A vist to Ariel Atom
Published August 19, 2010 (Updated: August 19, 2010)
If you say Ã¢AtomÃ¢ to a regular person, they will think of the atom bomb, if you say Atom to a petrol head, then they will crack a smile wider than the Nile Delta and understand what youÃ¢re talking about.
The Ariel Atom is basically a metal frame that can be propelled to extremely high speed with the assistance of a supercharged Honda 4 pot engine, it is capable of reaching a top speed of 230kph per hour and delivering smiles that make your face ache.
When we first heard of Ariel AtomÃ¢s plans to open shop in China, we were quiet hesitant, after all who in their right mind would buy a car that has no doors, no roof, and a large price tag? Well for once, we were proven wrong as the Chinese race scene increases in accordance with the popularity of racing events in China, more people are interested in getting into affordable racing themselves. The KTM X-Bow was recently introduced into China, its price tag is unknown and is rumoured to be in the million RMB marker, whilst the Radical range of cars which is based on a membership fee is likely to be high as well. On the other hand, there is the Ariel Atom which costs in the region of 400,000 to 500,000rmb and comes with a long pedigree of face changing abilities, just check out the famous Jeremy Clarkson video for more information (Youku link for Chinese viewers)
So late last week, were able to visit the Chinese Ariel factory which has only just opened but is aiming high in the Chinese market. The factory was announced in late 2007 but due to construction and preparing for production, the cars only just came down the line in December 2009.
The factory is small, but has large potential to supply ChinaÃ¢s weekend race warriors, one of the big drawbacks to the factory is that they are currently only able to produce track cars but are hoping to build road legal cars once they receive government approval to do so. Sales are currently made to order and several dozen units have already been shipped out of the doors of the Qingdao based factory to consumers all over china for weekend use one of ChinaÃ¢s many race tracks.
Other Atoms are in development here, but we will have to wait and see what these actually are.