When the Ariel Atom was first created, it was heralded as a brilliant design. Sure, it looked like a motorcycle engine strapped to two pieces of scaffolding, but the fully adjustable racecar-based suspension and superior build quality complimented the asphalt-crushing speed beautifully. As the car evolved over the last decade, minor improvements were made but the essence of the car has remained the same. Even with the top-of-the-line supercharged Honda K20, the Atom produced 300bhp, giving it an obscene power-to-weight ratio of 650bhp/ton. In its 300bhp guise, the Atom was capable of shadowing even the swiftest supercar around the track.
So why is 500 horsepower necessary in a 1000 pound car, you ask? Well…sometimes cars exist just because they can, not because they need to. The Atom V8 is proof enough of that, upping the ante to 500bhp and displaying a formidable amount of never before seen custom parts by Ariel: carbon fiber body panels and aerofoils, chromoly aerofoil wishbones, and a custom six-speed gearbox are only a few of the options responsible for the almost unreasonable $160,000 price tag. The engine alone (which is rumored to cost upwards of $50,000) should be considered a work of art; it starts life as two Hayabusa engines, but the end product is a demonic 2.4 liter V8 that spins to 10,000rpm. Alcon brakes and Dymag magnesium wheels round out the package. As with all machines of such excess, the Atom will be extremely limited, to only 25 examples.