THE ARIEL NOMAD
THE ARIEL NOMAD
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"This car turns any landscape into a personal playground" - Top Gear
Once there was just the Atom. Lightweight, simple, fast, fun. A pure sports car distilled down to its basic function. Beautifully engineered, exquisitely built and designed for a purpose. Now that purpose just took a big left turn and went right off road. But you can see that the Nomad is an Ariel through and through. The the same thought in design, the same attention to detail and the same Ariel grin on your face. Sharing that Atom thought process, the Atom philosophy and some proven Atom components the Nomad opens up a whole new dimension to having fun on four wheels. Where the Atom is to road and track, the Nomad is to road and off it. Whether it's a gravel track, a WRC rally stage, a green lane, a desert or just a grassy field the Nomad calls this home. And could this be the coolest car on the road? A modern buggy designed for the rough and tough of the wild but just as home in the city and just as much fun. The Nomad says tough wherever it is. Because it is.
Centre of the Nomad is, of course, it's structure. The Ariel signature and a unique one. Beautiful, purposeful, strong and safe. Bronze welded by craftsmen who care about what they do and have pride in their work. A skill that comes from years of practice and is a work of art in itself. A masterpiece of craftsmanship but also a complete safety cage. Protecting you, protecting your passenger, doing its job. Outboard, long travel suspension, double unequal wishbones, high rotation metallastic bushes, aluminium quick steering rack; this is half competition, half road car. Everything for a reason, nothing extra. Rotationally moulded polyethylene bodywork on the front back, sides and mudguards; the stuff road cones are made from and just as tough. With composite covers in a range of colours and carbon fibre as an option for bonnet and engine cover. It's what is needed and nothing more. The Nomad distils it down to driving. On the road or off it.
Now look at the details and they start to jump out. Alcon, Bilstein, Eibach, Goodridge, Race Technologies, the names are all there. Built to a standard, not to a price. An Ariel standard, where quality, reliability and safety come first but a big smile is always guaranteed. And then the big one. Honda. Manufacturers of the best engines in the world. Engines found in the Atom and in the Ace. And in the Nomad - the 4 cylinder 2.4 litre iVTEC with its tremendous torque and flexibility that is so well suited to the Nomad. Be it crawling over rocks, executing that Scandinavian Flick at full throttle or just powering away from the lights, this engine delivers. Reliably, economically and enthusiastically.
Choose to individualise your Nomad to make it YOUR Nomad and the tailor made aspect of Ariel unfolds. Different wheel and tyre configurations, from Mud Terrain to rally competition, from high speed road to sand or just go for All Terrain and take what comes. Dampers, brakes and competition parts. Lamps, carriers, nudge bars and winches. Weather gear for wet, unzip it for dry. You can spec the Nomad for what you want to do and exactly how you want it to look. And you know there'll never be another the same.
Beautifully made, carefully built and seriously fun. After all, it's an Ariel.
"Just reading the specification gets me excited" - Observer
"Ariel is the Savile Row of the automotive industry" - The Financial Times
"The Atom of dune buggies" - Road & Track
"Giving customers what they want is the essence of Ariel" - Car
"Some of the most intriguing miles I've ever travelled" - Evo
"Atom's mucky brother" - Autocar
2.4 K24 Honda 4 cylinder i-VTEC. Alloy block, cylinder head, sump
Displacement 2354cc. Bore & Stroke 87mm x 99mm.
Chain drive DOHC 4 valves per cylinder
235 BHP @ 7200 rpm Torque 300Nm @ 4300 rpm
6 SPEED CLOSE RATIO + REVERSE ALUMINIUM ALLOY CASING. HYDRAULIC CLUTCH.
Indirect multi-port grouped fuel injection, Twin fuel filters
Continuous flow 3.5 bar electric fuel pump. 50 litre aluminium fuel tank
Electronic coil over plug ignition. Hondata engine management system
Thatcham 2 Toad Immobiliser system
Pressurised, centrifugal 82L/min. coolant pump
Front mounted fabricated radiator
ITG foam filter system
4 – 2 –1 fabricated stainless steel exhaust manifold. Stainless silencer.
Bronze welded steel tube. Phosphated, powder coated finish.
Aluminium bulkheads. Right or left hand drive
Double unequal length TIG welded fabricated wishbones front and rear
Lightweight fabricated uprights front and rear
Outboard Bilstein dampers front and rear
Alloy steel Eibach coil springs front and rear
Rack and pinion cast alloy steering rack 1.7 turns lock to lock
Collapsible offset steering column. Adjustable rod ends.
305mm race suede covered steering wheel.
240mm ventilated discs. Tilton aluminium racing pedal box.
Twin master cylinders adjustable front/rear bias. Parking brake
7Jx15 12 spoke alloy Front and rear
235/75R15 Front and rear
Non structural roto- mould toughened polyethylene. Composite mix.
Individual seat units composite woven cloth, 5 position adjustment.
2" E Approved four point quick release full harnesses
LCD Digital display, speedometer, tachometer, water, fuel, odo, trip
Warning lights: Ignition, lights, brake, oil, beam, indicators, alarm
Length 3215. Width 1850. Height 1425.
