You either love the Ariel Atom, or you’ve never heard of it.
For those of you who don’t know what it is, prepare to fall in love!
The Atom is made by the Ariel Motor Company in England. The car has no roof, no windows and no real body panels to speak of. It’s kind of like an insect in that it wears its skeleton on the outside. But that’s not what makes it so utterly cool.
The Atom is fast. Like, Veyron fast.
There are four versions of the Atom so far: the Atom, Atom 2, Atom 3 and Atom 500 V8. Most are powered by a 2.0-liter Honda or GM engine, some supercharged. The V8 is a 500-horsepower superbeast that weighs just over 1,200 pounds and does the 0-60 sprint in 2.5 seconds. Even the 4-cylinder versions can get to 60 in under 3 seconds.
In 2011, the Atom 500 set the lap record around the Top Gear test track, with The Stig turning in a lap time of 1:15.1, making it the fastest road-legal car to ever go around the track.
If, for some reason, none of that is enough, a company called DDMWorks can take your GM-powered Atom 2 and turn it into a 700-hp open-top scream machine. How can an engine that displaces just 2 liters manage 700 ponies? The magic of combining a supercharger and a turbocharger, of course!
The company says in a press release:
The end result, the 1450 pound Ariel Atom 700 achieves a power to weight ratio that exceeds most all production cars, including exotics, with only 2.07 pounds per horsepower! Along with this amazing power to weight, the power is selectable by the driver while driving, with 3 selectable power levels of 450, 575 and 700hp.
Before ordering the customized Atom, it’s recommended that buyers take a specialized driver’s course to learn how to handle that much power and such little weight. In fact, it should be required, because it seems to me the car would border on undriveable. An inexperienced driver will take those 700 horses and run ’em straight into a wall!
I’d take my Ariel Atom with the stock supercharged 300-hp Honda 4-cylinder. Would you want the 700-hp version?