Giving the Nomad a star rating here is redundant, really, because the tally typically indicates the interior’s quality versus its rivals, and the Ariel has none.

What it is like – almost precisely the same, in fact – is the Atom, which means two seats, a whole heap of metalwork, a gearstick, some pedals, a formidable-looking steering wheel and a tiny, button-festooned instrument cluster behind it. The chief difference on our test car, and the reason for a few extra buttons on the dashboard (such as it is), is the windscreen, although even this is optional on the Atom.

Nic Cackett

Nic Cackett

Road tester
Listing the features of the Nomad’s spartan cabin is like cataloguing the innards of a Challenger tank: what’s there is less interesting than what it does, feels and looks like

Naturally, listing the features of the Nomad’s spartan cabin is like cataloguing the innards of a Challenger tank: what’s there is less interesting than what it does, feels and looks like. In this, an Ariel product is unlike much else you’ll ever get into.

This fact is made patently clear by the entry procedure, which can be achieved quickly only via a feet-first dive through the side or else a clamber over the top, followed by freefall into the seat.

Neither is outrageously difficult, but you do rather suspect that, like a new pair of skinny-fit Diesel jeans, the Nomad isn’t going to be the right shape for everyone. That also goes for the seats, which do tend to punish the spinal column of anyone not blessed with the figure of a 1950s air stewardess.

Nevertheless, if you can make your peace with both, Ariel’s austere cockpit is a splendid place to sit. The £1794 addition of the windscreen means that a helmet isn’t necessarily required (although we’d recommend sunglasses, given the breeze at speed or the splatter potential elsewhere), which, in turn, means that without realising it, your mindset is tweaked from go-faster tunnel vision to panoramic fun-a-scope.

The layout and the brilliantly exposed mechanical nature of it all do the rest. Better still, it looks just as good plastered in muck and sweat.

Top 5 Lightweights

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  • Morgan 3 Wheeler
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  • Caterham Seven
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  • Ariel Atom
    The Ariel Atom is superbike-fast, and as exhilarating as cars get

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