Lotus Elise vs Ariel Atom 3S :) - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
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post #1 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-03-2017, 03:34 PM Thread Starter
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Lotus Elise vs Ariel Atom 3S :)

There's a company in Virginia called TMI Autotech that makes an Atom with a turbocharged honda k24 and the thing weighs 1450 pounds. i believe it's 324whp. retails for around $100k. the best part is that somehow it can be street legal depending on your state Your thoughts?
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post #2 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-03-2017, 04:05 PM
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The car is beyond description. Drove my buddy's 3S in Montana last month, he now has it listed on Ebay, it is consigned with Classic Cars LTD. Only 800 break in miles. If interested please take the time to read the listing from the owner of Classic Cars, it is a great write up. Rusty.
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post #3 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-03-2017, 04:31 PM
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...the best part is that somehow it can be street legal depending on your state...
False. The Ariel Atom does not meet federal requirements to be operated on a public road. Some people have obtained state registration for Ariel Atoms in their state, but that does negate federal law. You also would be very unlikely to be able to obtain auto insurance as required by most states.

TLDR: Awesome car, high maintenance costs, track only.

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post #4 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-03-2017, 05:49 PM Thread Starter
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False. The Ariel Atom does not meet federal requirements to be operated on a public road. Some people have obtained state registration for Ariel Atoms in their state, but that does negate federal law. You also would be very unlikely to be able to obtain auto insurance as required by most states.

TLDR: Awesome car, high maintenance costs, track only.

Glen
there's gotta be a way!
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post #5 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-04-2017, 02:51 AM
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there's gotta be a way!

In many states there is. My guess is that it needs to be treated as a kit/specialty car. It would be no problem in TN.


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post #6 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-04-2017, 05:12 AM
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Insuring it shouldn't be a problem. When I bought a totally-illegal-to-drive-on-the-street Elise Sport 190 in 1999, it took one minute to insure it with my normal carrier, who only wanted the VIN number and price I paid. They also have insured several gray market cars I've owned, including three Renault R5 Turbo's.
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post #7 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-04-2017, 06:30 AM
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I would love to have an Ariel Atom to drive on public roads. When they were first being manufactured in Oregon, I did a lot of research to figure out how to do it legally. Any other way is just too much risk. Being presumed at fault because you are driving a vehicle in violation of federal law is not a strong position when you are trying to defend the financial assets that make up your retirement. I never found a way to do it legally.

Yes, there are Atoms registered in a few places; notably Jay Leno had one (at least for a time). If you have hundreds of millions of dollars, only drive your Atom on the road two times a year and can self-insure against a wrongful death suit, you are

1) Not posting on this site.

2) May be a candidate to flaunt the law because you are really rich and can get away with it.

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When I bought a totally-illegal-to-drive-on-the-street Elise Sport 190 in 1999, it took one minute to insure it with my normal carrier, who only wanted the VIN number and price I paid.
Did they take your money? Sure I believe that. Actually pay a claim in which you were at fault? That seems unlikely - the first thing an insurer does is try to figure out how to deny a claim. Operating a vehicle in violation of federal law (and no doubt in violation of a clause in their contract with you) is a no-brainer: you lose the premiums paid and their offer of insurance.

The TV here in Denver is saturated with ads from lawyers boasting of high-dollar settlements obtained from insurance companies. I can’t imagine these types of lawyers would miss the fact that an at-fault driver was operating a vehicle that shouldn’t have been on the road in the first place.

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post #8 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-04-2017, 06:59 AM
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This is my old car, being street-driven in direct violation of Glen's advice.

Living on the edge! Life in the fast lane!

P.S. I thought I was a crotchety old dude until I recently rejoined this forum.
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post #9 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-04-2017, 07:04 AM
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This is my old car, being street-driven in direct violation of Glen's advice.

Living on the edge! Life in the fast lane!

P.S. I thought I was a crotchety old dude until I recently rejoined this forum.
.
How comfortable is the passenger with the down bar going across their lap?

Cool car by the way.

Later,
Eldon
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post #10 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-04-2017, 07:12 AM
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That section of the roll bar unbolts and I usually had it out. This photo was taken at a country road tour event preceding a concours, so I had the bar in since I was showing the car the next day.
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post #11 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-04-2017, 07:47 AM
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This is my old car, being street-driven in direct violation of Glen's advice.
Not saying it can not or has not been done ... just sayin’ you are gambling your current net worth and future earnings if you do so.

