The Ariel Atom is a lightweight, high-performance sports car which started life as a design project by then-student Nik Smart. Ten years later, the Atom has progressed through three iterations, and there are plans to expand the Atom family with the creation of a motorcycle and the upcoming Ariel Atom 500 V8. The bike is still being developed, but some lucky Atom owners got a sneak peek at the V8-powered variant.

To celebrate their 10th anniversary, Ariel invited owners from around the globe to converge on their Crewkerne, Somerset headquarters. Forty-five Atoms gathered in the parking lot while owners were treated to food and drinks inside. Thanks to John Scherrer of the AtomClub.com forums, we're able to get a feel for the festivities, the highlight of which was the unveiling of a completed Ariel Atom 500 V8. But this particular Atom wasn't put together days or weeks before the event – four Ariel employees started with a bare chassis at 10:15 AM and by 3:30 PM, they had a fully built Atom 500 V8, complete with fluids and an alignment. Impressive.

Initial reports stated that the Atom 500 would feature a 2.4-liter supercharged V8. However, the car is instead being fitted with a naturally aspirated 3.0-liter unit. The current Atom 3 is capable of sub-three-second 0-60 times and will hit 100 miles per hour in less than seven seconds, so it's safe to imagine that the Atom 500 V8 will be the first road-going car to reach Ludicrous Speed. Thanks for the tip, Eric!

[Source: AtomClub.com]