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The 1996 Ariel Atom

Historic date Monday, January 1, 1996

The Ariel Atom is a road legal high performance sports car made by the Ariel Motor Company based in Crewkerne, Somerset, England and under licence in North America by TMI Autotech, Inc. at Virginia International Raceway in Alton, Virginia.

There have been seven Ariel Atom generations to date: Ariel Atom, Ariel Atom 2, Ariel Atom 3 (including the Ariel Atom 3 Mugen Limited Edition and Honda Racing Edition - of which only 1 was made) Ariel Atom 3.5, Ariel Atom 3S, Ariel Spec:Race Atom, and Ariel Atom 500 V8 Limited Edition (only 25 to be made). The current models are the Ariel Atom 3 (US), 3.5, the more powerful 3.5R, the 3S (US), the Spec:Race Atom (US), and the limited production Ariel Atom 500 V8 with a 500 bhp (373 kW; 507 PS) V8 engine

The Ariel Atom features a prominently visible chassis (i.e., an exoskeleton, no roof or windows, a small optional windscreen) and a drag coefficient of 0.40.

The Atom began as a student project by Coventry University transport design student, Niki Smart. Known then as the LSC (Lightweight Sports Car), it was developed at the university in 1996 with input and funding from various automotive industry members, including British Steel and TWR. Ariel Motor Company boss Simon Saunders was a senior lecturer whose responsibility for the project was primarily as financial manager and design critic for Smart, whom he described as "The best all-round design student I've ever seen." The car was first shown publicly at the British International Motor Show at the NEC in Birmingham in October 1996.

The Atom suspension setup was tuned by the engineers at Lotus. Edmunds "Inside Line" noted that "anyone who has driven a selection of Lotus-tuned cars, such as the Lotus Elise, the Aston Martin Vanquish and the Opel Speedster, will notice a common feel or signature, and it's replicated in the Atom."

The Atom’s suspension derives from single seat racing cars and is fully adjustable, requiring only a spanner. Both front and rear double unequal length wishbones and inboard, pushrod-operated dampers contribute to the Atom’s dynamic handling. Adjustable suspension rod ends feature inboard rubber/metal bushings to promote a more comfortable road-going ride. The front and rear Bilstein dampers are also adjustable. Stacked helper coil springs and main coil springs produce a low spring rate for minor deflections and a higher rate for large ones.

In 2005 Track and Race Car magazine published the results of a comprehensive test of a range of cars, from the Porsche 911 Carrera S, Ford GT, BMW M5 to the Caterham CSR 260. The Supercharged Ariel Atom 2 won the 0–100–0 mph (0–161–0 km/h) test by a clear margin at 10.88 seconds, ahead of the Caterham CSR 260 (11.41) and the Ford GT in 4th (13.17).

The following year, the Atom won Autocar '​s 0–100 mph challenge as the new Ariel Atom 2 300 bhp supercharged edition achieved a time of 6.86 seconds, and then stopped from 100 in 3.8 seconds. At the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, the Atom broke the indoor speed record. The high gloss floor that the cars ran on was only 220 m (720 ft) long, with an open door at the end of the hall. The driver of the Atom launched in fourth gear and still had wheelspin until the car reached 70 mph (110 km/h) and started to get traction. The Atom was beaten only by a Class 9 Autograss car powered by a 2.0l Lexus/Toyota touring car engine which set the official indoor speed record, beating the previous record held by a Toyota F1 car driven by Top Gear's driver The Stig.

The Sunday Times measured the time taken for the Atom to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) at 2.89 seconds, making it the world's third fastest accelerating production car then available, after the $1.3 million, 1,001 PS (987 bhp) Bugatti Veyron at 2.46 seconds and the Ultima GTR at 2.6 seconds; the review was in 2005.

Brammo Motorsports of Ashland, Oregon signed a deal with Ariel Ltd to manufacture the Atom in the US starting in late 2005. In the US the Atom 2 was available with the supercharged GM Ecotec engine, which was introduced in 2004 on the Saturn ION Red Line and is also used in the Chevrolet Cobalt SS. A limited run of approximately 10 US built Atom 2 cars, manufactured in 2006-2007, were powered by imported Honda K20As. Brammo Motorsports ceased production of the Atom in 2008 to focus on the manufacture of an electric motorcycle.

