 31 Jul 06

Does anyone know the the MPG is? Just curious…

Mike 31 Jul 06

Go kart, no? Beautifully engineered, “meticulously welded”, supercharged, exoskeleton-ized… but go kart?

Mike 31 Jul 06

Not that I don’t want one. ‘cause I do.

Mathew Patterson 31 Jul 06

I’m with Chris - I have no real interest in cars, but I love the show. Since I came back to Australia I am stuck watching last years season on SBS, but they hold up to repeat viewing.

It’s a great example of good presentation and hosts overcoming apathy about a subject - a useful lesson for school teachers and web designers alike.

Ben Kraal 01 Aug 06

Re the Atom: it’s cool but it’s basically a modern version of a Lotus 7, which are still being produced as the Caterham 7. Colin Chapman’s (founder of Lotus) credo for his cars was “add lightness”. They say that he’d have the factory produce successively lighter prototypes until one just broke and then he’d point at the previous version and say “build that one”.

Re Top Gear: My wife will watch it. Enough said.

Rob Sanheim 01 Aug 06

Looks like an amazing experience. And the price is even somewhat reasonable if you’re somewhere were you can take it out year round.

Decent article on the US release here, though its from 2005. At that point the author notes that the Atom would be street legal in about three states, due to every state having different requirements.

Jim Jeffers 01 Aug 06

This has been out for a while it’s like a four wheel crotch rocket. I think your about just as likely to die in this as if you were on motorbike but I’m willing to take that risk :)

Lotus produced a similar vehicle a few years back called the 340R. It’s a bit more of a compromise than the Atom. Not as hardcore. And unfortunately I’m not sure if you can drive this car on the street in the US. You can get away with a Lotus Exige or Elise. Again not as hardcore but definitely a lot of fun for the money!

Dr Nic 01 Aug 06

+1 to Top Gear and “my wife will watch it” I think its broadcast on BBC World for nonUK watchers. And BitTorrent if you can’t get BBC World.

Michel Christensen 01 Aug 06

I normally watch Top Gear when it airs on danish television, but either I missed this episode, or it hasn’t aired yet, on our local channel.

Jeremy is way cool - I love his british humour, and he sure knows how to steer the wheels!

Spike 01 Aug 06

Michel: This is quite an old episode. I remember seeing it and telling everyone I met with even a vague interest in cars / Top Gear / toys about the Ariel Atom. It’s still hugely awesome. They’re built quite near me, geographically, I might pop in and get the skinny.

brad 01 Aug 06

This reminds me of a friend of mine who used to build his own bicycles; he was so obsessive about reducing weight that he eliminated the rear brakes (the front ones do most of the work of stopping your bike anyway, you just have to practice a bit so you learn how to avoid going head-over-handlebars when you stop) and the front derailleur — he used his hands to shift the chain from the small to the big chainring.

Skedders 01 Aug 06

Ariel’s new factory is just 1 mile down the road from where I live. I occasionally see them driving down our local country lanes - testing I guess.
Personally I would love one, but I wish they had a model with a windscreen!

Charlie Jones 01 Aug 06

I thought the chassis looked familiar. The Wrightspeed X1 uses the same chassis.

Check out the video on the page….

Chris Dumas 01 Aug 06

If your budget is closer to 50$ instead of 50k - The Ariel Atom is available in Project Gotham Racing 3 for the Xbox 360. :)

Bob Aman 01 Aug 06

I’ve seen a lot of geeks lust after this car (I’ve been guilty of it in the past as well) and I find that somehow fascinating. In any case, regarding the copyright stuffs, you could always point people to Ariel’s own copy of the TopGear episode on their website under “Multimedia->Video”. I assume they got permission first, so that should be safe.

Engelgrafik 01 Aug 06

Since when did $50K become reasonable? I mean, sure, WE all make $70K to $140K here in this thread, but most people don’t.

This kind of car would only work if the masses were driving it. I could envision every American owning a car like this. Selling price: $7,000.

They could drive it to work, it has less footroom, entire parking lots could be reworked to fit more cars.

We need a revolution in this country where cities call “off limits” to all traditional vehicles.

I think Naples (as in Napoli) did that about 10 years ago. Freaked everyone out. Their council just up and said “OK no more cars… sorry”. Was it Naples?

Matt Oakes 01 Aug 06

You’ve got to love Top Gear, best program on TV at the minute. Although the latest series ended yesterday :( Think that Arial Atom one was from about 2 series ago so its been out a while.

