Mugen goes molecular with special-edition Ariel Atom

Mugen Ariel Atom – Click above for high-res image gallery

Here's a match made in automotive heaven. Mugen has gone about working its magic on the Honda-powered Ariel Atom to celebrate the car's 10th anniversary. While the trick red chassis and white body work is enough to get us licking our chops, the Japanese tuner has also tweaked mighty four-cylinder at the heart of the open-wheel heathen.

A fully blueprinted K20Z Type R engine now provides the grunt, and thanks to new high-compression pistons, high-lift cams and new valve springs, the four pot kicks out a lofty 270 horsepower. Mugen says that a full seven days of work goes into each and every lump.

All told, the extra pep should get the Mugen Atom to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds on its way to a top speed of 150 mph. Yowza.

Buyers will also be treated to special four-piston brake calipers built by the stopping gurus at Alcon, and a modified version of the fully-adjustable coilover suspension found on the Atom V8 is standard equipment. Additionally, the cockpit is fitted with a new flat LCD screen to display the car's vitals. So far, there's no word on price, but given that Mugen is only turning out 10 examples of this rare bird, we'd bet a shiny nickel that they won't go cheap. Hit the jump for the full press blast.

  • Mugen Ariel Atom front 3/4

    • Mugen Ariel Atom front 3/4

    • Mugen Ariel Atom front

    • Mugen Ariel Atom rear

[Source: Atom Club]



A collaboration between Ariel and Mugen, the latest version of the original 'no screen, no roof, no
doors' Atom celebrates 10 years of production and 1000 Atoms manufactured. Made in a Limited
Edition of just 10 cars for each of the 10 years, each signed and numbered, the Atom Mugen has a
special livery of red chassis, white bodywork and red graphics showing the number of the car to
reflect the unique union of Ariel, Mugen and Honda. Featuring a tuned Mugen Honda engine and a
high level specification, plus the opportunity to further option the car, this latest Atom gives further
choice to the driver looking for the ultimate, normally aspirated trackday car.

Mugen (meaning unlimited in Japanese) engines have famously powered hundreds of race and
championship winners, including Formula 1, since 1973 when Hirotoshi Honda, son of Soichiro
Honda, founded the company. Basing their work almost exclusively around Honda powerplants,
Mugen was an obvious partner for Ariel who have used the Honda Type R engine in the Atom for
over 7 years. Working closely together on the project Ariel and Mugen found many similarities in
their approach to the project, resulting in a hand built engine in a truly handbuilt car.

Heart of the Atom Mugen is the Honda K20Z Type R engine, which is tuned by Mugen to produce
270bhp at 8600rpm in normally aspirated form. Each Atom Mugen engine is stripped, measured and
fully blueprinted at Mugen Europe's Northampton headquarters. The engines are reassembled with
high performance, higher compression pistons, high lift camshafts and new valve springs. A longer
freeflow inlet manifold is fitted with a bigger diameter throttle body together with race grade spark
plugs. The engine also features a full baffled sump and is finished with a carbon fibre Mugen cover.
After assembly each engine is tested on the Mugen dynamometer and carefully run in prior to full
power test. After 7 days of work on every engine they are bore scoped and inspected prior to sign
off. A lightened balanced flywheel is fitted together with a limited slip differential to the close ratio
Honda 6 speed gearbox prior to installation in the Atom.

Specification of the car includes many Ariel options as standard as well as additional parts unique to
the Atom Mugen. High performance Alcon 4 pot lightweight callipers, finished in red, and ventilated
discs are fitted front and rear. The 4 way adjustable damper/spring package is a modified version of
that found on the Atom V8 with remote reservoir lightweight aluminium dampers which have two
compression adjustments and one rebound adjustment with 2 piece dual rate springs fitted with rate
adjusters. This coupled with the standard adjustable Atom wishbones, gives the owner very high
adjustability for track or road. Each Atom can therefore be set up exactly for each owner and their
use with the ability to carry out further adjustment to suit particular driving preferences or styles.
Yokohama AO48 trackday tyres are standard specification, fitted to lightweight, white Ariel
magnesium wheels.

In front of the driver is a new LCD flat screen display housed in a carbon fibre instrument panel. The
multi function display is programmable with the ability for the driver to scroll through displays via
menu buttons and also shows 3 colour gearshift lights and standard warning lights. A master alert
warns if any function goes outside programmed perameters for quick and easy reference on track.
Additional data information, such as lap times and logging, can be viewed through the display to bring
another element to the serious track day driver. 3" FIA full harnesses with crutch straps are fitted for
both driver and passenger as standard with options of further competition parts for racing.

Performance of the Atom Mugen gives 0-60mph (100kph) in 2.9 seconds and a top speed of
150mph, with torque increased to 255Nm @ 6,000 rpm.

Every engine is built by one Mugen technician and every Atom is built by Ariel technician, with both
signing off the engine and car only when they are satisfied, reflected in a numbered build plate on
each car. The particular and special skills available in producing racing and low volume cars are
demonstrated in the Atom Mugen in a way that wouldn't be possible to large volume manufacturers.
Said Simon Saunders of Ariel, "The advantages of being small are obvious in this latest Atom. It's a
handbuilt car, tailored to suit individual customers who we know and like as friends and who are
passionate about their cars and driving. The ability for Mugen to handbuild a performance engine,
coupled with the legendary Honda reliability, takes this one stage further."

The formula of Ariel + Honda + Mugen has resulted in a very special car that takes the trackday car
to another level.

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