Sunday, September 18, 2016

Nomad Sport: More Shows

Joe took the Nomad to the Big SoCal Euro 2016 event down in San Diego.  This show is obviously focused on European makes, but even with Brexit, the Nomad was invited.  The Nomad is a very different car from most that were on display.  This show has a great mix but is heavily populated by the tuner crowd with lowered cars that seem to place form over function.  Wheels, body kits and power adders were on full display from VWs to Ferraris.  Southern CA continues to pave the way with new automotive trends - like them or not, there is room for us all.

Carlos performed an update on the Nomad after Monterey.  The clutch now requires some more effort than before.  The supercharger option delivers a heavier clutch than stock anyhow.  The release is still progressive and not an 'on or off' style of clutch, so it remains driveable on the street.

The Grand Tour has requested the Nomad and the Drakan for a video shoot on a dry lake bed.  The amount of dust and silt that gets everywhere made me politely decline bringing a Drakan.  I really don't want to clean the car afterwards!  TMI was more gracious and is sending an Atom3S for the shoot as well.    

a mattress!

I decided to head down to the Secret Car Club to show off the Nomad Sport.  When brake lights suddenly appear in front of you and the traffic quickly comes to a screeching halt, you know something is not good up ahead!  I'll never understand why it is legal to have open pick up beds hauling crap.  I have seen so many large objects like this on the freeways here and I wonder why we can't required closed beds?  Off my soapbox....

Driving any Ariel or open car remains one of life's real pleasures - at least for us car folk.  You really feel, see, hear, smell and sometimes taste more than in other cars!  Describing this properly is hard but I think owning one of these vehicles or at least driving one, should be on everyone's bucket list.

in good but sparse company

very clean and cool!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Nomads Take On Monterey2016

Aaron and Jesse flew in SoCal from TMI Autotech to join me for CarWeek.  Jesse arrived on Sunday, jumped in the Tactical and drove it north.  Aaron arrived on Tuesday and took the Sport north to join the Fuel Run from Malibu.  I drove the 'support' vehicle up and arrived on Tuesday into Carmel.  Needless to say, the Nomads really wowed the crowds.  We had them on display at multiple locations.  Media reviewed the car so expect videos and articles from: eGarage, Autoweek, Road&Track and more.  The eGarage video should be very epic!

Just off Ocean Ave in Carmel
Customers checking out both Nomads at the 'Nomad House'
Front row parking at the Baja Cantina
6'7" Atom2 Owner towering over the Nomad - he fits!
Parked in front of our hotel
Another Atom owner grinning like a mad man...

Concorso Italiano

Sunday, August 14, 2016

More Shows: Rancho Santa Fe Motor Club and Cars&Coffee Aliso Viejo

Rancho Santa Fe Motor Club  3rd Annual Beach Bash
I brought the Nomad Sport to the Beach Bash held at the Rancho Santa Fe Motor Club.  This club is a great storage solution for folks with nice cars and the need for storage.  This was their 3rd annual event that was held the week before Monterey car week.  The Nomad was in good company.

This was the first longer trip in the Sport and the lack of side panels allowed more air ingress.  That was most welcome in the heat.  Driving home, in the eve, was very comfortable as I had brought a jacket with good wind protection (CA evenings can be cold).

Cars & Coffee: Aliso Viejo
woke up early on Saturday to head over to Cars & Coffee Aliso Viejo.  This event was one of the splintered events that came from the 'original' C&C event.  Another is held at the orange county fairgrounds but I must admit, I like this venue better.  This one has trees and some foliage to 'soften' the experience.  I'm not too keen on the car shows that are held in wide open parking lots.  The Aliso Viejo show has really grown and the selection of cars was excellent.  Hundreds of cars and many more enthusiasts.  The Nomad was a great hit.  

5am means minimal traffic on Ortega Hwy.  Yes!

