The phrase ‘less is more’ is bandied about a lot, without much thought to its meaning - but it’s undeniably true of the Ariel Atom. Bodywork? No. Doors? No. Windscreen? Optional. This is enthusiastic motoring distilled to its purest form. There’s an engine behind you, a steering wheel in front of you and as few driver aids as possible to get in the way.
Since first hitting the market in 2000, the Atom has been powered by Rover K Series engines, various Honda VTEC units and even a bespoke 3.0-litre flat-plane 475hp V8 – though it’s a bit of a unicorn when it comes to finding one of those for sale.
Most Atoms have some form of Honda power unit slotted in behind the driver, ranging from 160hp to 320hp, with naturally aspirated, supercharged and, from 2018, turbocharging thanks to the installation of the latest K20 motor from the fifth-gen Honda Civic Type R.
While you can get versions with eye-popping power numbers (and sub-3-second-0-60mph sprints), with only around 500kg of car to hustle along, any Ariel Atom delivers a high-speed thrill ride. Just remember to put on your thermals if you’re going to be driving it in winter.