In October of 1996, the original Ariel Atom was introduced at the British International Motor Show. The vehicle gained immediate attention due to both it’s unique looks and impressive performance. The Atom is built with an exoskeleton design. While most cars cover the supporting structures of the chassis with body panels, the Atom lays it all out in the open and gives the car a total weight of 1100 pounds. When that light weight is coupled with a powerful engine, some incredible things can happen.
The original Atom was powered by a 2.0-liter supercharged four-cylinder Honda engine, the same one found in the Civic Type-R. This engine produced 300 bhp and allowed the Atom to go from 0-to-60 in under 3 seconds. Since that time, the Atom has undergone a few evolutions, first as the Atom 2 and now the Atom 3. While the Atom 3 already features incredible power and handling, Ariel wasn’t about to sit on their laurels.
That’s where the Atom 500 V8 come into play. As the name suggest, this special edition of the Atom 3 is powered by a V8 engine that produces 500 bhp. That power means that the vehicle has close to 1,000 bhp per ton of body weight, a ratio that is better than many much more expensive supercars on the market. Official specifications haven’t yet been released about the Atom 500′s performance, but considering that the 300 bhp model can reach 60 mph in less than 3 seconds and 100 mph in less than 7 seconds, the Atom 500 is sure to be a powerhouse.
The Ariel Atom 3 is produced at the company’s Somerset, England location and under license in the United States by TMI AutoTech Inc, but the Atom 500 is currently set to only be produced in a limited run at the Somerset location.