ARIEL logo

2 production models

0 discontinued models

Ariel Ltd. is a sports car manufacturer based in Crewkerne, Somerset. It is one of United Kingdom’s smallest car makers, employing only 7 people.

The company was established in 1991 as Solocrest Limited, but changed its name in 2001 to Ariel Ltd. after purchasing the name rights in 1999 from the former renown British car and motorcycle manufacturer.

While they are two different entities, the meaningful Ariel name in the history of British automotive can’t be left unexplored. The name Ariel itself has its origins in Hebrew, meaning Lion of God, but it is believed the British founders took the name inspired from Shakespeare’s play "The Tempest", where it is the name of an air spirit.

The company’s first achievement dates back to 1870 and was called the Ariel Ordinary. It was a two-speed gear, 48-inch front wheel bicycle with patented spoke tension hubs and lightweight all-steel frame. After this, during the early 1900s, Ariel, one of the pioneering British automotive firms, introduced two quintessential roadsters. The first was a 1100 kilos two seater, named Ariel Grand Prix Racer, which was powered by a 2,325 cc 4 cylinder engine. The second was named the Hillclimber and was a four seater classic roadster with a 3,000 cc simplex engine, that developed 60 hp and had an aluminum body.

Right after that Ariel abandoned the car development plans and ventured in the motorcycle domain. Throughout the first half of the 20th century Ariel has established a reputation among British motorcycle manufacturers.

Among the marque’ several successful motorcycle models we remember: the Model E Super Sports, Red Hunter, Square 4 and Arrow.

Returning to the present day Ariel Ltd. the company made its name in 2000 when it introduced the world’s first exoskeletal road-going car and was named the Atom. The car had a visible frame work with a tubular chassis and received a Rover K-series engine. Because it had no bodywork or roof, the car was extremely light (approx. 1,000 lbs) and managed blistering acceleration.

The Ariel Atom 2 was an improved version of the first Atom, but featured a 2.0-liter Honda VTEC engine and a Honda 6-speed manual transmission. Ariel Atom’s success soared after the Atom 2 was reviewed by the popular British automotive show Top Gear.

The Ariel Atom 2 received praises for its astonishing acceleration, quality handcraft, responsive and predictable handling. The Atom achieved the world record for fastest zero to 100 mph and back to zero time for a road legal car.

production models:
ARIEL Atom specs and photos




4 generations

2011 - present
ARIEL Nomad specs and photos




1 generation

2015 - present