The Drakan Spyder Is a Corvette-Powered Ariel Atom from America

Drakan Spyder 1 photo
Photo: Screenshot from YouTube
Ariel made a V8 version of the Atom, but that had two motorcycle four-cylinder units wedged together. As the old automotive saying goes, two motorcycle mills glued together does not a small-block V8 make.
So how about an American car that's loosely based on the Atom idea yet comes with an engine everybody loves? We are talking about the good ol' LS3 Corvette V8.

There are plenty of project cars that wedge Corvette engines into the Mazda Miata. But the 2015 Drakan Spyder packs something none of them do: a supercar-like mid-engined configuration.

The Drakan is the ideal car for everybody who liked the BAC Mono yet couldn't afford it. Not only does it pack 430 horsepower to the Mono's 305, but it also offers one extra seat so that you could terrorize your wives, neighbors, neighbors' wives, etc.

In typical American fashion, the Drakan Spyder puts comfort at the forefront of the project. Jay Leno says the car's windshield makes it relatively comfortable at highway speeds, and the suspension is soft enough for everyday use. What next, 1-gallon cupholders?

Track enthusiast and former General Motors engineer Shinoo Mapleton took the tube frame chassis from the Palatov D2, squeezed in the LS3 and also found room for the six-speed Porsche G96 manual transaxle. The result is a small car with a rear-biased 40/60 weight distribution that weighs only 2,000 lbs wet. That works out to an estimated 4.7 pounds per hp and a lot of RWD shenanigans.

From 0 to 60, the Drakan requires only 3.2 seconds, while the top speed for those crazy enough to attempt it is 165 mph.

You can buy one of these bad boys for between $80,000 and $100,000. Sure, that's not very cheap, but for a reliable, low maintenance track day car, it's not a bad deal. Even though it's sold under kit car regulations, the Drakan looks like it's well thought out and solidly built.

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About the author: Mihnea Radu
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Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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