As a company, Ariel had it rough but found a way to come out on top

Atom is the maker of some really sweet vehicles but the Brits actually started out with building bicycles in the early 1870s, before shortly swapping to cars and for six decades between the 1910s and the 1970s, to motorcycles.

The OG Ariel Atom came in 2000, and it turned the company’s fortunes around big time. This is a run-through of Ariel Motors’ history and lineup delivered to you by Donut Media.

From the first patented spoke bike wheel to sports cars

This Video Will Tell You Everything You Need to Know About Ariel Motors and the Atom Road Car
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Remember those old bicycles that had a huge front wheel and a tiny-winy? Well, Ariel built its fair share of those back in the 1870s. One model was the Ariel Ordinary, which featured a 48-inch front wheel with patented spoke tension hubs and an all-steel frame.

30 years later, Ariel was churning out the Quadricycle, a two-seater vehicle that rode on elliptical springs and air-filled tires. It also had a 344 cc, water-cooled Dion engine. After a short stint with out-and-out cars - such as the Gran Prix Racer and the Hillclimber, Ariel switched to motorcycles.

This Video Will Tell You Everything You Need to Know About Ariel Motors and the Atom Road Car
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Some of the company’s most popular bikes were the Red Hunter (500 cc, single-cylinder engine, 27 horsepower) and the Arrow (250 cc, two-stroke two-cylinder engine, 20 horsepower).

It wasn’t until 2000 that Ariel launched the Atom we all know and love. The Atom revived the company to what we know today after a nasty bankruptcy, and the following iterations (Atom 2, Atom 3, Atom V8, and Atom 3.5) have helped Ariel to (re)make a name for itself.

Still, the company remains a small one by any standards - one of the smallest in the U.K., that is, with around 30 employees and a production cap of 100 cars every year.

Today, you’ll hear or read raving reviews about Ariel’s Atom and Nomad, none of which are more effervescent than the video Donut Media cooked up.


Tudor Rus
Assistant Content Manager - Automotive Expert - tudor@topspeed.com
Tudor’s first encounter with cars took place when he was only a child. Back then, his father brought home a Trabant 601 Kombi and a few years later, a Wartburg 353. At that time, he was too young to know how they worked and way too young to drive them, but he could see one thing – each of them had a different ethos and their own unique personality. As time went on, he started seeing that in other cars as well, and his love for the automobile was born.  Read More
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