Ariel Motor: A Legacy of Innovation

Ariel Motor Company, a British manufacturer, has carved a niche in the automotive industry with its reputation for cutting-edge design and engineering. This article delves into Ariel’s history, the key figures who shaped its success, the iconic vehicles that cemented its legacy, and its promising future.

The Visionary Behind Ariel

Ariel is a British vehicle company with a long history dating back to the 1800s. They started with bicycles and progressed to motorcycles and cars. Ariel was a prominent name in motorsports and their vehicles were known for innovation and lightweight design. After World War II, Ariel focused on motorcycles and produced several successful models, such as the Red Hunter and the Square 4. The company declined in the 1970s but was revived in the 1990s. The modern Ariel is known for high-performance, lightweight sports cars like the Atom and the Nomad. They are also developing electric vehicles like the Atom 4.

Ariel Motor’s Founder

In 1999, Simon Saunders, a design engineer with a passion for cars and racing, founded Ariel Motor. Saunders, a former engineer at Lotus and Aston Martin, brought a wealth of experience and expertise to the table. His vision was to create a high-performance, lightweight sports car that delivered an exceptional driving experience.

The first brainchild of this vision was the Ariel Atom. This lightweight, open-top car was designed for pure driving pleasure. Its minimalist design and exceptional handling made it an instant hit among enthusiasts. The Atom quickly established Ariel as a significant player in the sports car market.

Key Personalities: The Guiding Force

Ariel’s success stems from the contributions of many key individuals. Here are some of them:

  • Simon Saunders, with his unwavering passion and expertise, played a pivotal role in shaping the company’s vision and direction.
  • Tom Siebert, the chief engineer, was responsible for designing some of the company’s most groundbreaking cars, including the Nomad. His engineering prowess has positioned Ariel as a leader in automotive design and engineering.
  • James Randle, a former Lotus chief engineer, brought his experience in high-performance vehicle design to the development of the Atom. His insights were instrumental in refining Atom’s handling and performance, ensuring it delivered the thrilling driving experience Ariel envisioned.
  • Mark Harrison, who served as managing director from 2006 to 2014, steered the company through a period of significant growth. His leadership and astute decisions were crucial in expanding the company’s global presence and solidifying its position as a respected sports car manufacturer.

A Legacy of Iconic Cars

Over the years, Ariel has produced a string of remarkable models, each contributing to the brand’s heritage.

The Atom

Ariel Atom

Atom is a sports car that focuses on providing an unmatched driving experience. It was created to be minimalistic and aerodynamic. Its unique open-top style, sophisticated engineering, and powerful engine were a hit among sports car fans. The Atom was a significant player in the automobile industry and remained a classic car in the 21st Century.

The Atom is more than just a car; it’s an extension of yourself. With a wide range of options, you can tailor the Atom to your exact specifications, from engine upgrades and suspension packages to brakes and wheels. Whether you desire a thrilling road car or a track weapon, the Atom can be configured to meet your needs.

The Atom boasts a lightweight steel chassis for rigidity and safety, paired with a powerful Honda K20C1 2.0-litre turbo engine. Inboard pushrod suspension ensures optimal handling on both road and track. Composite body panels and other weight-saving measures contribute to the Atom’s exceptional performance.

The Atom embodies the philosophy of “less is more.” It prioritises performance and agility, eliminating unnecessary features like a roof, doors, or cupholders. Every element is meticulously designed and beautifully crafted to deliver an unforgettable driving experience.

  • The Atom 2: The Atom 2, its successor, arrived with a more powerful engine and a more robust chassis, further solidifying its popularity among racing enthusiasts and car aficionados alike.
  • The Atom 3: The Atom 3, launched in 2011, incorporated several improvements, including a unique design, enhanced suspension, and a more powerful engine, solidifying its place as one of the most exciting sports cars available.

The Nomad

The Nomad is a high-performance off-road vehicle designed for adventure on any terrain. It goes beyond the capabilities of a traditional sports car, tackling everything from twisty roads to deserts and even rally stages.

Each Nomad is hand-crafted to your specifications. A wide range of options are available, including winches, spotlights, engine upgrades, suspension variations, wheels, and tyres. Ariel works with you to create the perfect Nomad for your off-road needs and personal style.

The Nomad boasts a bronze-welded steel chassis for superior strength and safety. Long-travel suspension and tough body panels ensure durability and capability on any terrain. A powerful Honda engine delivers reliable performance wherever you roam.

The Nomad embodies the core principles of Ariel: meticulous design, top-notch engineering, and an unwavering commitment to driver enjoyment. Just like the Atom, the Nomad promises an exhilarating adventure with a signature “Ariel grin” on your face.

Following the tradition of lightweight design, the Nomad prioritizes agility over brute force. It navigates challenging terrain with ease, allowing you to explore with confidence.

