Frontrunners: Atomic Energizer

Powered by a 2-liter Honda engine, the Ariel Atom (www.arielmotor.co.uk) will accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds, faster than any sports car can. And because it weighs only 1,000 pounds—thanks to the absence of doors, a windscreen, and body panels—it offers better braking and cornering than, among others, the BMW M3, formerly the favorite car of Rob Sloman. “It’s an exceptional driving experience, and it never fails to draw a crowd,” says Sloman, one of a handful of Americans who own the $37,000, British-built Atom. For street certification purposes, American owners might want to follow the lead of Sloman, who treated the Atom as a kit car, shipping the chassis from the plant in England and then purchasing the engine locally.

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