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Breathtaking Performance: 2006 Ariel Atom 2

Colin Chapman is often credited with the design philosophy, “Simplify, then add lightness.” That makes me believe that he would have taken one look at the Ariel Atom and given it his seal of approval. These classics feature no creature comforts, minimal bodywork, and the superb engineering is there for all to see. This 2006 Atom 2 takes performance to a higher level courtesy of the supercharged four in its tail. It needs a new home, with the seller listing it here on eBay in Roseville, California. The seller set their BIN at $49,999, although there is the option to make an offer.

The Ariel Atom probably ticks the right boxes if you enjoy examining engineering purity. Its body features the bare minimum of panels, with its beautifully engineered tubular steel chassis serving as one of its styling highlights. Carefully designed and crafted, it offers torsional stiffness that many rivals could only dream of and is finished in flawless Silver. The plastic composite nose and engine cover feature a similar shade, with contrasting Dark Gray on several locations, including the fenders. There is nothing to fault with its overall presentation. Although it does feature individual windshields for each of its two occupants, goggles are advisable to ensure there is no danger posed by bugs or grit. The car rolls on 15″ Team Dynamics Racing lightweight alloy wheels, and the enormous scoop by the driver’s right ear indicates this is a pure performance machine.

This is as close as we get to seeing this Ariel’s engine, which is a shame. The Atom 2 derives its power from a 2.0-liter Chevrolet Ecotec four that benefits from a supercharger to pump out 300hp. Those ponies feed to the road via a six-speed manual transaxle, and with an overall weight of 1,430 lbs, acceleration is all you might expect from a package of this type. The seller’s claim that it can sprint from 0-60mph in 2.7 seconds fits with road test data of the period, while its ability to scorch the ¼-mile in 12.4 seconds places it in supercar territory. However, it isn’t a one-trick pony. It features sophisticated, fully adjustable double-wishbone suspension on all corners with pushrod-actuated dampers. Enormous four-wheel disc brakes allow the new and sticky 15″ tires to bring proceedings to a halt with a force of more than 1g. Therefore, the Atom 2 can be considered a total package at home on the strip or on sweeping mountain roads. This gem has a mere 2,969 miles on the clock and is in excellent mechanical health. It is a turnkey proposition for the new owner, but it would be worth checking with local authorities to confirm it is road-legal in your area.

When examining Atom’s interior, the minimalist approach and lack of creature comforts become apparent. Occupants are held in place by leather upholstered body-hugging racing seats with five-point harnesses. The passenger receives a foot brace for support during hard cornering, while the driver faces a clear gauge cluster through a suede-wrapped wheel with integrated shift lights. Forget power accessories and a powerful stereo because they aren’t even an option. Air conditioning? Unnecessary with the air flowing through the gaping holes in the tubular chassis. The overall condition is as good as it gets, with no evidence of wear or damage on the leather or wheel. The gauge lenses are crystal clear, and the minute console with its lidded bin is spotless.

The 2006 Ariel Atom 2 is an uncompromising classic focusing on pure performance. It contains none of the automotive tinsel associated with many sports cars and would show any vehicle within its price range a clean pair of heels in a straight line and on a twisting ribbon of tarmac. It won’t appeal to everyone, but if you dream of owning a car where comfort is not a first priority, this could be your ideal weapon. Are you tempted?


  1. Howie

    I will guess that when you drive this you need to carry backup underwear.

    Like 5
  2. George

    Dream car. This and a Cobra kit car in my garage will make retirement happy.

    Like 3
  3. Terrry

    Power to weight..does it every time, and I’d love to have this car as it ticks all the boxes for me.

    Like 0
  4. TheOldRanger

    Definitely not a “town” car… if you lived in the outer regions with an open highway, you might be ok. But this wouldn’t work for me living where I do.

    Like 1
  5. alphasud Member

    Don’t care what anyone else says this is as close to a race car for the street as any hypercar. I would also take the Nomad version for the off-road experience. I can’t think of anything better than a Sunday drive cutting up the curves on your favorite road in an Atom.

    Like 3
    • TheOldRanger

      Sorry, but car racing on streets is very juvenile and is quite dangerous for those in the area.

      Like 1
    • TheOldRanger

      Victoria Texas found a solution for street racing. They purchased an old landing strip from the military, and anyone who wants to race their cars go there. It’s a wide open area, great visibility, and lines striped for various racing distances. This way, they don’t have to worry about other cars except those racing. Too bad other towns don’t have the foresight to do this, and keep street racers off streets that weren’t made for them.

      Like 1
  6. Old greybeard

    Always across the country for something that would tempt me. Id sell my Olds, my bike, and hit my 401k to buy this. Could only imagine trying it at Watkins Glen.

    Like 2
  7. Mike

    Super low mileage for a 17 years old. Probably bought for the cool factor, ran only on nice days, realized they weren’t going to use it as much as they thought and then it sat for long periods of time. Same goes for the newer Mogan 3 wheelers.

    Like 1
  8. 370zpp 370zpp Member

    What a dune buggy aspires to be when it dreams.

    Like 0

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