Take a look at the story behind this incredible racecar, the Ariel Atom.
Ariel, as a bicycle and motorcycle manufacturing company, started much earlier than most people know, way back in 1870 by founders James Starley and William Hillman. They had exclusive rights to manufacture wire-spoke wheels under the first British patent. Having these rights allowed them to perfect an incredibly lightweight penny-farthing bicycle (those old school bicycles with the large wheel in the front and the tiny one in the rear) which they named Ariel, and thus the name stuck.
In 1898, Ariel moved over to manufacturing motorcycles, a lot of them had only 2.2 horsepower which was more than sufficient for the time. This technology moved over to a trend of the time, which was having a motorcycle with four wheels and a comfortable chair, in other words, the very early concepts of a car.
But, around this time, Ariel was struggling financially and bordered on bankruptcy. It was not until the 1930s that Ariel made some drastic changes, they employed a motorcycle designer who produced some of the best bikes you could get at the time, and that's when Ariel actually started making a name for themselves. In addition to Ariels "newly renovated brand", they took part in a motorcycle racing league called the Maudes Trophy, which gave the company the publicity and winner reputation it finally deserved.
Ariel, at this point, was doing so well in fact that they bought the British motorcycle company Triumph. After World War II, Ariel held the status of being the biggest motorcycle company in Britain.
In 1951, Ariel and Triumph were bought over by the Birmingham Small Arms Company. Soon thereafter, under its new management, the owners killed off the iconic engines that made Ariel known for its reliability and power, pushing more towards scooter manufacturing as they were becoming popular in the era. This move, inevitably, lead to the company shutting down in 1967.
It wasn't until the 1980s that Ariel got a second look by business entrepreneur and engineer, Simon Saunders, who had previous work experience at Porsche, Aston Martin and General Motors.
Simon Saunders spotted a gap in the market, noticing that people wanted a car that they could drive fast and not necessarily on the road.
That one realisation lead to the modern birth of Ariel and the hardcore speed vehicles they are known for today, their most famous model being the Ariel Atom.
Take a look at Donut Media's video on YouTube titled, The Ariel Atom - Everything You Need To Know | Up To Speed
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