We needed an Ariel Atom this week. Logistically, I mean (spiritually, we need one all the time).
Normally, as a circuit is often involved in such things, the car appears at the allotted time and place aboard a truck. But as our dalliance with it is longer this time, and mostly road based, I delivered myself to Somerset; partly to save Ariel the bother and partly to spend more time with the 245 – the non-supercharged and therefore entry-level version of its spartan track-smasher.
The firm’s HQ is situated slap-bang in West Country heaven, a stone’s throw from the kind of villages that you usually only encounter on the lids of shortbread biscuit tins.
There’s nothing quaint about Ariel’s facility, though. Not for it the stereotypical disarray of the cottage car industry, either – in conspicuously well-ordered redbrick buildings, the Atoms are hand-assembled on vigorously swept tiled floors, and could hardly look cooler or more cutting edge if they were Apple-branded moon buggies.
Tom, Ariel’s general manager and all-round good egg admits that in fact most of the workforce are beavering elsewhere on the new bike – very recently revealed, and set for its public debut at Goodwood this weekend.