When it comes to the Atom’s design, function is king. No other production car puts raw engineering so blatantly on display. It’s easy to admire the depth of Ariel's engineering and detail, even on the company’s more modest models. If you like fabrications, its exoskeletal steel frame is a thing of some beauty.
While the base Ariel Atom models get electric TIG welds in the engine bay, Arch Motors bronze weld all areas of the chassis on the range-topping V8 (which is also demarked from its brethren by gold painted tubing).
Whichever model you buy, everything hangs from this skeleton. Attached to the relatively wide (by specialist car standards) chassis are unequal-length double wishbones front and rear, with pushrods all round activating adjustable coilover spring/damper units. There’s minimal bodywork, which contributes to a relatively small fully-fuelled weight.
There’s joy to be had from admiring what isn’t there, too. The Atom is a minimalist’s dream. Doors? Just finely welded chassis stays. Weather gear? Just the small holes drilled into the seat and floor. Fancy gearlever? Not a bit of it – just a plain, stubby gearstick or diddy wheel-mounted shift paddles that, despite being carbonfibre, are still drilled for lightness. There are two small and surprisingly effective wind deflectors. A windscreen is an option that adds weight, complexity and ugliness. The beauty of the Atom lies in its simplicity.