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Thread: Buying a new Atom, have questions.

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    Buying a new Atom, have questions.

    I should be picking it up in March, from the company at VIR. But I wanted to know, how does everyone usually go about doing this? Is it possible to get it registered beforehand, and just slap a tag on it and drive away? Or will I need to trailer it home (to NC), then go through the process of getting it registered?

    Also, I hoped to find a huge aftermarket parts available, but so far I haven't found many at all. I've found Sector 111, but they have like 5 items lol. I was looking for carbon fiber pieces, such as the engine cover, nose pieces, and the big piece that the windshield mounts to. Are there no actual manufacturers of these items? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Finally for now, I'd LOVE to get some side pods like the V8 version has. I think it adds to the overall "Indycar" look I'm going for. I found some old threads on one of these forum sites that apparently someone made some in Germany. But I would have guessed that there was a market for all of these aftermarket parts that could technically be done to upgrade this crazy machine.

    Thanks in advance for any help you guys can provide.

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    Proton Terry Kennedy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vhayne View Post
    I should be picking it up in March, from the company at VIR. But I wanted to know, how does everyone usually go about doing this? Is it possible to get it registered beforehand, and just slap a tag on it and drive away? Or will I need to trailer it home (to NC), then go through the process of getting it registered?
    It really depends on how the state(s) you're dealing with handle things. Back in the earliest days when Brammo was building these in Oregon, you could get 2 back-to-back 21-day temp plates in Oregon and drive it home. The Oregon DMV stopped doing that soon after, and now TMI is building cars in VA, so it doesn't apply anyway.

    If your state will give you a temporary plate because you're buying a car out-of-state and driving it back, that's one solution. Some people have been able to get far enough along in registration that they pick up the car and already have their final license plates in hand. And at least one person drove the car with a dealer plate (dealer plates go with the dealer, not with the car).

    Also, I hoped to find a huge aftermarket parts available, but so far I haven't found many at all. I've found Sector 111, but they have like 5 items lol. I was looking for carbon fiber pieces, such as the engine cover, nose pieces, and the big piece that the windshield mounts to. Are there no actual manufacturers of these items? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Finally for now, I'd LOVE to get some side pods like the V8 version has. I think it adds to the overall "Indycar" look I'm going for. I found some old threads on one of these forum sites that apparently someone made some in Germany. But I would have guessed that there was a market for all of these aftermarket parts that could technically be done to upgrade this crazy machine.
    In the past, the head factory (Ariel UK) has been very (overly, in my opinion) aggressive in shutting down people / companies that were making replacement (or near-identical) parts. I know of one case where that caused a company that probably would have become an Atom dealer to simply give up, sell their cars, and walk away.

    The head factory seems more tolerant of add-ons that are not identical to things that they're selling, parts for older (Brammo) cars, and of low-volume enthusiast projects.

    But the market for those is inherently small, which tends to discourage commercial products. Three of the four companies I know of that made custom Atom parts no longer stock them, though two of them may produce more if there's demand. In alphabetical order:

    Fortress Performance - Exhaust for Brammo Atom 2's "We would like to thank all of our customers for your business but unfortunately Fortress Performance has shutdown operations and will no longer be accepting new orders/jobs. We have decided to move in a different direction."

    Palatov Motorsport - suspension and upright components. Moved on to producing whole cars.

    Unique Fabricating - suspenstion and upright components, supercharging, water injection, tuning, custom projects. Still doing custom projects, but limited inventory for parts sales.

    The fourth company is Sector 111. They produced parts for the Brammo Atom 2, but I believe their dealer agreement precludes them from making parts for the 3.

    If you want something that the US factory offers for your car, call them up and ask for a price on it - even if you already have the car. They seem to be limited by the UK (that's my guess, anyway) in what they can sell in terms of "model conversions", like RHD fittings, Atom 500 parts, and so on.

    You may be disappointed if you get side pods. The front wheels kick up enough gravel that the rear fenders and (to a lesser extent) the driveshaft / wishbones get pretty chipped if you don't add protective film. The side pods seem perfectly positioned to take the brunt of that material.

