Retrospective – Ariel Atom designer Niki Smart & GhettoRacer

I’ve decided to add a new category called “name dropping”.  Today, I’ll talk about how I met Ariel Atom‘s original designer Niki Smart.  Another name I’ll drop for the Rennlist Porsche haters?  How about Pete Stout, the publisher of Excellence?  Ask Pete if he knows me.  🙂  Ohh wait, you probably don’t know him personally.  But I do.  Humph.

Below is the “about” page for the old web site ktwizzle.com I used to have that was meant to cover the Honda K Series engines.  Circa 2004-2005.


The car that got me started on the ktwizzle.com web site – Niki’s Ariel Atom.  See about ktwizzle for the story.  The Atom is the purest implementation of k20a.  With the wet curb weight of just under 1000 lbs…  this car is pure mechanical bliss!  It’s the most fun I’ve had in a full size car ever!

A little background info on this web site:

I’ve been a Honda B16A fan since 1989.  I’ve dedicated a page called The VTEC Legend – Honda B16A (under myPowered by Honda page, which at last has been restored after about 5 years!) to pay homage to this already legendary 1.6 liter engine.  The Honda B series engines are simply unmatched by any other 4 stroke engine of the same displacement.  The B series engines received developments and after a little over a decade, Honda finally released the next generation of high performance 4 cylinder engines – the K series family.  There are lot of innovations in the K motors and Honda continues to amaze and dazzle with their engineering prowess.

Anyway, it was Nov. 2004 when I came across in person the Ariel Atom.  I’ve seen this car on the internet before, for quite some time.  It has a distinctive look due to its “rib cage” (as I like to call it) chassis.  I’m not sure if the designers have a special name for the design.  The car weights right around 1000 lbs wet and is powered by the Japanese DC5R Integra Type-R K20A engine with 6 speed transmission.  It was just yet another day that I instruct at the track.  I strike up a conversation with the owner Niki Smart and asked if he could take me for a ride.  He was more than happy to do so.  The car simply blew me away (that is VERY rare, and I’ve driven lot of different cars).

Niki asked if I would like to try the car out.  I was super stoked.  I asked again is he positive about this.  Niki said I seem to know what I’m talking about and doing so he trusts me.  We go out…  and I progressively increase the acceleration, cornering and braking.  The performance this car is capable of is just mind boggling.  I’ll just leave it at that.  I have to get me one, it is on my to-get list for sure.

Anyway, this was such a kick ass experience I dubbed it “K Sizzle Hotness”.  Some of my friends think “sizzle” just sounds stupid so it became ktwizzle.  I decided to get the domain name…  and the rest is history.

The super clean Porsche 914 above is owned by Niki’s friend Robie.  Like Niki, Robi is also first time at Streets of Willows and he also has really good car control.  Robie has owned this 914 for a long time.  It has a 2.7 liter air cooled flat six, and also big red Porsche brakes.  The car is in fabulous shape and drives superb with very good balance.  With the mid engine layout turn in is fantastic.  The upgraded brakes works well and easy to modulate unlike some other older un-assisted Porsche cars I’ve driven in the past.  The only draw back is the shifter.  It is extremely vague and the gates are difficult to figure out.  Robie is used to it but for someone who have no experience with this gearbox it will take quite some time to get used to.  Those that know me knows back in high school I was a major fan of Porsche 914.  In fact, the publisher of Excellence a Porsche magazine that is highly acclaimed Pete Stout is my high school car buddy.  We were both lovers of Porsche 914 back in the days, he has a really clean Porsche 914 2.0 liter.  He would really enjoy seeing Robie’s 914.  I bought my Honda del Sol partly because it reminded me of the 914 with the targa top, and the profile of the rear window area.

Frank M. LIN, Jan. 2005

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About GhettoRacer

racer, driver coach, taoist, yogi, dreamweaver, bballer, rebel, philosopher, entrepreneur, kiva, lonewolf, vagabond, photo/video shooter, storyteller
This entry was posted in Cool story, Bro!, Good Guys List - my heros & inspirations, name dropping/me showing off my awesomeness lol, Retrospective, Transportation and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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