In January 2008, it was officially announced that licensed manufacturing of the Ariel Atom for the US market would be undertaken by TMI AutoTech Inc at a purpose-built facility at Virginia International Raceway. TMI started production by building Honda-powered Atom 3 cars. TMI AutoTech Inc also operates the Spec:RaceAtom Series at VIR.

Ariel announced in February 2008 its latest Atom variant, the Ariel Atom 500. It features a 500 horsepower 3.0 litre John Hartley designed V8 engine, carbon fibre body panels and aerofoils, chromoly aerofoil wishbones, integrated function steering wheel, Alcon four-piston brake calipers, and Dymag magnesium wheels. The engine weighs 90 kg (198 lb) and is coupled to a SADEV 6-speed sequential gearbox to cope with the increased power over the Honda unit. During the development process the RS performance engine was replaced by a unit prepared by Hartley Enterprises giving the final production version of the 550 kg (1,213 lb) car 909 bhp/tonne. Ariel claims this variant will accelerate from 0-60 mph in "less than 2.3 seconds".

On 23 January 2011, the Atom 500 set the lap record around the Top Gear test track, with a time of 1:15.1, making it the fastest road-legal car to go around the track - a record that stood for just over two years, until the Pagani Huayra completed a lap in 1:13.8 on 27 January 2013.

The Ariel Atom 3.5R is the upgraded version of the Ariel Atom producing 350 bhp from a 1998cc supercharged Honda engine which propels the 550kg car to 60 mph in just 2.6 seconds and to a top speed of 155 mph.

In June 2014 a 3.5R was presented to Avon and Somerset Police, the force local to the Crewkerne factory, to support a local motorcycle safety initiative. It has pursuit lights and carries police livery.

In October 2014, TMI AutoTech, Inc. announced the arrival of an all new Atom for the US market, the 3S. This turbocharged upgrade to the Ariel Atom 3 produces 365 bhp and over 300 lb/ft of torque, propelling it to 60 mph in under 2.8 seconds.

Featuring an all-new cockpit adjustable traction control system, JRi adjustable dampers, and a choice of three transmissions (including a new SADEV 6-speed sequential race inspired gearbox with paddle shifters), each Ariel Atom 3S is hand built by TMI AutoTech at their facility at Virginia International Raceway.

The Ariel Atom was unofficially used by Wrightspeed as the base of a one-off prototype called the Wrightspeed X1, which is a proof of concept of the company's all-electric powertrain.

In mid 2012 it was announced that for the first time in the UK, the Atom would have a dedicated single make race series called 'Atom Cup'. The series would feature on Jonathan Palmer's MSVR program of racing with 8 race weekends featuring 16 races. Absolute Taste were announced as the hospitality partner. The cars were 245BHP naturally aspirated, 3.5 chassis with an MSA approved welded roll bar protection system. The standard suspension was replaced with Ohlins racing suspension. An FIA approved fire extinguisher system was also installed.

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The 1983 BMW M635 CSi (E24)

Historic date Saturday, January 8, 1983

In 1983 BMW took the M88/3 six-cylinder engine, a modified version of the M88/1 from the BMW M1 and put it in the E24 chassis of the BMW 6-Series, creating the M635CSi (called the M6 in North America).

The M6 was critically acclaimed throughout its lifespan for its elegant, aggressive "shark-nose" styling, its luxury equipment, and its performance. A top speed of 255 km/h (158 mph) makes the European version the second fastest BMW ever built next to the M1. This is due to all other BMW models being electronically restricted to 250 km/h (155 mph). However, Rug Cunninham BMW ran a bone stock 1987 BMW M6 in the La Carrera Classic Race in Mexico in 1989, and reportedly recorded a top speed of 283 km/h (176 mph) indicated. An M6 can be distinguished from other E24 models by a larger front air dam, a rear spoiler, BBS wheels, colour matching side view mirrors, M badges on the grille and back, and slightly larger front brakes.

In North America (United States and Canada), the E24 M6 was fitted with the catalyzed S38B35 motor, producing 191 kW (256 bhp) and 329 N·m (243 lbf·ft) of torque. The non-catalyzed version produced 213 kW (286 bhp) and 340 N·m (251 lb·ft) of torque. The non-catalyzed versions were only available in Europe, though there were 538 catalyzed M635csi models sold in Europe in 1988 and 1989. The 1988 and 1989 the M6 was a "world car" with the same bumpers and aerodynamic treatments in all markets.

The M6 achieved 0–97 km/h (0–60 mph) time of 6.0 and 6.8 seconds for the European and American versions, respectively.

