Well, it’s time for another installment in the top ten list. This time, I will be writing about the always exciting and not well known (at least in this country) Ariel Atom 300. The name aside, this car is not really much of a car. In fact, it only really qualifies because it has four wheels, an engine and a place to rest your butt. The rest of this car is comprised of metal tubes that are both part of the chassis and the exposed skeleton of the body work. There are no doors, so getting in and out is a bit of a chore, but once cocooned inside the carbon fiber bucket seats, you will get a driving experience that is second to none.
The Atom is powered by your choice of either Honda or GM power and can be equipped with a supercharger to produce up to 300 horsepower. This, if you hadn’t already realized is where the Atom 300 gets it moniker from. This vehicle that weighs about 1,000 pounds has 300 horsepower! The power to weight ratio is off the charts high (about 650 hp/ton) and that means it accelerates, brakes and turns like a supercar, but costs much less. The 0-60 time has been timed at around 2.7 seconds (less if you are good and don’t weigh a lot and can change gears that fast) and the 0-100-0 time is an eye-watering 10.88 seconds.
Yes, this car will pin you back in your seat. Yes, it has the brutal accelerative force of a much expensive car. But what do you get for your money? For about $50,000 to $70,000 (depending on the specs of your particular Atom) you get that sweet and buttery 300hp Honda unit, your choice of eight colors, the amazingly distinctive looks and the satisfaction of knowing that you can blow just about anything – minus a $1.3 million dollar Veyron or an Ultima GTR (both of which you will never see on the road) – out of the water.
No one will touch you on the track either as this car can go round the corners like nothing else close to the same amount of money. It will destroy a Caterham and even take out such supercars as the Porsche Carrera GT and the Mercedes McLaren SLR. If you like getting a ton of attention when you drive your car, you will love driving this car. It might be prudent to pick up a helmet though because this car lacks any real windscreen and will make your face look like jelly when you put your foot in it (see Jeremy Clarkson video on the Internet).
If you like your cars to be different and want to be able to drive to the track or the autocross and be able to have a ton of fun and still have the dependability that comes with a Honda engine and gearbox, then an Ariel Atom 300 is for you. Just know that you won’t be taking any luggage with you though, because this car has no storage space whatsoever. But who cares. If you love cars, this is one that should be on your list too. The Ariel Atom 300 is one of the best new cars around and has a place reserved in my dream garage.
There is also a big V8 powered Atom with 500 horsepower out there (see pic below), but this seems like overkill, both on speed and on your tires.