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    Thank you for such a detailed answer. So many times you ask a question on a forum, and someone give a one-line response. I appreciate your effort.

    I'll be calling the DMV next week after Christmas and try to begin the process.

    It's a shame that you basically cannot get these parts anymore. But I guess I understand Ariel's stance in the situation. I assume the only way to get those parts in carbon fiber would be to send them to a carbon place and have them either fabricate a new piece or layer your existing piece in it.

    The rocks flying up and hitting sidepods does make me reconsider the idea. That leads me to another question.

    What areas on the car would you guys suggest be wrapped in protective film?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vhayne View Post
    What areas on the car would you guys suggest be wrapped in protective film?
    In retrospect (>18k miles on my Atom at this time), definitely wrap the front 1/3 of the rear fenders. That area seems to get the rocks from the front tires. Less visible but just as hammered are the rear suspension pushrods. The axles see some stone chips as well. Surprisingly, the front edge of my bonnet or anything on the front of the car has remained chip-free so the damage certainly comes from rocks thrown up from the front tires. Especially if you run super-sticky tires.

    On the issue of aftermarket parts, I did some research which led me to a race fabrication shop in my area. They have the skills to handle every task I've thrown at them and I'm very happy with the relationship I now have with them. You can see a lot of the work in my website's gallery - it includes full exhaust, rear wing mount, rear fender mounts, modified thermostat housing, and some other stuff. Look around in your area and you may be able to find someone local that has a willingness and ability to make what you're looking for.
    Ariel Atom 2, Ecotec 300, owner since 2007. Drive, Detail, Improve, Repeat. Visit my website.

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    Proton Terry Kennedy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vhayne View Post
    What areas on the car would you guys suggest be wrapped in protective film?
    I originally had the front third of the rear fenders done. The problem is that some rocks will hit there, bounce up, and come back down and chip the fender further back. After some time / miles, the leading edge of the film started coming away from the fender. Not far, only 1/8" or so, but still ugly.

    When I switched from black fiberglass to CF body parts (nose, front deck, rear deck, tea tray, snorkel, center console) I had them all 100% covered, along with the remaining colored panels (bonnet, airbox cover). The shop I took it to was really excited to be working on an Atom, but then I showed up with the entire car's body panels in the back of my BMW station wagon.

    When I had Tom tear down and inspect my Atom in 2011, he took off the wishbones, pushrods, driveshafts and fenders and had them media blasted and re-powdercoated, then clear filmed. At the same time he repainted the fenders (the original color - I have supplies of both both the liquid paint and powdercoat custom colors on my car) and re-coated parts of the frame where there were chips in the clearcoat and where sunblock had eaten into the clearcoat. After re-clearcoating, the upper main rail on each side was completely wrapped from the edge of the front deck to the rear firewall (those are normally the only peaces filmed by the factory, just strips on the top). The diagonal frame tubes were also 100% wrapped in the passenger compartment.

    So, my Atom is pretty much 100% wrapped with perfect paint and clearcoat. There's some scuffs on the clear film, but it could always be waxed or re-done. It's the body panels which are expensive / impossible to get (the Brammo CF nose is no longer available and cost $5000 as a spare part way-back-when).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vhayne View Post
    I should be picking it up in March, from the company at VIR. But I wanted to know, how does everyone usually go about doing this? Is it possible to get it registered beforehand, and just slap a tag on it and drive away? Or will I need to trailer it home (to NC), then go through the process of getting it registered?

    Also, I hoped to find a huge aftermarket parts available, but so far I haven't found many at all. I've found Sector 111, but they have like 5 items lol. I was looking for carbon fiber pieces, such as the engine cover, nose pieces, and the big piece that the windshield mounts to. Are there no actual manufacturers of these items? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Finally for now, I'd LOVE to get some side pods like the V8 version has. I think it adds to the overall "Indycar" look I'm going for. I found some old threads on one of these forum sites that apparently someone made some in Germany. But I would have guessed that there was a market for all of these aftermarket parts that could technically be done to upgrade this crazy machine.

