"If we can put a smile on people's faces, on road or off it, we have done our job." That's Ariel boss
ambition for his company, one it aims to enhance with the fantastically crazy Nomad. You sense somehow the smiles will continue...
Extreme scrumping, Somerset style
Apparently the concept of an 'Atom with knobbly tyres' has been in consideration for a while between both staff and customers. The Nomad therefore uses the recognisable Ariel perimeter space frame, of course now with roll over protection and a cage. Ariel claims 'enormous structural rigidity' for the Nomad and, if you don't fancy orange, the space frame can be painted any colour you want.
Ariel's longstanding powertrain relationship with Honda has been utilised for the Nomad as well. It uses the 2.4-litre engine already found in some Atoms with performance characteristics tuned 'for use in an off-road vehicle'. Tweaks to the inlet and exhaust have yielded 238hp (235bhp) and 221lb ft. Weighing just 670kg, a 0-60mph time of 'around 3.5 seconds' and a top speed of 125mph are claimed. Power goes to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox and limited-slip differential (other diffs will be available depending on intended use).
Yes please, yes please, yes please...
Ariel claims the low weight of the Nomad will give it an advantage over four-wheel drive rivals and of course makes it less complex too. Furthermore, it has been tested on rally stages, rock falls and off-road race tracks to prove its credentials. Ariel says the Nomad has 300mm of ground clearance with front approach and departure angles of 71 and 82 degrees respectively. Outboard dampers developed with Bilstein have been valved for road comfort with off-road ability too but are easily adjustable as well. Five tyre choices (road, all terrain, mud terrain, gravel/forest rally and sand/paddle) are available with wheels from 15- to 18-inch. Track day on a Saturday and off-road on a Sunday?
What bodywork the Nomad has is designed to be 'virtually unbreakable' and the interior can be hosed down as well. It's ready for whatever you can throw at it! If a customer is so inclined, a windscreen and full weather equipment are available. The zippable roll up protection for over and around the car is a big step for the company - it will be the first Ariel with a roof!
It's a Tamiya buggy you can drive yourself!
One final thing, just in case the Nomad hasn't won you over yet. Ariel wants to race it. The possibility of rallying, autocross and rallycross are already being considered which would surely make for an incredible spectacle. Head of Nomad development Henry Siebert Saunders said: "It's early days but I want to see Nomads competing in as many forms of motorsport as possible, from local club racing to international level." This we need to see.
Ariel will show the Nomad at the Autosport show this week and will take orders ahead of production beginning in the spring. The cost? £27,500 plus VAT and before any of the options. We will be begging Ariel for a drive as soon as possible!
Official Ariel testing video here