If for some reason the standard Ariel Nomad is too daft and not quite fast enough for you, Crewkerne’s favourite oddball has birthed a more serious, even brisker brother: the Nomad R.
It takes the Nomad package based on Ariel’s older chassis tech and switches out a few of the parts for items better suited to tarmac blasts. Forget about your soft Fox dampers and knobbly off-road tyres and brace for super-aggressive shifts: gearing is close and short (top speed is just 122mph) through a six-speed Sadev sequential gearbox.
Ariel pitches the ultra-rare R as a sort of tarmac rally car, with that racy transmission and soft-compound Yokohama Advan AO52 tyres in 235/40R18 all round. There are fully adjustable Bilstein dampers as standard or you can upgrade them to blingy Ohlins, but both have a firmer setup aimed at race circuits. If you like you can also spec longer gears from fourth to sixth, for higher top speeds on bigger tracks.
At the heart of this madman the Nomad’s usual 2.4-litre Honda Civic engine has been swapped out for the supercharged K20 used in the utterly certifiable Ariel Atom 3.5R. It throws 335bhp at the rear wheels from a height of 7600rpm, with peak torque of 243lb ft at 5500rpm. The lag-free supercharger means acceleration is instant and mighty so it’s fortunate that Alcon brakes are on hand to haul its 670kg to a stop.
The 0-62mph launch is ditched in just 2.9 seconds thanks to a 500bhp per tonne power to weight ratio. It’s actually a good deal heavier than the Atom 3.5R and isn’t intended to be so visceral – the Nomad R does have a windscreen, after all – but when just five are being built, Ariel is confident of finding buyers for whom this blend of silliness and seriousness is just right.
The R is priced from £80,000 and you can order one now, if they haven’t already sold them all.