The Heart of the Honda Civic Type-R Finds a More Batshit Crazy Home

Ariel Motor Co. is putting the Honda Civic Type-R engine to task in the next generation Atom.

Late last year, Honda announced it would be selling the new Civic Type-R powerplant through its crate engine program meaning you can buy just the Type-R’s engine through the official Honda parts catalog (sadly it can only go in race cars, not road cars). Naturally, we fell into a dream-engine-swap conversation in the office. Suggestions ranged from the underloved Honda CR-Z to the torque starved S2000, but the folks at Ariel Motor Co. had different plans. The 2019 Ariel Atom 4 will get power from that very engine.

If you’re familiar with the Atom, the new, fourth-generation won’t look that different from the last, but Simon Saunders, Director of Ariel, says “the Atom 4 is the biggest change to the car since we originally released it in 1999. It really is an all-new car; in fact, there are only three parts carried over from the last Atom – the clutch/brake pedals and the fuel cap.” So, from the ground up, it’s an entirely new car, but if you’re looking for Ariel to boost the Type-R engine’s power, you’ll be sadly disappointed (well, that might depend on how you look at it).

The only think Ariel tinkered with in the engine department was the ECU, adding its own launch and traction control systems. The boost pressure is adjustable, but power remains the same as the factory Civic Type-R at 306 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. Keep in mind the Ariel only weighs around 1,300 lbs, any more power than that can get out of hand, fast, especially when you consider the Atom 4 now clocks a 0-60 MPH time of 2.8 seconds. It’s hard to believe the Ariel Atom started life as the brainchild of a wide-eyed, performance-hungry college student in England, back in 1996.

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