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Media post: The DIY Supercar

For those who are unfamiliar with the term, a supercar is a type of exotic sports car which offers ultra-high performance. Some of the more common names are McLaren, Lamborghini, Bugatti, Ferrari and Koenigsegg. Each of these companies makes their own distinctive type of supercar and all have outrageous price tags. Essentially, supercars are playthings for the rich and famous, but that does little to reduce desire of the masses wanting to get their own,

Satisfying the demand

A British company has been building an unusual car for almost a decade that can only be described as a supercar. The company is the Ariel Motor Company and the vehicle is the Atom. According to , the Atom is a supercar but dressed as a small Formula One racecar. It is open like a Formula One and lacks doors, a roof and even a windshield. This is a car designed for thrills.

Ariel History

Ariel, the company that makes the Atom, was founded in 1898 and is one of the oldest names in British motoring. Ariel started manufacturing motorcycles in 1902 and produced both 350cc and 500cc bikes until the late 1950s. Although best known for its motorcycles, Ariel Motor Company also produced various cars, trikes, quads, delivery and military vehicles in small quantities over the years.

Atom History

The Atom began as a student project at Coventry University. Student Niki Smart, a transportation design student, developed the concept in 1996 with input and funding from various automotive industry members. As fate would have it, Ariel Motor Company boss Simon Saunders was a senior lecturer at Coventry and got to know Smart and his project., Soon, Ariel acquired the rights to the Atom. Not much later, Ariel was making the first generation of the Atom sports car.

United States licensing

In 2005, Brammo Motorsports of Ashland, Oregon signed a deal with Ariel to manufacture the Ariel Atom in the US. Production started with the Atom 2. The Atom 2 was available with a supercharged GM Ecotec engine. Sales were strong but in 2007 Brammo ceased production of the Atom 2 to focus on the manufacture of a new electric motorcycle design.

In 2008, a specialty motorsports manufacturing company TMI AutoTech became the US manufacturer of Atoms and theirs were powered by Honda Civi Si drivetrains. In January 2016, TMI moved to a newly refurbished 60,000 ft/sq building in South Boston, VA.

Ariel Atom 500

In 2008, Ariel introduced a mind-blowing new Atom. Called the Atom 500, it features a 500 horsepower 3.0 litre V8 engine, carbon fiber body panels, chromoly wishbones, an integrated function steering wheel and Alcon four-piston brake calipers. The 198 lb V8 is coupled to a SADEV six-speed sequential gearbox and this delivered a car that accelerated from 0–60 mph in less than 2.3 seconds.


There a problem for those that want to drive an Atom on the street, though. A turn-key Ariel Atom cannot be sold as a street-legal car. Due to federal regulations, the Atom is only street-legal if assembled as a kit vehicle. This may affect sales to some degree but they are thousands of DIYers who are now building them.

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