My friend and Ariel owner, Rahul, saved me a spot near the front of the show.  I was parked between a Cayman GT4 and a '06 Lotus Exige.  Nice company!  The following pictures were all 'snatched' from the C&C Aliso Viejo Facebook page.  I forgot to get any pictures as I was answering non-stop questions.  I was also happy to meet car designer Freeman Thomas - who was very excited about the Nomad.  

The drive to and from this event allowed me to push the car on Ortega Hwy.  This twisty bit of highway can get traffic laden which naturally reduces the fun.  On this trip, I probably enjoyed about 30% of the road without restrictions.  The Sport really is designed for these roads,  Ortega was repaved a few years ago but there are still some bumps that can upset cars that are too stiff.  The acceleration is excellent and you are never left feeling like you need more in the canyons.  It pulls hard in more than 1 gear.  I imagine with even stickier rubber - like a R-compound - this car will be even more unstoppable.  Frankly, the stock rubber was perfectly fun and I did not really find myself wanting more stick.  Heel and toe needs some work as the brake pedal is a bit too high.  I'm really enjoying the 'door-less' feel that you get with the Nomad.  The A pillar does impede some forward visibility on tight left hand turns but you get used to it fairly quickly.  

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Bikini Roof!

The severe CA sun will cook you mercilessly in a Nomad.  I keep my trusty bucket hat in the car for any trips taken during the day.  The good folks at TMI knew that some UV protection was in order so they contacted their Atom seat cover manufacturer.  They came up with a simple but very functional solution.  I've tested it and can vouch for its effectiveness.  
CA sun has no mercy!
Note the top does not cover the outside tubes - allowing you to get a grip for ingress/egress

The cover is fairly easy to install.  They use a very novel way to attach it at the front and use nylon straps with buckets at the rear.  It attaches with no permanent modifications - something I like.

Since the sun still peaks in the sides and through the windshield, I'm not ready to give up my hat...but this top is an absolute must have! for anyone living with massive UV!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Nomad Sport is Here!

The Sport arrived this week.  It is the more road oriented version of the Nomad.  This has the same K24 Honda power train but has been enhanced with a supercharger.   The wheels are bigger, tires are road focused and the suspension tuned by JRi for street athleticism.  

This is the first supercharged K24 Ariel and I have to say, it is sweet.  I've always been a big fan of the supercharger whine and in this application, it is great.  The acceleration is fantastic.  Though it is slower than the Atom3S Turbo, it is still plenty fast.  It will be headed up to Monterey with the FuelRun and I think it has adequate power to keep up with the supercars that will be in the group -  assuming no top speed runs are attempted!

The Sport has the Wilwood brakes which work well.  It should be lighter than the Tactical as it has less goodies like the winch.  The Wilans 4pt belts are installed and though they are simpler than the 6pts on the Tactical, I prefer the better retention of the 6pt.  Luckily the 6pt is an option.  This one lacks the side panels which allows more air to enter and keeps you cool on hot days. The increased visibility out the back and side is also a new sensation in an Ariel.  This Nomad could use a rear view mirror, I might have to see how our microMIRROR might fit.

Monday, August 8, 2016

All Terrain? Maybe not...

The Ariel Nomad tactical sure looks like an off-road buggy or sand rail.  But in reality, it is not.  In SoCal, the off-road/desert market is huge so the Nomad naturally looks like it would be an all terrain vehicle.  We've always known that the car is truly suited for rally conditions: asphalt, broken pavement, dirt roads, etc.  I've run our Nomad through these type of roads and was happy with its performance.  Well I decided to try out the car in some sand and promptly got stuck.  And then got out!

There is a dry creek bed that runs close to our shop.  There are several access points to this area and it is approved for motorized vehicle use.  I stumbled across one of the entrances last week but did not have the time to check it out in full.  I discussed the creek bed with the guys and they immediately suggested that if I get stuck, I should air down the tires.  Well that was good advice as I soon found out.

I wonder where this gravel road goes?

That does not look too deep...

Yep, its deep.

