Friday, July 29, 2011

First Impression: Ariel Atom


The Ariel Atom is a very unique car. There are no doors, windows, a windshield, or a roof on this car. The Atom contains an engine in the rear, a very small trunk in the front, two seats, suspension tuned by engineers at Lotus, four wheels, and a visible chassis. The Atom weighs only 1,350 lbs. Since the Atom is considered a car, and not a motorcycle, the driver and passenger are not required to wear helmets or masks, but it is highly recommended since the Atom is very quick and does not have a windshield.

I first saw the Ariel Atom at the December 2010 edition of Houston Cars and Coffee. This was the same event where Hennessey was revealing the Venom GT. The Atom is a very unusual car and still got attention, even though people came to see the Venom GT. The guy who brought the Atom got the car from the second hand market. His Atom was previously owned by guitar legend Eddie Van Halen. His Atom had two small nitro tanks taped to the car's frame.

The Ariel Atom is powered by a 2.0L Honda K20A I4 engine, that can come with a supercharger and paired with a six-speed manual transmission, produces 245 hp and 150 lb-ft of torque or 300 hp and 150 lb-ft of torque with the optional supercharger. The Ariel Atom can go from 0 to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds and reaches a top speed 140 mph and 155 mph with the supercharger. The base price for the Ariel Atom is $49,980. That is a low price for a very unique car. There is nothing like the Atom on the road and no car can match the thrills or driving experience that the Atom can provide.

Jay Leno did a feature on the Ariel Atom in his own garage. Top Gear's Jeremy Clarkson reviewed the Atom during Series 5, Episode 9. Richard Hammond drove the Atom during a drag race between Top Gear and D Motor presenters during Series 11, Episode 6. The Ariel Atom is playable in Project Gotham Racing 2, Project Gotham Racing 3, Project Gotham Racing 4, ToCa Race Driver 3, and Test Drive Unlimited 2.

Final Thoughts: The Ariel Atom is a very unique car. There is nothing like it on the road. The car has hypercar acceleration for under $50,000. If you drive this car, please wear a helmet/mask because there is no windshield to prevent rocks and bugs from hitting your head. With the speed and acceleration of the Atom and no windshields, any small projectile that his your face could cause some injuries to the driver or passenger. A mask/helmet is highly recommended when driving or riding in the Atom. The Atom is also a rare car, with less than 100 Atoms made each year. There is also a 3.0L V8 engine available for the Atom 500 that produces 500 bhp and jumps the price from under $50,000 for a normal Atom to $160,000 for the Atom 500. Only 25 Ariel Atom 500s will produced.

CarJunkie
Photo taken from a camera phone

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