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Thread: What has owners experience been with the Street Atom on public roads?

  1. #1
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    What has owners experience been with the Street Atom on public roads?

    I am debating getting a street Atom for mostly track days and some public roads or a spec racer 100% for track and looking for owners experience.


    I am in Michigan and the East and West Spec Race series is too far and does not fit my work or family schedules. The last 4 years I have been track day racing a 95% track only Lotus Elise that was at about 350 HP and very much set up for track. I also have a special built 14 foot inclosed car hauler built for small cars. I sold the Lotus planning to get into a Formula open wheel racing but reality on my available time to race I am now thinking a Atom purchase.


    I am currently struggling with do I get a spec racer for track days around Michigan (Gingermen, Grattan, Mid Ohio, Waterford Hills....) or Atom 2 or 3 for track and some street use.


    My focus use for Atom is track days but like the option i might want to take on public roads.


    Anyone decide they just don't like to drive on public roads and only use on tracks or other way around?

  2. #2
    Proton Terry Kennedy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lotus4atom View Post
    My focus use for Atom is track days but like the option i might want to take on public roads.


    Anyone decide they just don't like to drive on public roads and only use on tracks or other way around?
    Well, of the 35,000 miles or so on my Atom, almost all have been on public roads. It's been across the US something like 7 times. You could look at A journey in an open-wheel car across the USA An Atom Across America for some documentaries about my trips.

    Once you get used to it, it isn't unpleasant on public roads. The first time you get on an interstate with tractor trailers will be a bit of an experience. An Atom 2 with the optional Recaro or Sparco seats is much more comfortable (IMHO) than the fiberglass bench seats. Plus, if you change drivers, they're adjustable. My upper limit for a day's travel is about 500 miles, but I try to keep it to 400 or less.

    The only big issue is getting caught in unexpected weather. I've had cases where I've been driving through the middle of nowhere when the skies opened. In one case, this was just after I passed a sign that said "Next services 112 miles".



    On the other hand, that's balanced out by days like this:


  3. #3
    Fermion
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    AA3 ower in CA:BayArea here.

    It's a very easy car to drive on the road. The torque/weight ratio lets you sit in stop/start traffic in 2nd gear and you don't have to use much throttle to get going. You have to drive a little defensively as you are quite low relative to most cars/trucks/SUV's but i've not had any incidents yet with around 1,500 commuter miles on the roads so far. Be prepared to be photographed A LOT! Which is cool but watch out for drivers who are taking photos and slowly drifting into your lane.

    If you drive in the rain, you're gonna have a bad time. The car is fine but you will get wet (obvious) especially from the front wheels picking up all the water and throwing it in your lap when you turn corners (not so obviously)

    I'd say get a road-legal one, all the fun of the track version with the added bonus of been able to drive it too and from the track and around local twisties.
    Axecent likes this.

  4. #4
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    I exclusively drive my Atom on the street and track days/autocross. No trailer to pull it. I have gotten to where I would rather live in the past and drive my motorcycle or car to the track and then use it instead of getting into the paraphanalia of it all with tools, alternate wheel sets, trailers, etc.

    The car is FUN. Try not to make it too much work and you will enjoy it, even if you find others may be faster with their sticky tires and data logging systems. Yes, I am getting old.

  5. #5
    Up Quark
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    ..
    Last edited by TEHSTIG; January 11, 2014 at 08:03 PM.

  6. #6
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    When taking a road trip and staying in hotels with open car parks, how do you park your atom? Do you do anything other than take the steering wheel to reduce the chance of you waking up to an empty space?

  7. #7
    Neutrino
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    Quote Originally Posted by Axecent View Post
    I exclusively drive my Atom on the street and track days/autocross. No trailer to pull it. I have gotten to where I would rather live in the past and drive my motorcycle or car to the track and then use it instead of getting into the paraphanalia of it all with tools, alternate wheel sets, trailers, etc.

    The car is FUN. Try not to make it too much work and you will enjoy it, even if you find others may be faster with their sticky tires and data logging systems. Yes, I am getting old.
    yup this is true, you CAN drive the car and not worry about anything...or you can obsess over small details that really do NOT impact your driving experience, they just make you think they do.

  8. #8
    Proton Terry Kennedy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TEHSTIG View Post
    Terry seems to be the king when it comes to street miles but I am trying to close the gap quickly
    What do you have on yours now? I didn't see a recent number.

    Here is a link to my thread about my experiences so far.
    TMI is correct - sunscreen will eat through the clearcoat and powder. I solved this by having all the chassis tubes within reach clear-bra'd.

  9. #9
    Proton Terry Kennedy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Like It's Stolen View Post
    When taking a road trip and staying in hotels with open car parks, how do you park your atom? Do you do anything other than take the steering wheel to reduce the chance of you waking up to an empty space?
    I just put the outdoor cover on it. I've only ever had a problem once (and it was a whopper).

    Many times I don't even bother taking all of my luggage inside. It depends on how sketchy I think an area is. I've left the car with $10K+ of camera equipment and it's been fine.

    I also don't bother with the cover when I'm stopping somewhere during the day - I've parked in lots of places like Yosemite NP and just walked away from the car with my camera, leaving the computer and extra camera stuff in the car. I'm not completely trusting, though - I loop the notebook and camera bag handles through the passenger seatbelt latch so it isn't possible to do a grab-and-run. If it is warm enough out that I don't need my jacket, I put that on the passenger seat between the belt and the various pieces of luggage. Normally there are enough people standing around staring at the car that nobody will try walking up to the car and fumbling with the belt trying to remove my luggage - in fact, having the luggage there is a plus - I've occasionally come back to find people sitting in my car so their friends could take pictures! Using the chin strap to hold my helmet to the driver's seatbelt also helps to keep people out of the driver's seat.

    A couple notes about the outdoor cover:
    • After a lot of use, the silver coating will start peeling off the fabric. These pieces get onto / into everything. When that happens, it's time for a new cover.
    • The latches on the straps are not up to a strong wind. After finding the cover half-off the car a few times, I started tying the straps together with knots instead of relying on the latches.
    • Getting the cover back into the carrying bag is not as easy as it looks. Here's my system: I unhook the straps and lay them on top of the cover while it is still on the car. Then I fold the left and right sides of the cover onto the center. I then carefully work the cover off the frame starting at the rear and fold the left and right sides on top of each other, giving 4 layers of cover. I then start rolling the cover from the back of the car to the front, and when I have it rolled up like a sleeping bag I stuff it into the carrying bag. Putting the cover back on is then very easy (useful when I'm tired from a long day's drive) - just take it out of the bag, stick the loose end onto the nose, and unroll the cover toward the back of the car. Unfold the cover from being double-doubled over. Grab the long ends of the straps and try to toss them under the car to the other side (this takes practice, and is quite hard on uneven dirt or grass).
    • Heed the warning about waiting for the engine to cool down before installing the cover. I've never melted the cover, even when I'm in a hurry, but I can see that it is possible.
    • The cover won't work on cars with wings.
    • be careful to not snag the cover on the mirrors - there are no pockets in the cover for the mirrors and the mirror stems are somewhat fragile.

  10. #10
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    Don't have a cover (drive is this weekend), also have wings (so one wouldn't fit anyway). So guess that's out.
    Any other tips?

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