In the past, if you were to take one of Ariel Motor Company’s products off-road, you’d end up with one very mangled track car and a repair bill about as steep as the Atom is speedy.
And that’s to say – very. But next year that’s all about to change. Ariel is putting the finishing touches on this, the Nomad, a two-wheel drive off-roader described by Ariel boss Simon Saunders as the “Atom’s mucky brother.”
And apparently we won’t have to wait long to see one. The UK’s Autocar revealed that the Nomad will break cover on Jan. 6, just ahead of the Autosport International Show in Birmingham, England.
According to Autocar, the Nomad retains many of the features that have made the Atom such a revolutionary design. The lightweight two seater is claimed to weigh in around 1500 pounds, a mere fraction of the weight of today’s hefty off-road vehicles.
It will carry over a modified exoskeletal chassis as well as the standard instrumentation, pedals, wiring, and switches from the current Atom. However, in order to deal with rough off-road terrain, the Nomad tacks on bespoke long-travel suspension, an increased ride height, knobby tires, and a heavy duty roll cage.
“We’ve done quite a bit of testing on forest tracks and rally stages,” commented Saunders’ son Henry to Autocar, “and results have been extremely encouraging.”
An alleged 200 horsepower will flow from a 2.4-liter Honda four-cylinder (perhaps a similar unit to the US-spec Atom 3) to the rear wheels through a Honda six-speed manual gearbox, aided by a mechanical limited slip differential.
Prototypes have been testing on 15-inch alloy wheels and 235/70 tires, though a number of wheel and rubber combinations will likely be available later.