Last Call: Would you ever consider buying a track toy car?

I’m sure you’ve all heard of Ariel, the people who make the Atom and Nomad, and BAC, who make the Mono. What I want to know is if you guys would ever consider buying one for the price? They’re around the 100k mark overall and would never make it as a daily driver. They’re also a little too obvious to speed on freeways so you have to be at a track or a secluded back road. Although, if you were in either of those scenarios they would be a ton of fun, I still don’t think that’s enough for me.

On a side note, I think this idea by Ariel to make a street version of the Nomad is pretty sick. Still completely impractical for anything that’s not going fast but I like the direction. Thoughts?

Last Call indicates the end of Hooniverse’s broadcast day. It’s meant to be an open forum for anyone and anything. Thread jacking is not only accepted, it’s encouraged.

My name is Colby Buchanan and I love all things car-related all the way from rusted 240sx's to McLaren Senna's and of course I have a soft spot for American Muscle. You can spot me in my bone stock '06 350z named MackenZ.

21 Comments

  1. Insane price. I guess there are no economies of scale, but why not just take a 200£ Kia Shuma and throw away everything that isn’t wheels, seats and lights instead?

  2. Insane price. I guess there are no economies of scale, but why not just take a 200£ Kia Shuma and throw away everything that isn’t wheels, seats and lights instead?

    1. I’ve seen some trackday cars that were rwd sedans with everything apart from the floorpan, firewall and wheel arches to suspension structure cut away, and a roll cage added to replace the missing structure. Factory parts were used to keep costs almost nonexistent; these were 10-20 years old at the time so nearly free parts would have been easy to find. I’m sure there was a lot of room for improvement but bang for the buck couldn’t be beat.

  3. All (ok, both) my 4 wheel track stuff has been dual purpose. Drive it there, have my fun, drive it home (so far, so good). But while there, I’ve seen all matters of dedicated equipment. Price… doesn’t seem to have much of an affect some people. Both with the cars and the hauler/4 star luxury hotel on wheels that brings it there. But I’ve also enjoyed some of their hospitality and for the most part they’re down to earth and a good chat after the day is over.

  4. Even if I had Fuckoff Money, it just seems like a hassle. I’m way too much of a spontaneous, or rather low time investment, kind of recreational vehicalist (I made that term up.)
    Maybe if I had a chauffeur and could just say, “Knucklebuster! I’m vaguely considering taking the Rally Fighter out to Moab tomorrow. Put fresh tires on it, get it on the trailer and hook it up to the G-Wagen. And drive me there. And answer everybody’s questions about it. And pay them to GTFO of my way. Ah, fuck it maybe I’ll just ride the motorcycle down a logging road.”

  5. Even if I had Fuckoff Money, it just seems like a hassle. I’m way too much of a spontaneous, or rather low time investment, kind of recreational vehicalist (I made that term up.)
    Maybe if I had a chauffeur and could just say, “Knucklebuster! I’m vaguely considering taking the Rally Fighter out to Moab tomorrow. Put fresh tires on it, get it on the trailer and hook it up to the G-Wagen. And drive me there. And answer everybody’s questions about it. And pay them to GTFO of my way. Ah, fuck it maybe I’ll just ride the motorcycle down a logging road.”

  6. If I had Jay Leno’s collection and money, I might buy one.

    If I had to buy one with my last hundred grand, I would probably build a Vette Kart instead, and spend the other 80K on something less practical.

  7. My means are far too modest to consider a dedicated track car of that price, but I’ve had a dedicated (LeMons) track car of one type or another for the past 10 years. Of course, I’d consider buying a track toy. I do think that I’d want it to be street legal for an occasional jaunt. I’ve always planned to keep my LeMons cars street-legal for pre-race shakedowns. I’ve not been particularly good about that. I have 2 pending builds which will give me 2 fresh opportunities to ultimately fail in keeping my LeMons car street legal, but the plan for now is to keep them streetable.

    1. Mine is street-legal, thanks mostly to a combination of its age (1967 model year) and the fact that my desire to keep plates on it far outweighs any delusions I may have about making it in any way competitive on track. I don’t have a trailer big enough for it, which leaves me with driving it or flat-towing it there and back, both of which require license plates.

      What’s been the point of no return for yours?