The Ace

The Ace is a high-performance motorcycle designed for customisation and rider connection. It breaks away from conventional motorcycles, prioritising the rider’s emotional experience. Its core is a unique, hand-welded aluminium frame meticulously crafted over 70 hours. This engineering masterpiece is a testament to Ariel’s commitment to quality and visual appeal.

The Ace isn’t just a motorcycle; it’s an extension of you. With a wide range of options, you can personalise your Ace to fit your riding style, from seats and handlebars to exhausts and bodywork. Ariel offers a bespoke build system, ensuring your Ace is truly one-of-a-kind.

The Ace boasts a powerful 1237cc Honda V4 engine, capable of exhilarating speeds or a comfortable cruise. Standard features include ABS, switchable traction control, and shaft drive. Each Ace is hand-built by a single technician who takes pride in their work. This passion for motorcycles translates into a truly unique and exceptional riding experience.

Limited Edition Models: A Commitment to Excellence

The company’s commitment to excellence extends to their limited-edition models, such as the Atom V8 and Atom 500. These vehicles are meticulously crafted to the highest standards of engineering and performance, showcasing Ariel’s dedication to pushing the boundaries.

The Impact of Ariel Cars on the Automotive Industry

While renowned for their innovative spirit and engineering excellence, Ariel Motors‘ impact on the automotive industry extends far beyond. Their unwavering commitment to lightweight design and cutting-edge engineering has become a source of inspiration for other automakers, prompting them to explore similar approaches in achieving performance goals.

A Benchmark for Lightweight Performance

Many high-performance cars today embody the influence of Ariel’s minimalist design philosophy and lightweight construction techniques. The iconic Atom, in particular, has become a benchmark for lightweight sports cars, with its design principles echoed in numerous other models across the industry.

Pioneering Electric Performance

Ariel has also established itself as a leader in the development of electric sports cars, a segment gaining significant traction as automakers seek to reduce emissions and enhance efficiency. Their commitment to sustainability and continuous innovation are helping to shape the future of the automotive landscape, inspiring others to embrace new technologies and prioritise environmentally friendly solutions.

Beyond Technology: Cultivating a Culture of Enthusiasm

Ariel’s impact extends beyond the realm of automotive technology. Their reputation for innovation and excellence has cultivated a devoted following among car enthusiasts who deeply appreciate the company’s relentless pursuit of delivering the best possible driving experience.

A Legacy of Inspiration

Undeniably, Ariel has been a force to be reckoned with in the automotive industry. Their lasting impact will continue to be felt for years to come. As they tirelessly push boundaries and innovate, they inspire others to challenge the status quo and redefine what’s possible on four wheels.

Ariel: A Bright Future

Ariel Motor: A Legacy of Innovation

Ariel’s future is bright, fueled by continuous innovation and a commitment to pushing boundaries in automotive design and engineering. The company has ambitious plans to expand its product range with a strong emphasis on developing electric sports cars. Additionally, they plan to enter the racing world with a new car specifically designed for the FIA’s electric GT racing series.

Throughout its history, Ariel has distinguished itself through its focus on lightweight engineering and innovative construction techniques. This commitment has positioned them as a leader in the high-performance and innovative sports car segment, and they are poised to maintain this position in the evolving automotive landscape.

Embracing Sustainability: Electric and Hybrid Cars

Ariel is placing a strong focus on electric and hybrid sports cars for the future. The Ariel Atom 4, an electric version of the Atom, is a testament to this commitment. Equipped with a 150 kW motor and a 350-kilometer range, the Atom 4 exemplifies the company’s dedication to environmentally friendly transportation and willingness to embrace new technologies.

Beyond Electric Vehicles: Exploring New Frontiers

While electric and hybrid vehicles are a key focus, Ariel is actively exploring new manufacturing methods and materials with an unwavering commitment to further weight reduction. Their advancements in lightweight construction extend beyond traditional methods, as they investigate the use of carbon fibre and advanced composite materials to further minimise vehicle weight and waste.

Revving Up the Electric Racing Circuit

Adding another chapter to their racing legacy, Ariel has revealed plans to develop a sports car specifically designed for the FIA’s new electric GT racing series. This highly anticipated series is scheduled to debut in 2023, featuring electric sports cars competing in thrilling endurance races. Ariel’s experience in lightweight construction, coupled with their advanced engineering expertise, positions them perfectly for success in this new electric racing frontier.

A Brand Built on Innovation and Performance

Ariel has cultivated a strong brand image by consistently pushing boundaries and developing exciting new vehicles. Their unwavering dedication to delivering the ultimate driving experience has fostered a devoted following among car enthusiasts. As they embrace the electric future, Ariel is poised to continue their legacy of innovation and performance, captivating a new generation of drivers.


Ariel Motor has earned its reputation as a manufacturer of some of the most innovative and thrilling sports cars available. Their unwavering commitment to lightweight design, cutting-edge engineering, and superior craftsmanship has resulted in iconic vehicles that define the 21st-century driving experience. As they move forward with plans to enter racing and expand their product line, Ariel is poised to not only maintain their leadership position but also redefine the future of sports cars.

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