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Ashland, Oregon != Modena, Italy

22 July 2004
Los Gatos Mountains, Ca.

The Ariel Atom is old news, but according to this, they're now building them in Ashland, Oregon. I lived there for a few years, and it's a great town, but I find this statement to be ridiculous:

"Company founder and CEO Craig Bramscher says it is all part of his master plan to make Ashland “the Modena of America.”



Zany Prodigy
Ariel atom is light and fast, and light. Very very light...


AutoWeek | Published 02/19/06, 11:21 pm et

BASE PRICE: $35,000 (est.)
POWERTRAIN: 2.0-liter, 205-hp, 200-lb-ft I4; rwd, five-speed manual
CURB WEIGHT: 1005.5 lbs
0 TO 60 MPH: 3.0 seconds (est.)

This is not the car they feared you would want back in high school driver’s ed—if only because no American authority figure could ever imagine a vehicle like this.

For something as zany as the Ariel Atom, you simply have to turn to England.

Except Ariel Atoms are now being manufactured in Ashland, Oregon. And Americans can buy them. At least seven already have, according to the company, and the order backlog now stands at 180 days, or nearly 50 cars.

Yes, it is possible to make an Atom street legal here—even in California.

We are not making this up.

GM and Brammo engineers test the oh-so-minimalist Atom in Phoenix, while the Oregon factory is at full capacity churning out copies of the tiny supercar.

The Atom, a tiny, lightweight, incredibly rapid child of eccentric (not to say fevered) British genius, is now serving as the debut product of new American company Brammo Motorsports. Brammo’s goal is to make and market by the end of this year an all-American supercar named the Rogue GT, powered by an all-American V12 engine displacing 600 cubic inches and producing 1100 hp without blowers, more with.

Company founder and CEO Craig Bramscher says it is all part of his master plan to make Ashland “the Modena of America.”


Let’s leave the larger Brammo story for another time and focus here on the Atom. If the name Ariel rings a bell, it is probably because you like classic English motorcycles and admire the Ariel Square Four. The linear descendant of the grand old firm is now owned by Simon Saunders, an innovative designer with a starkly evident taste for minimalism.

Saunders’ Atom is a road-going formula racer with two sketchy, stark-naked seats and the power-to-weight ratio of, oh, a howitzer shell.

As there is no bodywork worth mentioning, you can see the chassis is an immensely rigid steel space-frame with the artful curves of the first Cooper Formula One cars. Also right out there in plain sight is the racerish suspension, with everything exposed to your itchy adjusting fingers. Wheelbase is a scant 92.3 inches; weight, an even scanter 1005.5 pounds, according to the factory.


Powertrain? No, it’s not from a motorcycle, as in other approximately similar contraptions. For your Atom you may choose between two 2.0-liter-class automobile engines, a Honda iVTEC in normal U.K. spec or, as preferred by Brammo, a General Motors Ecotec made in Germany (GM and Bramscher have a friendly relationship).

Each 16-valve motor is rated at a bit more than 200 hp in base trim, substantially more with tuning and/or turbos. With 245 hp, the 0-to-60-mph time is “well under three seconds,” according to Bramscher. He is about to visit the GM proving grounds with a 300-hp model.

The power level is really up to you and your credit standing, because the Atom is sold either as an off-road-only turnkey vehicle for track-day use, or as a kit-built vehicle, which is how it can be legal on the highway.

Bramscher is concentrating on turnkey cars for now, but he knows of “three or four” kit versions from England that are registered in California, and he is willing to offer “a gentleman’s kit.”That means, “We supply everything [including the powertrain]; you can build it in a weekend.”

How much? A base model can be yours for about $35,000, but a lot of people can’t seem to hold back; some are spending upward of $80,000.

Yes, really. See arielatom.com or brammo.com and check out the details for yourself. You’re in line behind us.
I had some fun on the motorway over here in England with one of these last week in my 3.2 NSX, lets just say it is stupidly quick, also looks very odd on the roads!

They also sounds fantastic. I've seen quite a few in the last year, but the Japanese spec K20 really flies in this thing.

The CEO is neurotic, but GAWD I LUV THAT TOY!!!!

too bad its so heavy. I want 1000lbs or less.:wink: :biggrin: :biggrin: