Archive for the 'The Build' Category

Unique Upgrades

A number of people have asked me what stuff I had Tom Smurzynski at Unique Fabricating do on my Atom.

There were a bunch of separate projects. Not everything got completed because of my fixed schedule for picking up the Atom, so some things are still in the works and Tom will be sending them along in due time.

First, the clutch was replaced with the LNF-based 19212712 high-performance clutch upgrade kit. That’s a new clutch, pressure plate, and throwout bearing. Tom also installed a new flywheel while he was in there. The old clutch was fine, but given that it wasn’t rated for 300HP while the 19212712 kit is, it seemed a reasonable thing to do pro-actively. Tom wasn’t happy with the way the pressure plate mounted (he felt there could be vibration issues), so after talking to GM Performance he made some special guide sleeves to achieve a perfect balance:

New clutch components

Next, he removed the A-arms and replaced the urethane bushing inserts with spherical bearings. That sounds simple, but is a bit more complex than it seems. This change means that the suspension actually has travel, instead of jumping from one point to another. On stock Brammo Atoms, if you lift the nose up, it stays up. This fixes that problem by vastly reducing stiction in the suspension. This picture is from the middle of the process, before painting:

Spherical bearing in A-arm

Then he modified the thermostat housing and thermostat. A stock Atom has a loop of rubber hose (under heat tape) where the coolant line comes out of the thermostat housing and goes right back in. This is where the passenger compartment heater core connects in a regular car, but serves no purpose in an Atom. With things being so tight in the Atom engine area, this hose is exposed to a lot of heat from the exhaust header and over time can degrade and fail. Tom modified the thermostat housing to eliminate this loop by machining a channel inside the housing casting. He also drilled a series of small holes in the thermostat itself to let a little coolant (and a lot of air) flow past the thermostat when it is closed. This makes filling the cooling system and purging air a lot easier.

Modified thermostat housing

The last major project was having all of the suspension components magnetically inspected for hidden flaws. Since the car was completely torn down, this was quite easy. The only issue found was that one alignment thimble had a microscopic fracture. As a precautionary measure, all 6 were replaced with new ones from TMI. Here’s a picture of the car disassembled for inspection:

Atom inspection disassembly

On reassembly, most hardware was replaced with new pieces rather than individually testing and inspecting each nut and bolt. The wheel bearings and studs were also pro-actively replaced, though the removed ones showed no sign of wear. All of the rubber hoses were pro-actively replaced with new ones, along with the Nylon fittings for the intercooler radiator.

Build completed!

As I was waiting at the airport for my flight to Oregon to board, Brian sent me these two pictures of my completed Atom:



This is the first US Atom built with the Microdash.

I’ll post more once I pick up the car in the morning…

Build Progress – July 11th

Craig sent me some new pictures of the build. Here they are – lots of progress since the last set!









Assembly has started!

Brian sent me these pictures today, and I couldn’t wait to share them with you!








Chassis back from powdercoating

Brian from Brammo emailed me today with these pictures of my chassis as it returned from powdercoating. Assembly of the car won’t start until the new facility is open (mine will be one of the first cars from there), however.




Configuration Update

After meeting with the folks at Brammo, I made a number of configuration changes. My order now looks like this:

Item Description Price ($)

GM Ecotec 2.0 Liter 300hp 250 ft/lbs Supercharged 43,640.00

Polished Stainless Steel Header & Exhaust 835.00

Race Brake Package 2,500.00

Aluminum 2-way Adjustable Dampers 2,330.00

Billet Aluminum Steering Rack 315.00

Shift Light Steering Wheel 350.00

Quick Release Steering Wheel Hub 170.00

15″ Front / 16″ Rear – Style A – Silver 633.00

Bridgestone Potenza S-03 – 195/50WR/15 Front, 225/45YR16 Rear 790.00

MasterLube Accumulator System – Ecotec Engines 975.00

Roll Protection Bar 1,080.00

Fire Extinguisher Kit 625.00

Remote Brake Bias Adjuster 200.00

Towing Eye Kit 180.00

Battery Master Switch 250.00

SPA Microdash Datalogger Carbon Dash Kit 3,950.00

Twin Bubble Windscreen 350.00

FIA High Intensity Rain Light 195.00

Custom Color Bodywork 540.00

Color Coordinated Fenders 300.00

Custom Color Chassis 540.00

Stainless Hardware 725.00

Recaro Seating Package 2,000.00

3″ Competition 6 Point Belts 312.00

3″ Competition Seat Belt Pads 60.00

Road Race Lighting Kit 250.00

Locking Fuel Cap 173.00

12V Power Source 45.00

Billet Aluminum Accelerator Pedal and E-Brake Handle 80.00

Passenger footrest & Deadpedal 275.00

Indoor Car Cover 525.00

Outdoor Car Cover 495.00

TOTAL $65,688.00


Color samples

I’ve received the color samples for my custom colors. The body is “Wildberry Metallic” as used on my 1995 Eagle Talon, and the chassis metal is “Lounge Gray“, which is a dark gray. Here’s a picture of the samples (note that the colored dots on the metal piece are an artifact of the camera).

Color samples

Configuration Update

I changed the engine to the Ecotec due to a) availablility and service issues with the Honda engine in the US, and b) higher torque.

Initial Order

I received an email that said that there was a beta version of the configurator available, and that orders could be placed.

I ordered an Atom as follows:

Dear Terence Kennedy,

Thank you for ordering an Ariel Atom 2.

Your order number is xxx.

You ordered the following configuration:

Honda K20 Supercharged ($43,640.00)

Polished Stainless Steel Headers & Exhaust ($835.00)

Race ($1,790.00)

Aluminum 2-way Adjustable Dampers ($2,245.00)

Competition Steering Rack ($315.00)

Shift Light Steering Wheel ($235.00)

15 Front / 16 Rear Style A Silver ($585.00)

Bridgestone Potenza S-03 195/50WR/15 Front, 225/45YR16 Rear ($790.00)

Roll-Over Bar Mounts in Chassis ($360.00)

Racing Roll-Over Bar ($1,080.00)

Fire Extinguisher Kit ($355.00)

Remote Brake Bias Adjuster ($200.00)

SPA Microdash Datalogger ($3,950.00)

FIA High Intensity Rain Light ($195.00)

Towing Eye Kit ($180.00)

Battery Master Switch ($235.00)

Fuel Cut-off ($45.00)

Twin Bubble Windscreen ($350.00)

Painted Bodywork ($540.00)

Custom Color Chassis ($540.00)

Locking Fuel Cap ($30.00)

Stainless Hardware ($725.00)

Carbon Fiber Dash Panel ($1,200.00)

Aluminum Gear Knob/ Handbrake Grip ($80.00)

3 Seat Belts ($215.00)

3 Seat Belt Pads ($50.00)

Passenger footrest & Deadpedal ($275.00)

Separate Adjustable Recaro Seats ($1,195.00)

Road Race Lighting Kit ($250.00)

Indoor Car Cover ($525.00)

TOTAL = $63,010.00

The following payment schedule details how we process your order:
1. At order: $10,000 USD deposit, secures your production order status.

2. Drivetrain Shipment: $10,000 USD when we order and have your drivetrain shipped for installation in your chassis.

3. Outstanding balance is due at shipment or pickup, including any pre-arranged shipping costs. All orders are FOB Brammo in Ashland Oregon.

Initial Contact

I filled out an inquiry on the US Atom web page and received a response saying they’ll be taking deposits starting in August.