As makers of bizarre automotive fripperies go, Ariel keeps on kicking, and a new Nomad all-terrain buggy promises to translate some of its Atom sibling‘s track capabilities to the muddy stuff. Perhaps best known for twisting Jeremy Clarkson’s face into a wind sock, the Atom is a sparsely-clad, hand-built racer for the road, and so the Ariel Nomad won’t stray too far from that equation. Due to be officially unveiled on January 6th, 2015, it gets a boosted roll-cage, new engine, and meatier wheels on longer-travel suspension to make going off-road more fun.
The Atom hasn’t been changed much in its years of production, giving the Nomad a solid place to start from before it tackles the mud. The ladder frame is carried over, hand-welded but with an improved chassis that has been extended upwards into a more comprehensive roll-cage.
Longer-travel suspension is also on the cards, and there’ll be more bodywork this time: tough composite covers for the underside and the suspension covers, and a choice of wheel, frame, hood, and engine cover colors. There’ll also be a windshield: that may sound like an odd thing to highlight, but it’s something the Atom has done without for some time.
Perhaps most controversial, however, will be the drive system. Honda is donating a 2.4-liter gas engine and a six-speed manual transmission, but putting its power – expected to be in the ballpark of 200HP – down via a mechanical limited-slip differential and two-wheel drive.
More advanced diff options will be on the order sheet, but right now there’s no talk from Ariel about an AWD option.
“We’re looking forward to discovering how it performs in genuine off-road conditions – in mud or crawling over rocks – compared with a traditional 4×4,” Ariel chief Simon Saunders told Autocar UK. According to the car company boss, the prototypes have “done quite a bit of testing on forest tracks and rally stages, and results have been extremely encouraging.”
Helping there will be the ridiculously low curb weight, with the Nomad expected to finish up in the ballpark of 700kg (1,540 pounds). A choice of wheels, among other options, will be offered.
Final pricing is yet to be confirmed, but Ariel expects the entry-level Nomad to come in at under £30k in the UK ($47k); orders will be taken in January and deliveries should begin midway through 2015.
Where that leaves the US – where the Atom 3 starts at $64,500 – is unclear, though it’s not hard to see the concept of the Nomad going down well.
VIA Autocar UK