Luxury Racecars: Jay Leno, America's most popular car collector and host of the Tonight Show, received the very first Ariel Atom 2 produced in the U.S. This little demon is an F1-inspired racecar that anyone can own. The Ariel Atom, which was first developed in 2000, is for one and only one type of driver - an unadulterated fiend for speed, performance, and fun! An entire page of emboldened exclamation points falls short of describing the giddiness and excitement this two-seat racecar delivers to an adrenaline junkie. The magnitude of the acceleration from driving this car around a track might just pull the skin right off of a face!
Brammo Motorsports is licensed to make the Atom Ariel 2 in the U.S. UK-based Ariel Motor Company produces the Atom abroad. The U.S. version deploys a General Motors' Ecotec 2.0 L SC engine, while Ariel uses a Honda IVTEC. Both engines produce around 300 horsepower, which does sound somewhat laid back for an asphalt rocket of this nature. However, with the Atom's weight just a tad over 1,000 pounds, the vehicle's weight to power ratio, 4.10 to 1, is comparable to the McLaren F1, the Bugatti Veyron 16.4, and the Ferrari Enzo. It goes from zero to 60 mph faster than you can say "Porsche Carrera" (2.8 seconds). The Bugatti Veyron 16.4, which costs $1.34 million, does it in 2.5 seconds. The Atom's price range is $35,000 to $75,000.
The car's chassis and body are one and the same. It has a tubular steel frame that houses two seats, four tires, two lights, a steering wheel, an engine, and, thankfully, an excellent set of brakes and safety belts. The perfect pitch of the engine is the Atom's sound system. There is no roof, windshields, and doors. When it accelerates, the aerodynamics from its low, wide shape, nose cone, rear-positioned engine, and front/rear double-wishbone suspension pushes the car down into the road to improve its stability.
Although the Atom is available in six colors, it is hard to call it a luxury toy. But since it is neither a street-legal vehicle nor an item available at Wal-Mart, it fits the bill. However, if purchased as a kit car and assembled correctly with all the extra goodies added on, it may be street legal in some states. But who cares? Driving this badass car on any road with restrictions or impositions would be outright perverse.
Simon Saunders, who has designed both cars and motorcycles for some very prestigious manufacturers, is the designer of the Ariel Atom. He set out to create a vehicle that gave drivers the thrill of a motorcycle with the safety of a car. Check out the videos on the company's Web site and see for yourself. Mr. Saunders is a bloody genius!
For LxM James Rothaar
Companies: Ariel Atom Motor Company Ltd./ Brammo Motorsports
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