    Thanks in advance for any help you guys can provide.
    A: cannot get a temp tag for a vehicle without a VIN

    B: cannot register a vehicle without the car present at DMV office

    C: generally to register the vehicle (as kit car) you must complete all the paperwork and coincide w/ your local laws/regulations (NC has the lights on while wipers on law, which leads me to believe you will need full windshield+wipers).. once paperwork is done, you submit it and bring vehicle on a trailer to a DOT inspection office.. and they should provide you with a 17 digit assigned VIN.. you will then need proof of insurance when you go to register the vehicle.

    keep in mind, i went to my local DOT to get said inspection and they turned me down... the DOT manager gentleman then took it upon himself to write to the main DOT person and send me a certified letter in the mail stating the car could never be registered regardless of windshieild requirement/etc. .. (not a fun moment to have a fully paid for cash paperweight).

    luckily i had a dealer friend loan me a dealer tag so i was able to drive, and now the car is finally registered after a lot of hard work.. but what it seems like, the states dont like registering them.. find a fellow NC ArielAtom owner and ask them how they went about things.. NC has yearly inspections.. so you'll have to comply with everything they check.. and any other laws..

    D: the parts you want, i found some sites but none still actually made the products.. most people that have the CF stuff just wrapped their current parts w/ CF vinyl which i find kinda pointless (adds weight.... not real CF). the factory offers CF parts... those are only i know of that are real CF.. but they are still wet carbon versus dry carbon (the really lightweight option and why carbon is generally used)


    E: hopefully you get it all figured out, but no state will register a car without car present.. this is the purpose for the "temp tags"... to get the vehicle around and about till title comes in mail to register... also temp tags cannot just be bought... dealer goes with paperwork and VIN and state issues them... neither work for Ariel because lack of title, lack of 17 digit VIN..

    you can pick the car up using a dealer tag, but VA law requires you to pay 5% sales tax if you take delivery of vehicle in VA... if TMI has a bill of lading they can provide to (transport out of VA) then you dont pay the 5% VA tax... if you ship vehicle to NC.. then you are obviously have to pay NC tax when you register the car... using bill of sale from TMI (taxed amount).


    hopefully that helps you... the VA law doesn't matter where you live.. any vehicle picked up in VA is subject to 5% sales tax to VA... when you get back to NC they can remove said 5% from your due taxes if they have an agreement w/ VA.

    FL Dept Rev - 2012 Tax Information Publication 12A01-01

    the above is for florida, you can find your NC one online i assume as well.. shows what states charge what.. and if you get money back.. florida is 6.5% but VA is 5%.. and they talk with eachother so if you paid 5% in VA.. you would only pay additional 1.5% in FL when registering... not sure how NC works... i know you also have an annual tax as well.. so they will put what value per year on vehicle?


    further research shows: NORTH CAROLINA

    No sales tax rate.

    Credit is allowed by Florida for the highway use tax paid in North Carolina.
    Credit is allowed by North Carolina for tax paid in Florida.

    Motor vehicles are subject to a 3% highway use tax. Tax is calculated on the sales price of new or used motor vehicle less credit for trade-in. $1,000 maximum tax applies only to vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of over 26,000 lbs. Recreational vehicles are subject to a maximum tax of $1,500 unless the recreational vehicle is over 26,001 lbs., which is subject to $1,000 maximum tax. Sales of motor vehicles to resident military personnel are NOT exempt.

    so you should ship car from TMI to NC.. the bill of lading will exempt you from 5% VA sales tax.. then you have your 0% NC tax.. (but i believe when you register you pay 7% based on value... and then each year 7% based off the estimated value of vehicle according to them?).. most unlisted cars (not on KBB) they will do a certain % deduction per year..


    again, hopefully helpful.... i drove thru NC with mine.. and got hell from cops in NC/SC/GA... only in FL do i get left alone.. i seriously got pulled over 6 times within 24 hours of having vehicle.... yay!..






    i would:

    A: get vehicle options decided before too late.. TMI is vry methodical and needs that info before assembly.

    B: research NC laws... get kit car paperwork... bring in car info that you have to DMV/DOT to make sure can register as kit car if possible and whats required.

