Ariel Atom: Uber-Minimalist Sports Car
By James Grahame
[Update: The BBC is now legally uploading some of their content to YouTube, so I can finally share this amusing video of Jeremy Clarkson taking the Ariel Atom for a jowl-slapping spin around the Top Gear Test track. Here's our original writeup from October 2005...]
You've come to the right post if you're the sort who rides motorcycles because cars are slower than turtles. This is the Ariel Atom, no relation to the European laundry soap of the same name. Ariel is Britain's smallest automaker, employing only seven speed-crazed souls.
They market their cars with the slogan "No Doors. No Screen. No Roof." For most car makers this would be the kiss of death: "Hullo, Mrs. Jenkins. Your new Toyota Flowerpot arrived at the dealership today. No, no... we don't offer boring old doors or a windscreen anymore."
Thankfully, the Atom has an amazing trick up it's sleeve: zero to 100mph (161 kph) in a blinding 6.8 seconds. Or -- if you can shift fast enough -- zero to 60mph in a tad under three. The Atom costs about 35,000 euros and thoughtfully includes a passenger seat for a suitably insane friend.
Ariel Atom 2 (Ariel Motor Company Ltd.)
Video: Top Gear's Jeremy Clarkson plays with the Atom