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Bert Campbell's Atom chassis – Click above for high-res image gallery

The Ariel Atom is an amazing piece of automotive minimalism and could be what Lotus founder Colin Chapman would build were he still with us today. However, not everyone can swing the price tag for an Atom. In the case of 72-year-old Bert Campbell of Southgate, MI, his artificial hip also posed an ingress/egress problem. Bert is one of the participants at the first Detroit Maker Faire, and because of his mobility problem, he decided to the take the basic Atom chassis design and modify the sides to make them lower. To compensate for the loss of structure, he added a roll-cage on top.

Campbell bought the steel tubing at swap meet for about $20 and got the front control arms from another hobbyist in return for some help fixing a lathe. Campbell built his own tubing bender and roller to shape the steel and has done all the fabrication in his girlfriend's garage. Although he has several engines available, Campbell plans to install an 1100cc Yamaha motorcycle engine in the back with the original five-speed gearbox. Bert promises to keep us up to date as the project progresses, so stay tuned for more.

Photos Copyright ©2010 Sam Abuelsamid / Weblogs, Inc.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      This looks nothing like the Atom, especially with those roll bars at the top.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Somehow I imagine this guy is a pretty great driver and will put this car through the wringer when he gets it up and running.

      Good luck and nice work so far!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Nice project.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Agreed with naggs. Slow news day at AB?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Goshdanged 72-year-old punks with their girlfriends always terrorizing the neighborhoods and sody-fountain-stands with their danged hot rods. How can I (a twenty-something yuppie) get any peace in my well-groomed suburban utopia?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Don't forget their loud big band music (that Glenn Miller is the DEVIL).
      • 4 Years Ago
      right now he has nothing

      there are probably 5 thousand stalled DIY projects that have gotten further than this one

      how on earth is this post worthy?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Uhh an older guy in PA already built an Atom clone. And it actually looks like an Atom, unlike that one. Featured in Grassroots Motorsports magazine a couple of months back. Here's the build thread he started: http://www.locostusa.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=1503
      • 4 Years Ago
      Awesome... Love seeing DIY projects like this. Hopefully it all comes together nicely
      • 4 Years Ago
      Looks like a sandrail right now, but you can see the "Atom" bits in there. Look forward to see this complete. I've always pondered the idea of building my own Caterham/Atom in the future rather than buy a kit, but it's hard to get past the whole "their chassis are tested/mine I made up" part.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Looks like he just has 2 upper A-arms on the left there. Or is he going to be welding a spring pocket on one of them?
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