Even if you don’t like cars then watch top gear, such a funny program.

scott brooks 01 Aug 06

Ok ….. i need one ….someone to clean out my garage …..and an abandoned airstrip. Very cool guys.

cheers

scott

Matt Oakes 01 Aug 06

You’ve got to love Top Gear, best program on TV at the minute. Although the latest series ended yesterday :( Think that Arial Atom one was from about 2 series ago so its been out a while.

Even if you don’t like cars then watch top gear, such a funny program.

Matt Oakes 01 Aug 06

You’ve got to love Top Gear, best program on TV at the minute. Although the latest series ended yesterday :( Think that Arial Atom one was from about 2 series ago so its been out a while.

Even if you don’t like cars then watch top gear, such a funny program.

Ryan 01 Aug 06

I was just waiting for that guys face to melt off :)

Very cool.

mr Anthony john 01 Aug 06

Dear Buyers
Buy Nokia,N70,N90,N91,6600,6680,8800,9300,9500,Motorola Razr v3
Nextel i930 and manymore At Very Low Price.Ok
For Business enquiries please contact the following:
Mr Anthony john
Managing Director
Tel:+2348035372097
EMail c
E mail Anthonymobilephones_limited@yahoo.com
Thanks And God Bless
Mr Anthony john
Director

mr Anthony john 01 Aug 06

Dear Buyers
Buy Nokia,N70,N90,N91,6600,6680,8800,9300,9500,Motorola Razr v3
Nextel i930 and manymore At Very Low Price.Ok
For Business enquiries please contact the following:
Mr Anthony john
Managing Director
Tel:+2348035372097
EMail c
E mail Anthonymobilephones_limited@yahoo.com
Thanks And God Bless
Mr Anthony john
Director

mr Anthony john 01 Aug 06

Dear Buyers
Buy Nokia,N70,N90,N91,6600,6680,8800,9300,9500,Motorola Razr v3
Nextel i930 and manymore At Very Low Price.Ok
For Business enquiries please contact the following:
Mr Anthony john
Managing Director
Tel:+2348035372097
EMail c
E mail Anthonymobilephones_limited@yahoo.com
Thanks And God Bless
Mr Anthony john
Director

mr Anthony john 01 Aug 06

Dear Buyers
Buy Nokia,N70,N90,N91,6600,6680,8800,9300,9500,Motorola Razr v3
Nextel i930 and manymore At Very Low Price.Ok
For Business enquiries please contact the following:
Mr Anthony john
Managing Director
Tel:+2348035372097
EMail c
E mail Anthonymobilephones_limited@yahoo.com
Thanks And God Bless
Mr Anthony john
Director

mr Anthony john 01 Aug 06

Dear Buyers
Buy Nokia,N70,N90,N91,6600,6680,8800,9300,9500,Motorola Razr v3
Nextel i930 and manymore At Very Low Price.Ok
For Business enquiries please contact the following:
Mr Anthony john
Managing Director
Tel:+2348035372097
EMail c
E mail Anthonymobilephones_limited@yahoo.com
Thanks And God Bless
Mr Anthony john
Director

mr Anthony john 01 Aug 06

Dear Buyers
Buy Nokia,N70,N90,N91,6600,6680,8800,9300,9500,Motorola Razr v3
Nextel i930 and manymore At Very Low Price.Ok
For Business enquiries please contact the following:
Mr Anthony john
Managing Director
Tel:+2348035372097
EMail c
E mail Anthonymobilephones_limited@yahoo.com
Thanks And God Bless
Mr Anthony john
Director

Mike Jacobsen 01 Aug 06

There is a startup in Silicon Valley that is building an electric version of this car.

http://www.wrightspeed.com/

pj 01 Aug 06

That clips for a few series ago but it’s an awesome car. Top Gear is he best motor programme in the UK. Jeremy is a love him of loathe him character. Shame they only chase the CBR600 for the race. How about against the R1 (which still has a worse power to weight ratio) !

George 01 Aug 06

Looks like someone took a Go-Kart and scaled it up to normal size.

Top Gear is awesome. Jeremy Clarkson is awesome. He could make driving a Reliant Robin look fun.

Michael Haimson 02 Aug 06

Holy Crap!
I emailed this to 37Signals and asked them to blog it, and they did! I love this company. I also recently had a problem with my Backpack account and DHH, the inventor of RoR, emailed me back when it was fixed. They wrote in their book that staying small is better for customer support, and i am happy to see they practice what they preach.
The world has been waiting for a company like this, and im happy to be around to witness its flourishing into the huge success it is becoming.

