A scarier version of the Ariel Atom that almost bended Clarkson's face got sold
And this wasn't made by Ariel
Back in their Top Gear days, the Grand Tour trio tested cars of various magnitudes. Some would scare the living hell out of them. Some would let out a cheeky laugh or plaster a permanent grin on their face. And then, some almost took their face-off. The Ariel Atom belongs to that last category, and this 3S version has just been auctioned at an alarming price.
Sold by online auction website Bring A Trailer, this 2016 track toy with just 846 miles on the clock went under the hammer for a whopping $79,000. The unaware might even mock the owner for buying some scaffolding on wheels with a pair of lookalike spoilers attached to the front and the rear. However, I believe a 2.9-second ride in a straight line should be enough for the cynic to think again.
Additionally, this particular Ariel Atom might even perplex certain enthusiasts. While the exoskeletal-bodied track weapon enjoys the similar silhouette as the car Clarkson drove on the Top Gear test track, this appears to be a slightly different, more aggressive beast.
This is a 2016 Ariel Atom 3S, made not in Europe but America. It gets manufactured by an Atom Motor Company-licensed firm from Virginia called TMI AutoTech, specifically for the stars and stripes laden western market. Unlike Clarkson’s vehicle which came with a supercharged Honda engine and no windscreen, this comes with a turbocharged 2.4-litre inline-four Honda engine and a windshield.
When launched in 2015, the Atom 3S was the second most powerful variant ever to be released with 365 hp and 420Nm of torques. The six-speed gearbox had to be operated manually with all the power being sent to the rear wheels while being invigilated by a limited-slip differential. Get the shifts right, and you’re looking at a 0-62mph time of just 2.9 seconds. That’s Ferrari F8 Tributo speed at almost 1/4th the price!
Fortunately, the previous owner who commissioned this 3S saw the Top Gear review, which is probably why he opted for the Lexan side panels and the glass windshield. The minuscule side mirrors are also a good options check, considering this Atom was registered for road use. And finally, the satin black body panels with red accents denote the owner’s sporty ambitions with whatever body he could find on the car.
If the Atom doesn’t deliver much on body panels, it claims to make up for it substantially via providing driving pleasure. Part of that comes down to the i-VTEC engine mentioned above, JRi adjustable dampers, four-piston Alcon callipers and slotted rotors, 15-inch Toyo tires up front and 16-inch for the rear and an exoskeletal body to provide the driver with a live view of the car’s mechanical operations as he drives along.
To experience sheer speed and ‘driving nirvana’, motoring journalists claim not many sports cars and even supercars can measure up against it. However, if you feel its still a very expensive experience, you should take a look at the other 3S listings put up on the Ariel website. Most of them retail at over the $100,000 mark, which suddenly makes this a slightly better deal. And to add the cherry on top, the previous owner is said to have complied with the Honda break-in recommendations of not driving the car on the track for the first 800 miles. So, the buyer practically got himself a warmed-up track car.