Too deep...
Air this mutha down...
After taking air out of the rear tires, and with some coaching from a local (and new friend) - who digs out trucks daily from this sand trap - I gave it a go.  Watch the video to see the results.

I think the Nomad remains a versatile vehicle.  Deep sand may be a problem but with the right tools and approach, it can be traversed.  I think groomed dirt/gravel may be the safer bet...did I mention that I had Stacy with me when I got stuck?  And it was her birthday?!  That's how I roll - sometimes...

Sunday, August 7, 2016

More Car Shows & First Road Trip!

Weekend car shows in CA are as common as sunshine in this fine state.  There are at least a couple of car events every weekend in SoCal without fail.  So naturally, it is our duty, as enthusiasts, to attend as many as we can.  One of the shows was local and the other required a 180 mile drive one-way.  This would be the first multi-hour trip in the Nomad and I recruited my ever intrepid wife, Stacy.  

Temecula Valley Motoring Enthusiast - 1st Sat of the Month.
The first show for the weekend was organized by the Temecula Valley Motoring Enthusiasts.  I've been in this club for 10+yrs and it has grown tremendously.  The interest in the Nomad was excellent.  I strapped my bike onto the roof rack for this show - the bike racks are not so obvious to many people.  Unfortunately I can't drive into my garage at home with the bike as it is too tall.

I was taking the trip north to Montecito with a stop at my cousins place in the Valley.  All road trips require taking extra stuff - the Nomad lacks places for these things.  I picked up some interior storage bags from a off-road specialist to sort that issue.  They had 4 interior bags that worked perfectly.  I will test fit them into an Atom to see if they would also work.

Stacy and I packed one of our drybags with our stuff for the trip and placed it on the floor in the passenger footwell.  She simply rested her legs on top of the bag - much like a chaise lounge.  I know the factory has some roof storage ideas that will make storing bags an easier proposition.

On Friday, I set all of the shocks to full hard.  I wanted to see what it would be like on a longer journey.  Amazingly, I like it better as the was more responsive without being too harsh on rough roads.  I think this may be the preferred setting for highway travels.  We added some seat pads that also made the ride very plush.  Stacy was very pleased with the ride comfort.

The wind noise and tire noise are too much for 1+ hr. trip, let alone one that would take 3-4hrs.  We opted for earplugs that filter out most of the background noise but still allowed us to talk(shout) at highway speeds.  The bikini top for the car will arrive soon and will be a must have for longer trips in the SoCal sun.  Sunglasses, hats, long sleeves and pants were an absolute requirement for the mid90s degF and intense UV that we were braving.
Bucket hats FTW!

The Pacific

The mountains

The Cars&Coffee event in Montecito was excellent.  There were some really amazing cars including two original gullwing Mercedes.  The event was not as big as some shows but the sheer quality of the cars was staggering.  The venue is also quite nice.  I highly recommend attending this show.

Cars & Coffee - Santa Barbara/Montecito

Carl the Contortionist
 Getting into the Nomad takes some practice and a certain technique.  You do need to be limber enough to drop into the side opening.  My friend, Carl, thought he could get one leg in and then his head/torso and then try to fold his other leg.  Well as you can see from the picture, you're gonna have to be a contortionist to make this technique work.  The rest of us will simply place both legs in first and drop in...

Fueling her up - almost $4/gal!  Of course this is Montecito...
Venture Beach

We made a couple of stops on the way home, including Ventura Beach.  The Nomad is really a car for many roads types: asphalt, broken asphalt, gravel, and dirt.  It is a rally car and not a desert racer/sand rail.  We'll continue to take her to different spots and test her out.  I have a local dry creek bed that I want to try out.
She's made for this terrain
This is a car that makes you feel alive.  You are connected to the elements when you take a trip in one.  You need to be ready to enjoy everything - including windshield washer spray from the car in front of I've said before, this is as close to a motorcycle experience as you will get.  I think it is very much like an adventure bike - only with 4 wheels.  Will it be tiring on a longer trip?  Yes, it will be.  But don't most exhilarating experiences leave you that way?!