"Simplify, and add lightness" was never just for road racers. Oh, no. Imagine if Colin Chapman had put Mickey Thompson mudders on his Elan, maybe spun some donuts in a farmer's field in a shire somewhere. He probably would have bought a plot of land outside Las Vegas, opened up an adventure camp where you shoot propane tanks with high-powered rifles. Does a 1,400-lb glorified go-kart with off-road tires and a predilection for powerslides sound exciting? It My fellow Americans, you'll soon be able to find out.
Who could have built the Nomad, anyway? It sounds like a gloriously mad concept from a what-if question: one asked to nobody in particular: why not turn a track car into a Special Stage powerhouse? Why not mash together the best of trackday weapons, Group B monsters, and ? The difference between madmen and geniuses, it seems, is who actually gets around to prototyping it first.
And the Nomad really is mad. Look at the specs: 235 horsepower from a Honda VTEC four-cylinder, mounted over the rear axle, bespoke steel tubular exoskeleton, six-speed manual, fully adjustable Ohlins long travel suspension with double unequal wishbones. Does it sound amazing? It does sound amazing. Opt for the Nomad Tactical and get skid plates, sump guards, more lights than a football stadium, a winch, and honorary inclusion into the Texas Rangers. Who needs a monstrous the size of a WWI dreadnought to bound across the wildness. Who knew that this was The Car That America Needs Right Now, by way of Somerset, England.
This tan Nomad, above, is the first one in America, by way of TMI AutoTech in Southern Virginia, which has been manufacturing the North American Ariel Atom since 2008. The same company will be delivering new Nomads in July of this year. They are now taking orders. Just two models are available. Neither are cheap: $78,200 for the Nomad Sport and $90,450 for the Tactical. But neither is a regular Atom, either. As decades of limited-edition Porsche specials have shown, adding lightness was never cheap.
Ariel's website calls the Nomad, "A modern buggy designed for the rough and tough of the wild but just as home in the city and just as much fun." The subtle implication, here, is that you can daily drive it—go out for errands and then maybe a trip to Mojave on the way back, why now? (Well-coiffed dudes take BMW GS adventure bikes to Starbucks all the time.) We say, go for it. After all, people used to ride horses into town.
Images via and . Hat tip to