ThanQ

JF 02 Aug 06

Thanks for the kind words and the lead for this post!

Joe 02 Aug 06

That car would be so much f*cking fun. The company should make a clear plexiglass-like shell option which includes a windscreen.

Joe 02 Aug 06

“I mean, sure, WE all make $70K to $140K here in this thread, but most people donít.”

Wow, really? Rails pays that well?

David 03 Aug 06

Is it me or has there been an awful lot more car window shopping in the blog since Bezos turned up?

JF 03 Aug 06

Is it me or has there been an awful lot more car window shopping in the blog since Bezos turned up?

It’s you. We’ve been posting about cars for years. Great cars are a testament to the best of human art, engineering, and experience. Great cars are great motivators.

mark 04 Aug 06

to Engelgrafik:
reasonable means reasonable _for that kind of speed and performance_.

heri 04 Aug 06

i love top gear show. as in there is a ‘before’ and ‘after’. i have watched all the shows, lust at cars in the street now, read car magazine now . lol

Mark 05 Aug 06

How many bugs-in-the mouth would you tolerate before returning this thing back to the dealer?

Joe 11 Aug 06

How many bugs-in-the mouth would you tolerate before returning this thing back to the dealer?

I suppose that comes with the territory. You don’t see motorcyclists returning their bikes to the dealers because of that. People that don’t like bugs wear helmets or goggles, or opt for a windshield.

Matthew Stibbe (Bad Language) 14 Aug 06

I wrote an article about the Atom for the Robb Report a couple of years ago. Here’s my original text - might be interesting for anyone reading this thread:

Why would a successful entrepreneur trade a BMW M3 for a car with a two-liter Honda engine, no doors, no windscreen and no body panels? Itís not that the Ariel Atom is faster, better handling or cheaper; although it is all these things. Itís just that the two-seater, which is built by a seven-person company in Southwest England, is much more fun.

Rob Sloman is one of a handful of owners in the US. He had a test drive on a business trip to the UK and fell in love. No wonder. The turbo Atom will do 0-60 in 2.9 seconds. A Ferrari 360 takes 4.2. Because it weighs just 1,000 lbs, it has less inertia for better braking, better cornering.

In England, a new Atom starts at $37,000 but expect to pay nearly as much again to get it on the road in the US. There are no US dealers so importing one was an adventure in itself. British Airways air-freighted Slomanís chassis and he sourced the engine locally. Treating the Atom as a kit car allowed him to sidestep a mountain of legislation and make it road-legal.

Without any body panels it wears it race-bred engineering proudly. It looks (and drives) like a cross between a Formula 1 racer and a go-kart. Rob Sloman has already ordered his second Atom: ďitís an exceptional driving experience and it never fails to draw a crowd.Ē

- Ariel, www.arielmotor.co.uk, +44 1460 78817

Stephen Taylor 14 Aug 06

Inspiring post, if we needed more inspiration than your software. So I rang Tom at the Ariel Motor Co. and on Friday afternoon we stopped by for a look on our way to a weekend on Exmoor.

Although we’d explained we were not serious car enthusiasts, let alone buyers, but programmers come to admire and pay respect, Tom was hospitality itself, clearly and justifiably proud of what they make there. He explained how my fantasy of touring in an Atom is entirely possible, and showed us custom fittings, such as tiny-but-effective individual windscreens, and a towball. “You could tow a caravan behind one,” he remarked.

The weather was crap, else they’d have taken us for a spin. As it was, even to sit in an Atom changes your view of driving. A pilgrimage well worth making.

(Pictures later at http://www.5jt.com/archive/000454.html)

samuel maccullough 09 Sep 06

Name: samuel maccullough
E-Mail: samuelmaccullough344@yahoo.com
Subject: Re: Forsale : nokia N92 at $200,Sidekick 3 at $150, and many mo
Body of Message:
: Dear Buyers
: Buy Nokia,N70,N90,N91,6600,6680,8800,9300,9500,Motorola Razr v3
: Nextel i930 and manymore At Very Low Price.Ok
: For Business enquiries please contact the following:
: Mr samuel maccullough
: Managing Director
: Tel:+2348055928865
: EMail samuelmaccullough344@yahoo.com
: E mail samuelmaccullough344@yahoo.com
: Thanks And God Bless
: Mr Samuel maccullough
: Director.

Post a comment

(Basic HTML is allowed)

NOTE: We'd rather not moderate, but off-topic, blatantly inflammatory, or otherwise inappropriate or vapid comments may be removed. Repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. Let's add value. Thank you.