Ariel Atom Drive


When you drive an Ariel Atom you need to keep your wits about you. That’s because although it’s a totally road-legal car it’s about as far removed from the average family car as you can get. For a start there are no doors and no roof… The story behind the Ariel Atom is pretty amazing. Bursting with drive and talent transport design student Niki Smart and his lecturer at Coventry University came up with the concept as a project. Things soon snowballed and by 1996 the first prototype was unveiled at the Birmingham International Motor Show. The project accelerated right through to production and today the Ariel Motor Company produces around 100 cars a year. Now that might not sound like many compared to the modern mass-produced car models we see on every street corner but that is the whole point of the Atom you just don’t see them being driven every day giving them instant exclusivity and a huge head-turning factor too despite the more modest pricing when compared to your usual supercars. Of course if you have a lot of money to spend and you want to drive a car that impresses but be seated in the lap of luxury whilst you’re doing it the Atom probably isn’t for you. In Ariel’s world weight counts right down to the very last detail and that means a totally minimalist design. For example if you go for the paddle shift version they’re are made from carbon but with holes drilled in them to make them as light as possible. The standard spec car doesn’t even come with a windscreen – you can pay extra for it as an option but it’s generally regarded as adding unnecessary kilos whilst spoiling the aesthetics too. There isn’t even any seat cushioning so we’re not sure you could go on a long pan-European road trip in an Atom. But that’s the whole point. The Ariel Atom is probably more at home on the track than on the public roads. Can you imagine heading off up the motorway feeling very very small and insignificant wedged in between lorries and vans? On these sessions you get to drive the Atom in all its glory on a circuit without a care in the world so concentrate on putting your foot to that very finely finished alloy adjustable pedal and release the exoskeletal beast! And let’s be honest no matter how good a driver we think we are at the end of the day we probably get nowhere near realising the full potential of this car. That’s where the two lap passenger ride add-on comes in on this drive an Ariel Atom experience. A professional race driver will properly put the car through its paces whilst you hang on for dear life in the passenger seat to show you just what Somerset’s finest motoring export can do.

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