Lockdown, and maybe being furloughed, gives you more time to spend on yourself. Maybe time to contemplate and look at your future, right? No chance – it’s summertime, and short of someone being able to invent a hot air balloon that can travel at more than just a leisurely pace, you need the Ariel Nomad R…
The history of the beach buggy or dune buggy stretches back to the fibreglass rear-engined VW Beetle conversions made popular in the sixties by Bruce Meyers’ Meyers Manx (and The Monkees TV show; another perennial summer favourite). But the idea of a summer seat-of-the-pants open-air nimble fun car has never gone away. Completely impractical for everyday use, such off-roaders are built for one thing and can only be judged on that aspect alone.
You might already be familiar with the Ariel Atom from the Somerset-based automobile manufacturer. The Atom looks like a street legal cross between a kit car and a kid’s pedal version of a classic Formula One racing car. Originating from a student project at Coventry University in 1996, without the Atom there would arguably be no Nomad.
The first Nomad was launched in 2015 at the Autosport International Show – a road-legal buggy produced in very small volumes. Fast forward to 2020 and we have the latest incarnation of the Nomad, the Ariel Nomad R featuring 335bhp; an increase of 100bhp over the standard Nomad. 0-62mph is an impressive 2.9 seconds, which is bound to feel even faster in such an open and small vehicle. All this power comes from a Honda K20Z3 2-litre engine; the 4-cylinder engine has been fitted with a supercharger from Eaton plus a custom fuel injection system.
The gearbox is a Sadev sequential rally-style 6-speed, which Ariel says is the same as those used in standard rally cars. It features a limited slip diff in place of the regular rear diff. On the outside -well to be honest there’s not much of an ‘outside’ as such – the Ariel Nomad R rides on Yokahoma tyres mated to lightweight 18-inch alloy wheels. Adjustable Bilstein suspension keeps the bumps to a minimum.
What body panels there are on the Nomad R are composite, and the bulk of what you see is a tubular frame pretty much identical to the more basic Nomad. An optional extra is a hearted windscreen, which just about sums up how wonderfully crazy the Ariel Nomad R is.
If you want one (and of course you do) you will need luck on your side, as only 5 examples will be built – and at a hefty price of £64,500 (minus VAT) too. That’s a whopping £30,000 more than the standard Nomad, but it is being hand built by one person. It doesn’t get more bespoke (x5) than this.
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