Track 1585 front and rear. Wheelbase 2348.
Approach angle 71 degrees. Departure angle 82 degrees
Projector headlamps. LED indicators, stop/tail/side/repeaters.
Rear fog lamp, reverse lamp, number plate lamp. Horn.
3 way closed loop catalytic converter. Front and rear mudguards.
0-60 mph 3.4 seconds (0-100kph)
0-100mph 8.7 seconds (0-165kph)
Top speed 125 mph
"Giving customers what they want is the essence of Ariel" - Car
Nomads come with a black frame, black rotationally moulded bodywork and mudguards plus a range of colours for bonnet and engine cover as standard. Different colour powder coat chassis and wheels are available as options and bodywork can be sprayed in metallic, pearl, flip or specially matched to specific requirements. One off colour schemes, special powder coat and moulded plastic body panels, airbrushing on composite panels, graphics and laquered carbon fibre are all possible It's all up to you.
As agricultural vehicles go, the Ariel Nomad might seem like a pretty extreme choice. OK, so it’s not a proper workhorse, but it could be the perfect way to unwind, and with genuine off-road ability, sharp handling and explosive performance, it promises to be as much fun on a dirt track as it is on the race track.
It comes from Ariel Motor Company, a family-run business based in Somerset that’s backed up by some seriously heavyweight engineering talent.
Boss Simon Saunders worked for Porsche and Aston Martin before setting up his own business and reviving the historic Ariel name in 1999. Since then, Ariel cars have gained a reputation for top-notch build quality and supercar-slaying pace.
The Nomad draws heavily from the track-focused Ariel Atom, with the same mid-engined rear-wheel drive layout and exoskeleton construction.
However, there’s far more to it than simply an Atom with raised suspension – every single piece of the chassis is different and there are only a handful of components shared between the two cars.
The heart of the Nomad is a 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine taken from the US-market Honda Civic Type S.
Even in regular form it produces a very healthy 235bhp, but this example has been fitted with the optional supercharger kit, which takes it up to 300bhp and 300Nm of torque.
Combined with a kerb weight of just 680kg, this gives the Nomad a better power-to-weight ratio than a Ferrari 458. It’s quicker off the line too, with a 0-60mph time of just 3.2 seconds.
Ariel builds each car to order and there is a faintly bewildering array of options.
Chief among these are three different suspension packages (loosely equating to road, off-road and track) plus a choice of six different wheel and tyre combinations.
There’s also an on-road pack that includes lights, switch gear and an IVA test.
Further down the list you’ll find a variety of performance upgrades, including a big brake kit, a lowered final drive ratio and, of course, that supercharger.
It goes without saying that the Nomad is seriously fast, but what’s more impressive is the way the performance is delivered.
It’s an intensely visceral experience, with the road close enough to touch through exposed chassis tubes and the spine-tingling howl of the supercharger just behind.
But it’s also surprisingly well-mannered. On dry tarmac there’s loads of traction, while the unassisted steering chatters with feedback and the chassis seems to pivot directly around the driver’s hips.
The Nomad is quite unlike anything else on the road. Despite its generous ground clearance, the seat is mounted so low and the suspension is so well controlled that you’re never really aware of being in an off-roader.
It’s closer in character to lightweight sports cars such as the Caterham Seven or the Ariel Atom, but it feels different to those as well. The sense of occasion as you thread yourself – Dukes of Hazzard style – through the roll cage is priceless.
The details are brilliantly engineered too. Somehow the Honda gearbox feels even better in the Nomad than it does in the Civic Type R, while the pedals are perfectly set up for heel-and-toe.
Likewise, the unservoed brakes offer plenty of stopping power and good pedal feel. The only real downsides are limited rear visibility and the fact that it’s difficult to lean forward at junctions when you’re strapped into the four-point harness.
The quality that most defines the Nomad is its versatility. It’s an immensely rewarding car to drive on the road; capable of keeping up with just about anything on four wheels, but you can also drive it straight on to a field or a farm track. And that’s where the real fun begins.
It’s predictably easy to overwhelm the road-biased all-terrain tyres when you’ve got 300bhp at your disposal, but there is a reasonable amount of grip, aided by the standard-equipment limited-slip differential.
The options list includes proper mud terrain tyres, which would obviously improve things further. What’s more, you can specify features such as a raised air intake, Fox dampers with hydraulic bump stops and even a winch.
With the adjustable suspension in its off-road configuration, the Nomad has 300mm of ground clearance – comfortably more than a Land Rover Discovery – not to mention an approach angle of 71 degrees and a departure angle of 82 degrees. And at the end of the day, the cockpit is designed to be hosed out.
Nothing else matches the Nomad’s combination of on- and off-road ability. It’s as exciting to drive as supercars costing 10 times as much. And while it’s designed primarily for fun, that’s not quite the end of the story.
Our test car came with a tow hitch (said to be capable of pulling about 600kg, although it’s not officially rated for road use). One Nomad owner apparently uses theirs to tow a mower, while another is said to have hitched up a slug pellet spreader.
And that got us thinking: maybe it does classify as an agricultural vehicle after all…