Peter Anderson | Aug 3, 2012

Those of us lucky enough to have driven an Ariel Atom will know that "she's a bit slow" is not a common complaint.

DDMWorks, a South Carolina-based tuning house, apparently did have that complaint, and has dropped in more power. A lot more power.

Even more power than the V8-engined Atom 500.

Since 2006, US Atoms have been fitted with the GM ECOtec 2.0 litre as an option, with a range of power outputs roughly identical to the standard Honda-sourced engines.

Considering the Atom is a pair of ladders welded together with an engine, wheels and not much else, the lightweight Atom moves down the road with impressive vigour.

Since early 2010, DDMWorks has offered a 270kW+ upgrade for the ECOtec using the twin-charge approach, with Borg-Warner turbos and Harrop superchargers.

For the Atom 700, DDMWorks takes the ECOtec, then pairs a Garrett turbo and supercharger to get to a grand total of 700hp, or just over 520kW.

ariel atom 700 03
Unlike the lower-power offerings, the engine has to go under the surgeon's knife for the installation of new cylinder sleeves, ceramic-coated pistons, new conrods and other bottom-end strengthening.

A new air-to-air intercooler is added for the turbo and a air-to-water unit for the supercharger.

The standard exhaust is also jettisoned in favour of a custom-made three-inch exhaust, tubing and manifolds, all of which are ceramic-coated.

There's also a selectable 'power' setting - ranging from 335kW, through 429kW to 522kW. At the top setting, the power-to-weight ratio betters that of the Bugatti Veyron at a mighty 792kW/tonne.

Power output is verified on a dyno before delivery and customers are strongly encouraged to "take a specialised driving course for their safety."

To keep the Atom from tearing holes in the tarmac, DDMWorks fits 275 tyres to 17x9 rims at the rear and adjusts the suspension to handle the extra go.

DDMWorks' original power upgrade for the Atom weighed in at $6500, so you can bet that the 700hp upgrade will come in rather higher.

As will life insurance premiums for Atom 700 owners.