Ariel Nomad makes a crazy buggy from Atom racer

26 Dec 2014 | Author: | No comments yet »

Ariel Goes Crazy, Builds the Nomad, a Nuttier Atom.

The stripped-down speedster features a steel ladder frame with full roll cage, long-travel suspension and weighs just 1,500 pounds. Somewhere in the world, an Ariel Atom owner is probably lamenting the all-too real possibility that taking out his Atom on the beaten path would lead to destroying his track car.Described by Ariel Motor Company boss Simon Saunders as being the “Atom’s mucky brother”, the new two-wheel drive Nomad comes with a significantly higher ground clearance and has chunky tires suitable for off-roading.Somerset-based motor vehicle manufacturer, Ariel Motors, has revealed its newest creation christened the ‘Ariel Nomad’ ahead of its debut at the Autosport International – an annual four-day motor show held in Birmingham, UK. It’s powered by a 2.4-liter Honda four cylinder with about 200 hp, according to Autocar, that should be more than enough to make it one quick machine, in the spirit of the company’s lightweight Atom track car.

For those who don’t, its recipe is fairly simply: take a lightweight, tubular chassis, install little more that some seats, a steering wheel, pedals and gauges, and drop in a 2.0-liter Honda i-VTEC engine with 245 horsepower to create a giant killer. Its sole product, the track-focused Atom, is a featherweight skeleton of a hand-assembled chassis capable of delivering a punch several classes stronger. Ariel has been testing the concept model with 15-inch alloy wheels in 235/70 tires, but the production vehicle will get a wide variety of wheel + tire combos. The things that the Ariel Atom can do are stunning when looking at the specification sheet, but on January 6, 2015, Ariel will take its company a whole new direction using the same recipe for awesomeness. The Atom is so bare-bones that it’s barely legal for use in the United States and other countries as a roadgoing vehicle, let alone a trackday machine—but that just makes it more desirable.

The Nomad is basically an extreme dune buggy and is the off-road version of the Atom, right down to its skeletal design and stomach-churning performance capabilities. Ariel Nomad performance is believed to come from a Honda-sourced 4-cylinder 2.4-liter tuned 200 bhp (149 kW) with six-speed manual gearbox also provided by the Japanese company, the vehicle also come with a mechanical limited slip differential offered as standard equipment but more high-tech systems will be available at an additional cost. So, leave it to Ariel to devise the Nomad: an another object of desire that includes everything that makes the Atom unique, with an added go-anywhere twist. It appears as if Ariel jacked up the suspension, added tons of suspension travel, tossed on some knobby tires, installed a brush bar and placed a tubular frame over the cabin to keep those “oops, we’re upside down” moments a little safer. Henry Saunders, son of Ariel founder Saul, told Autocar that “we’ve done quite a bit of testing on forest tracks and rally stages,” hoping that the rear-wheel-drive Nomad will be able to compete with four-wheel-drive competitors.

Power will be routed to the rear wheels only, which may make some traditional off roaders worry about its ability to perform, but those who know dune buggies know that four-wheel drive isn’t necessary for the kind of balls-to-the-wall driving that these rigs are built for. Sure, four-wheel drive will get you out of mud or snow, but it limits the buggy’s agility, adds unnecessary weight and isn’t really needed with all the weight mostly laying over the driven axle. Those frames are more than just cosmetic designs; they’ve been reinforced to integrate rollover protection whenever the Nomad gets a little sideways. Rally lights on the roof, the brush guard up front, and the spare tire resting comfortably at the back of the car round out the exterior features of the Nomad.

There should also be a handful of toggles, switches, and dials mounted and/or integrated into the dashboard, each serving their own specific purpose to help customize the Nomad’s driving ability in different road conditions. Ariel hasn’t announced the specific engine it will use on the Nomad, although Autocar hinted that the Atom’s “mucky brother” could receive a 2.4-liter engine that can pump out around 200 horsepower to go with low-end torque figures. The Nomad also stands to receive a mechanical limited-slip differential and Honda’s six-speed manual transmission that would send power to the vehicle’s two rear wheels. Siebert-Saunders touched on that during his conversation with Autocar, saying that while the car can be “quick and stable” as a two-wheel-drive, it’s still working on developing the Nomad to be the four-wheel-drive powerhouse it’s meant to be. Those interested in the vehicle can begin placing orders in January 2015 and should expect to see their purchases arrive sometime in the middle of 2015.

Granted, KTM ’s already got a long lineup of motorcycles, but what it hasn’t done is make a full-blow sports car, similar to how Ariel is only making its maiden voyage into the world of track-focused off-road vehicles.

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