Quarter mile times for the European version have been recorded at 14.5 seconds while 161 km/h (100 mph) is achieved in 15 seconds. However, Car and Driver Magazine tested the U.S. M6 in July 1987 and achieved a 0–97 km/h (0–60 mph) time of 6.1 seconds. Also in 1987 Road and Track featured the U.S. M6 as one of the 10 fastest cars in America. Production of the M6 ended in 1989, with 5,859 cars sold, 1,767 of which were North American (U.S. & Canada) models.

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The 1978 BMW M1

Historic date Sunday, January 8, 1978

The BMW M1 (E26) is a sports car produced by German automaker BMW from 1978 to 1981.

In the late 1970s, Italian manufacturer Lamborghini entered into an agreement with BMW to build a production racing car in sufficient quantity for homologation, but conflicts arose that prompted BMW to produce the car themselves. The result was sold to the public, from 1978 to 1981, as the BMW M1. It is the only mid-engined BMW to be mass-produced. It employs a twin-cam M88/1 3.5 L six-cylinder petrol engine with Kugelfischer mechanical fuel injection. A version of this motor was later used in the South African version of the BMW 745i, of which 209 examples were built between 1984 and 1986, as well as the E24 BMW M6/M635CSi and E28 BMW M5. The engine has six separate throttle bodies, four valves per cylinder and produces 277 PS (204 kW; 273 hp) in the street version, giving a top speed of 260 km/h (162 mph). Turbocharged racing versions are capable of producing around 850 hp (634 kW).

The M1 coupe was hand-built between 1978 and 1981 under the motorsport division of BMW as a homologation special for sports car racing. The body was designed by Giugiaro, taking inspiration from the 1972 BMW Turbo show car. Originally, BMW commissioned Lamborghini to work out the details of the car's chassis, assemble prototypes and manufacture the vehicles, but Lamborghini's financial position meant that BMW reassumed control over the project in April 1978, after seven prototypes were built. Since the engineering of the car was still incomplete, a group of former Lamborghini engineers that had founded a company named Ital-Engineering offered to complete the car's design. Less than 10 miles away from the Lamborghini shop, the engineering for the M1 was finished. Only 453 production M1s were built, making it one of BMW's rarest models. Of the 453 produced, 20 were race versions created for the BMW M1 Procar Championship. The spirit of the M1 lived on in the M635Csi and the first-generation M5, which use a modified version of the M88/1 engine, the M88/3.

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Historic date Tuesday, July 3, 1984

Original Film about the MVS Venturi Factory in Quéron (Nantes - France), 1984.

Every car has been hand-built on special request, every color and interior combination was possible.

(French spoken shortfilm)


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Historic date Thursday, June 3, 1976

About the Car :

In 1976 this BMW 3.0 CSL shot around the race circuit at 300 km/h at the Le Mans 24-hour race which is nothing out of the ordinary for a BMW race car. What did stand out was the fact that it was a high-speed BMW Art Car designed by Frank Stella. The presentation of the world’s second Art Car generated immense anticipation as the art world was still under the spell of the first BMW Art Car.

These expectations were more than satisfied as Stella devised a black and white design based on oversize graph paper. Cut-out lines all over the bodywork intensify the geometric look of the car. Explaining the thinking behind his high-speed work of art, Frank Stella, born in 1936 said, “My design is a kind of blueprint applied to the entire body of the car.”

About the Artist :

Born in 1936 in Malden, Massachusetts, Stella began studying art at the Phillips Academy in Andover at the tender age of 14, and went on to study history at Princeton. After this, he set up a studio in New York in which many of his much acclaimed “Transitional Paintings” and “Black Paintings” were produced.

An exhibition of his work was held at the Museum of Modern Art as early on as 1959. During this creative period, the influence of the abstract Expressionists is unmistakable. The “post abstractionist,” mostly large-scale pop art paintings he produced in the 1960s, are now art history.

Between 1960 and 1980, Stella exhibited throughout the world, while continuing to work as a teacher. From 1978 to 1980, a traveling exhibition took place in the USA showing a retrospective of his work. His subsequent creative works consist mainly of relief pictures.


source : BMW AG Art Cars

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Historic date Sunday, January 3, 2016

This compilation features the Renault 5 Alpine and Turbo, and their rally versions driven by Jean Ragnotti. The Turbo was later replaced by the Turbo 2, which had a less specialised interior, shared with the Alpine Turbo, that cost less to produce.

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