The Ariel Nomad is Our Favorite Off-Road Racecar

You want to go over the mountains and through the woods at 100 mph? Get yourself this British buggy.

A few years ago, a tiny UK automotive start-up released one of the fastest cars in the world: the Ariel Atom, a door-less, roofless, actualization of Louis Sullivan’s maxim, “form ever follows function.” As such, the form is pure racecar, a lightweight frame dripping with the best from Bilstein, Eibach and Honda Racing. With over 600 horsepower per ton, the Ariel Atom famously turned Jeremy Clarkson’s face into an omelet.

Now, Ariel offers the Nomad, for when you want to take your featherweight, open-wheel racecar off-road. Using the same beautiful bronze-welded structure at the Atom, the Nomad incorporates serious off-road features like long-travel suspension, polyethylene bodywork and serious mudguards. Like every Ariel product, the Nomad is endlessly customizable, from look (we love the orange frame, but maybe lime green is more your style) to capability (a plethora of wheel-and-tire options mean your can spec your Nomad for a gravel-road rally, undulating muddy terrain or the street). Quad Hella rally-style lamps are optional and so, so necessary.

Courtesy of Ariel

A 235-horsepower version of the 2.4-liter VTEC four-cylinder Honda engine found in the atom provides more than enough power for egregious slides and Scandinavian flicks. (Remember, this is a 1400-pound vehicle.) A six-speed manual keeps thing nice and mechanical and simple.

For under $46,000, the Ariel Nomad is a spare and beautiful racing buggy with a Ferrari’s speed and better approach and departure angles than a Land Rover Defender. And it’s the best looking car we’ve seen this year.

This is one nomad you’re going to want to keep around.

Photos by Ariel