Think of an Ariel Atom that's been designed specifically to do to trails what the standard Atom can do to racetracks, and you'll get the Nomad. The sub-1,600-pound off-roader shares the Atom's minimalist styling treatments and ladder frame, but comes with big, knobbly off-road tires, underbody reinforcement, a brawny brush guard up front and a robust rollcage. Somewhat worryingly, though, it only has two driven wheels.
"We've done quite a bit of testing on forest tracks and rally stages and results have been extremely encouraging," Henry Siebert-Saunders, son of Ariel chief Simon Saunders, told Autocar. "We know the car is quick and stable. But it's still a two-wheel-drive vehicle. We're looking forward to discovering how it performs in genuine off-road conditions - in mud or crawling over rocks - compared with a traditional 4x4."
AC reports that a 2.4-liter engine with around 200 horsepower is likely, and that both a six-speed manual transmission (from Honda) and a mechanical limited-slip differential will be standard. Naturally, more extreme equipment will also be offered as the Nomad evolves.
"The car should still be very quick on road," Siebert-Saunders said. "Not quite as quick as an Atom, maybe, but it will be able to do many things an Atom never could."
We'll have the full details on the Ariel Nomad when it debuts on January 9. Stay tuned.