The winner of a raffle offering a ride in the Ariel Atom, at this year’s Crewkerne Hospital Fete, described the experience as exhilarating. Reporter Ana Collingridge bought the lucky ticket in the hope of crossing off one of the items on her wish list but was amazed when she won it. On her visit to the Ariel Motor Company on Yeovil Road, Ana was given a guided tour of the factory and learnt the company’s history, which came about when design student Nick Smart who had attended a lecture on automated design by Simon Saunders in Coventry in the late 1990’s contacted the entrepreneur with an idea.
The motor company’s turning point came in 2004 when it moved from workshops in North Perrott to its current site and began assembling the Ariel Atom 2. A variety of racing drivers and enthusiasts, including Jeremy Clarkson and James May and current Top Gear presenter Matt Le Blanc have experienced the Atoms 2 litre 320 horsepower Honda engine that achieves a speed of 0 to 100 mph in 6.80 seconds.
Before going out on the open road with driver Matt, Ana and her husband Graham looked around the showroom, exhibits include an Ariel Ordinary 1871 (Penny Farthing), Ariel Quadricycle 1901 and the Ariel Square Four 1934 motorbike with 597cc and 24 bhp, which was manufactured by the original company who gave consent to Mr Saunders to use the Ariel name.
The Ariel Atom outclasses every car in its field and surpasses practically any vehicle in performance. Each Ariel is built by one technician who carries the assembly through to a road test and personally signs off by putting his name on the vehicle. Ana said: “Thanks to everyone at the Ariel Motor Company for making us feel so welcome. What an amazing experience in the Ariel Atom 4. It was exhilarating and I wanted to go faster. Obviously we couldn’t because of the speed limits around here but going from 0 to 60 mph in 2.80 seconds felt incredible.”