Product Idea

Ariel Atom 500

The Atom is a small sports car produced by British startup manufacturer Ariel. It has a distinctive exoskeleton frame and weighs just 550kg, making it ideal for track-day racing. The 500, the most powerful Atom created to date, was released in 2008 and features a 3-litre V8 engine redlining at 10,500 RPM and producing 500 horsepower. This allows the Atom 500 to go from 0 to 60mph in just 2.3 seconds and reach a top speed of 200mph. At the time, it was the fastest road-legal car to go around the Top Gear Test Track with a time of 1:15.1 on a wet track. Who knows how much faster it would have gone if the track was dry? Only 25 were made, and it remains a halo model in the Atom family.

This TECHNIC model is around 1:9 scale. It would function well as a display model and is instantly recogniseable with its black chassis, yellow frame and red highlights, a colour combination exclusive to the Atom 500. It has exposed suspension links, shock absorbers and a detailed V8 engine with moving pistons. There is also an interior with two seats, a steering wheel and a set of paddle-shifters, just like on the real car. The framework, wings and vents have been made to match the real car as closely as possible.

However, this model doesn't just sit there. It also features:

  • Remote-control drive and steering using Power Functions - 1 XL motor is used for drive and 1 M motor for steering. The steering wheel is connected to the motorised steering system and the V8 engine is connected to the drive motor.
  • 4-speed sequential gearbox with a differential driving the rear wheels. The paddle-shifters control the gearbox just like in the real car. A press of the right paddle moves up a gear; pressing the left paddle shifts down.
  • Full independent suspension. Each wheel has its own set of suspension links and a shock absorber. The shock absorbers are mounted longitudinally to match the real car.
  • Zero-scrub-radius steering. This was an experimental feature that I had never tried before and worked very well here. The front suspension linkage is changed to make all four links control the wheel's angle. This causes the hub to move a little when steering to compensate for the size of the wheels. This was important to make the wheels fit inside the mudguards when steering.

 

This would be a good LEGO set because it uses a range of LEGO TECHNIC pieces to create a model that will impress both visually and functionally. While it is mostly targeted at engineers, car enthusiasts and TECHNIC builders, it would be a stunning addition to any LEGO fan's collection. Since Ariel is a start-up company and a set like this would give them more publicity, licensing should be relatively easy.