    C: talk to NC owners and ask their advice. (is there any so far?)

    D: car shipped to your residence (dont take on road till legal, they will seize and crush car)

    E: trailer to DOT once you get an inspection date... get a VIN (or what u need)

    F: then you can get a temp tag or trailer to tax collector to register

    G: good to go.

    H: regarding clear bra, rear fenders... first 1/3rd are only places i have marks right now.. i have no bra anywhere... it's very difficult to clear bra those area's without having something peel up... i personally am just going to live with it and repaint if/when needed.. the factory puts a very thin coat of paint on things... if i redid i would obviously go with a thicker better paint job... then again anything over fiberglass tends to chip (i know this from my lotus days)


    i do not know of any NC owners off hand. but this site should help.


    if you cannot register in NC.. you can always try an LLC thru montana... but the vehicle has to be physically in montana within 6 months of ownership (llc is to bypass the need of a montana license).. business address in montana would "buy" and "own" the car.... again a lot of work.
    Last edited by rijowysock; December 23, 2012 at 09:05 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rijowysock View Post
    .....
    Wow! I don't know what to say, other than THANK YOU for such a detailed response! You guys are great here so far hehe. I'll try to look for an NC owner to coorespond with.

    2 years ago I purchased a gallardo from a private owner (who become a great friend of mine), and I had to jump through some hoops to get it registered. The DMV wanted it inspected, which was quite a hassle, but they did issue me a temporary tag (1 day tag) to do so. I never took the lambo to the DMV and finally got it all finished up. I suppose the Atom will be different though, as I wouldn't even have a VIN for it.

    But seriously, that's all some very great info you posted. The Montana loophole is awesome lol. I pray I don't have to go that route though.

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    Proton Terry Kennedy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rijowysock View Post
    ... cannot ...
    It's important to remember that the US is 51 kingdoms (states + DC), all of which have different rules. Since even the people at the state DMV don't understand the more obscure points of their own state's rules (witness the annual SB100 confusion in CA), it's hard to say what a given state will do without firsthand experience. And there's no guarantee that the DMV will behave the same way the second time.

    If there's any doubt at all, consult an attorney who specializes in this obscure area of legal practice. You may be able to find one through I-VAN, SEMA, etc.

    i drove thru NC with mine.. and got hell from cops in NC/SC/GA... only in FL do i get left alone.. i seriously got pulled over 6 times within 24 hours of having vehicle.... yay!..
    I've been pulled over a total of two times in 34,000+ miles, 6+ years. The first time was in CA when I drove my car home from Brammo, because there's no in-car computer lookup of out-of-state temp tags and they couldn't tell the dispatcher what make/model it was without asking me. The second time was about a year ago, when I was pulled over because he had mis-read my plate as I drove past and it came up as invalid. He corrected his mistake and was very apologetic, saying "I'm sorry - I shouldn't have pulled you over" as he walked up to me. Cop was about half my age, too...

    This includes driving in most of the continental US except New Hampshire and north of there, and Florida. Including at least two weeks with the Atom in NC spread out across a couple years. I even considered moving there (couldn't get permission to build a private track on the property I was looking at ).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Terry Kennedy View Post
    I even considered moving there (couldn't get permission to build a private track on the property I was looking at ).
    Thanks again. I'd be very curious to know more details about the private track you had envisioned as well as the denial of permission. That's one of the dreams I've had for quite some time. Buy a ton of land somewhere, and build all sorts of tracks on it, mainly a road course. I just read an old article about a guy in NY that did it which gave me hope that I wouldn't be as insane as I once thought lol. It seems ridiculous that you have to "get permission" to build something on your own property for your own private use, as long as that "building" doesn't pose as a fire hazard. And aside from crashing, I can't see how asphalt can be deemed a hazard.

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    Unfortunately, not really a good market for aftermarket parts for only 200-300 cars in the US. but given enough interest we pull together to get stuff made if there is enough interest - CF turn signal housings, larger fenders, stronger uprights, turbo kits, etc.
    the high profile toy thrower

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