An absolutely brilliant idea.
Set to debut next month at Autosport International, Autocar has just received official information and a couple of images of something that's, well, totally awesome. Ariel Motor Company, creators of the absolutely nuts Atom, has a new project, the Nomad. Call it the "Atom's mucky brother." Go on. "We've done quite a bit of testing on forest tracks and rally stages," stated an Ariel official. "(The) results have been extremely encouraging. We know the car is quick and stable. But it's still a two-wheel-drive vehicle.
We're looking forward to discovering how it performs in genuine off-road conditions – in mud or crawling over rocks – compared with a traditional 4x4." We may have just found a new love. The Nomad has a modified version of the Atom's chassis that's been (obviously) reinforced. There's also a rollover structure and, to Jeremy's Clarkson's chagrin, a windshield that'll prevent one's face from being blown away. But in this case you'll want something to protect your head from mud and rocks. Interestingly, the Nomad is still a two-wheel-drive vehicle, but there's a wide-tracked and all-independent suspension.
Power comes from a Honda-sourced four-cylinder (likely a 2.4-liter unit) mounted transversely behind the driver and passenger. A six-speed manual is also there along with a mechanical limited-slip differential. Prototypes are being tested with 15-inch alloys but the production version will be offered with a greater variety of wheel/tire combos. Yes, a production version. Ariel has every intention of producing the Nomad. With total weight at just a tad over 1,500 pounds, the Ariel Nomad, if all goes to plan, will have a starting price of around $45,000.