Ariel Atom 3S – The Wild One

Revolving Garage

Revo Model Summary
The Ariel Atom is the leader of a small mischief* of streetable track rats, including offerings by KTM, Zenos, and Lotus. They are vehicles purpose built for track days, but road legal in some states. They deliver a race car experience in a package that is far more accessible for the weekend track enthusiast. British based Ariel licenses US mnfgr. to TMI AutoTech, Inc. in VA. Cars are hand built at their facility. While the Atom can be had in several flavors, this is the spicy one, with a turbo and distinctive aero kit. The power to weight ratio is the key to all Atoms, giving access to super car performance.
*I had to look it up too: a mischief is a group of rats

Revolving Garage

Do you want to feel your left kidney pressing against the base of your spine? Do you want to give time travel, the ol’ college try?  You can either get in line for a factory build of an Ariel Atom with reported wait times of more than a year, or you can try to find one like this on the used market. This one sold on BringaTrailer for $79,000 plus fees:

This 2016 Ariel Atom 3S packs 365 turbocharged horses, but weighs less than 1,450 pounds. To put that in perspective, that is a similar power to weight ratio to a La Ferrari, and better than a Pagani Huayra. Ariel also offers non-turbo variants that although down on power to this example, are light enough to make for exhilarating acceleration. Colin Chapman (of Lotus fame) is credited with saying “simplify, then add lightness.” The folks at Ariel have taken that sentiment and thrown out any British Modesty, along with the doors. Body panels? Much too heavy. Roof? Never a consideration. A/C? Hah! All of this added lightness, with a pinch of turbocharging in the recipe, equals 0-60 times around 2.8 seconds, and quarter mile times in the mid-10s. Your internal organs will never be the same again.

This example is Ariel’s third generation of the Atom. The 3S is the turbo charged model in the Atom line-up, and features a Honda 2.4L i-VTEC inline 4 (known internally at Honda as the K24Z7) attached to a 6-speed manual with limited slip differential. While the Honda motor was legendary before it arrived at Ariel, they did not leave it alone. It features proprietary intake and exhaust systems, and engine management software. With an intake approximately three inches from your right ear, the sound of winding up an Atom 3S is truly one of the incredible automotive experiences. 

Ariel Atom 3S-3

This unit was hand built by TMI AutoTech, Inc. in Halifax Virginia, a company carefully picked by Ariel to be their sole U.S. builder. These cars are built to order.  This example cost $98,650 when new, and came spec’d with some very desirable go-fast parts, including:

  • 5-level adjustment traction control (including “off”);
  • Digital screen with shift light;
  • JRi adjustable dampers (and numerous other adjustable suspension components);
  • Quick release steering wheel;
  • Alcon four piston brake calipers with 290 mm vented discs;
  • 15x7 front and 16x8 rear wheels with Toyo R888 tires;
  • Adjustable pedal box; 
  • Adjustable brake bias;
  • Integrated fire suppression;
  • Full glass windscreen;
  • Lexan clear side panels;
  • Adjustable carbon fiber front and rear wings;
  • and much more…
Revolving Garage, First Gear Media LLC