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post #12 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-04-2017, 07:55 AM
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Some people worry way to much. I got to ride in one a Sector 111, that intake next to your ear is like wow.
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post #13 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-04-2017, 09:04 AM
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Not saying it can not or has not been done ... just sayin’ you are gambling your current net worth and future earnings if you do so.

Glen
Auto insurance is not a good way to protect your net worth and future earnings. Something could happen in any car that would that would exceed what your insurer is willing to pay. There are other types of insurance and methods to protect your wealth that could make the risk here lower, but yes people with the money to do that fall into your descriptions a few post above.
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post #14 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-04-2017, 12:50 PM
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I owned one and drove it regularly on the street here in California for 7 years. They are streetable, but you have to follow the registration rules for your state to do it. I was able to do it in CA because I purchased the car as a rolling chassis and installed the drivetrain myself, thus was able to register it as a kit car. Several states allow for Atoms to be registered, but many don't. Texas also revoked the registrations of all Atoms in that state once they learned about it.
Currently I only know of one insurance company in the US which will ensure the Atom, which is where most of the risk lies and which is the main reason I chose to sell a couple years ago. I didn't want to run the risk of losing street-ability because I couldn't find coverage.

In comparing the Atom to the Elise...the Elise is much cushier, more practical car. Loved both, but kept my Lotus (Exige).
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post #15 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-04-2017, 08:40 PM
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I owned one and drove it regularly on the street here in California for 7 years.
Presuming you’re the same Mr. Woolery, I read your posts back then (on another forum). I seriously considered doing what you did - buy a roller and their engine and assemble it as a kit car. For a time, you could even assemble it with factory help at their facility in Oregon.

Your posts and others led me to do the research that ultimately caused me to choose an Elise as a legal alternative to the Atom. Apart from the FMVSS issues, I think I came out way ahead in practicability and lower maintenance costs. And my wife loves the Lotus, something I doubt would have lasted with the Atom.

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Auto insurance is not a good way to protect your net worth and future earnings.
I’m not saying it is. I’m saying that intentionally violating federal law and then relying on an insurance policy that is very likely to not pay when you’re at fault is a good way to put your net worth at risk.

Glen

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Last edited by Glen; 11-04-2017 at 08:48 PM.
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post #16 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-05-2017, 05:20 PM
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I bought my first Atom2 in 2007. Like David (MrWoolery) above, I registered and insured mine with no serious issues. There are 300+ Atom folks who have done the same in the US. Several insurance companies will cover the Atom. I used State Farm. I sold the Atom2 and bought an Atom3 in 2010 and registered/insured it as well.

The Atom is a fun car. It is very quick with razor sharp handling. It is extremely raw - even when compared to the Elise. The weight bias and handling is much like a 80s vintage 911 - inherently flawed. The car understeers entering a corner and oversteers exiting the corner. It is a very loose car. These flaws are why it is so loved or hated by many. It is very polarizing car.

I personally love the Atom and its flaws are acceptable to me. I think anyone who enjoys driving should have it on their bucket list. If I had to choose between the two, it would be an Elise. Though I like the new Nomad even more than the Atom...
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post #17 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-05-2017, 05:51 PM
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It's too bad the BAC Mono is so pricey. I'd love to follow the same path and spend my winter installing the drive train, register, and drive on the roads next spring. Of course driving an Ariel or Mono on U.S. roads with F150s and SUVs full of oblivious drivers is a whole other issue beyond registration and insurance!

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post #18 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-06-2017, 03:07 PM
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It's too bad the BAC Mono is so pricey. I'd love to follow the same path and spend my winter installing the drive train, register, and drive on the roads next spring. Of course driving an Ariel or Mono on U.S. roads with F150s and SUVs full of oblivious drivers is a whole other issue beyond registration and insurance!
The BAC Mono is likely the only car I'd replace my Exige with... Drooooool...

Thinking of K-swapping? Here's an idea of the cost involved.

2006 LOTUS EXIGE (ASPEN WHITE) Honda K24A2 + MPx90 supercharger. 322whp/271lb-ft @13psi. Build thread here.
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post #19 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-06-2017, 05:10 PM
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The BAC Mono is likely the only car I'd replace my Exige with... Drooooool...
Apples and oranges. The Mono is more like a Ducati Desmosedici and the Exige is more like the Hypermotard. You really need both...

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post #20 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-06-2017, 05:38 PM
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Apples and oranges. The Mono is more like a Ducati Desmosedici and the Exige is more like the Hypermotard. You really need both...
Nah. If I get another motorcycle to keep my R1M and S1000RR company, it will be the Panigale S V4.

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