This one has been intriguing me most: “Slightly tongue in cheek, I say we could make a chauffeur-driven limousine. It’s a long way from an Ariel Atom and we might only make four a year, but hopefully it’d be the best-driving limo you could buy because it’s designed for the job.”
Saunders was emphasising that Ariel could make a variety of vehicles, rather than being entirely serious. But in an age where start-ups routinely arrive touting a new supercar or a lightweight sports car – in what are congested, established markets – only to disappear once the limited budget runs out a few months later, I am longing for someone to try it and make it wilfully different.
I imagine it’d be electrically powered, with a near-silent and small range-extending engine pocketed somewhere far from the occupants. I imagine air suspension and an aluminium spaceframe, although not necessarily with the long bonnet – or any bonnet – necessitated by a large-capacity V8 or V12. In terms of materials and design, I imagine it being wildly different inside, doing what only concept cars have so far been allowed to do.
Yes, it would be more expensive to develop than a plastic-bodied sports car and, sure, you wouldn’t sell them by the hundred and it would cost a lot to assemble. But it would cost rather a lot more to buy, too.
“If you do what the big manufacturers can’t, daren’t, won’t, or aren’t interested in, that’s our niche,” says Saunders. Ariel already has other things than a limo to concern itself with. But I’d love to see someone try to make it work.