      1. What kept the Fiero from being street legal enough to drive was an absence of turn signals. I intended to wire some in, but I fell out of love with it as my race car before that happened.

        The Jag has the turn signals wired in. One of the fronts is busted, so (with how I have them wired in) they don’t flash, and they are wired into a toggle zip-tied to the dash (don’t self-cancel). The bigger issue is that it was costing me $195/year in registration alone, and it wasn’t seeing any street time, so I dropped the reg and the insurance (insurance is expensive in Michigan). That was before it became a “classic” so I could revisit registering it, but it’s being replaced with the “new” Jag build and/or the Saturn build, so getting it streetable isn’t high on my priority list.

  8. I’ve been watching friends doing autocrossing and that’s the kind of track day car that I am looking for. Just get a little two seater to putz around with or find something really stupid to learn on and then get really serious about it.

  9. Yes, but you don’t need to spend silly money on an Atom when there’s an abundance of much cheaper optons, if you’re near the UK anyway. Lots of much, much cheaper kit based options like the Fisher Fury / Sylvas and various other circa 500kg things used in various races series that can be picked up for a fraction of the price of the Atom and honestly, in some cases are probably more effective.

    https://racecarsdirect.com/content/UserImages/63976/401185.jpg?v=1

    The Atom and Nomad are still a dual use cars by the way, at least over here, as are many of these if they’ve been built to road legal spec.

    For now though, finishing the 700kg Cappuccino which I’m probably veering towards being a bit track oriented anyway is the most cost effective compromise for a number of mundane and tedious reasons that have to do with how stupidly petty and mean spirted the state and insurers are in Ireland are in terms of just letting you have nice things on the road.

  10. The idea of a road-legal Nomad (although, shows how much attention I pay to the unobtanium, as I thought it already was) is, if anything, more appealing than an Atom. With the absolute garbage roads in my area, something a little more compliant is preferable.

    Still, I have no delusions of ever being able to afford a $100k anything (barring quite a bit of inflation) are slim. There’s plenty of road legal stuff I’d like to have before I’m considering an expensive track toy.

    1. Seriously though, as hardcore as the Atom is, it’s still not going to match a proper single seater and many can be picked up suprisingly cheap, especially from defunct series or older cars where the series spec has changed (e.g formula ford moving to ecoboost 1.0, Formula Vee moving to inline 4 Golf GTI engines). The problem though is that may track days won’t let you run alongside road cars, where stuff like an Atom, Caterham, Radical etc. is generally still allowed. Shakedown days are probably too serious. It’s hard to find opportunities to use defunct single seaters.

      1. True. The only venue I’ve seen for an old FSAE car is SCCA autocross, which I suppose has the advantage of being not all that different from its original use.

  11. Driving a slow car fast has been my preference over fast car slow. Although my opportunities to drive a fast car quickly have been nearly non-existent.

    I’ve done nearly all of my track time in a clapped-out 90’s LWB Hiace (yes, really – it’s the motorcycle recovery van/course car), and I’ve found little cause to complain. Except for the time a redback spider crawled up the gearstick and across my hand as I was downshifting… That was a little bit too exciting.

    The best track car is the one you get to take to the track.

    1. Yes! The important thing is to get on track at all! There’s a weird idea you need some hardcore or powerful thing for track use and people forget Forumula Vee racers used have about 80bhp tops. You can have an absolute ball in a commuter hatchback that’s stripped out. I love “making progress” on a nice back road, but there’s something about a good track day that’s so much more enjoyable even if roads didn’t have speed limits. You can really push without worrying about potential consequences of involving an innocent party and when you have an off, you’ll generally just spin into the gravel. I have only once seen an incident that resulted in major damage, and it was someone in a diesel BMW 5 series of all things. Unfortunately the car dug in to the gravel and they rolled it. The two occupants were unhurt and it’s only metal at the end of the day.

      Funny how the motorycle transporter on track seems to be a thing – the whole weird Japanese subculture of Daijabans (dodge vans) being turned into serious track toys and of course, it started with guys who were using them to take motorcycles to the track.

    2. Hiace on a track…I absolutely love that. If you ever got someone to film you, please share.

      There are a lot of videos just showing whatever passes on the Nürburgring. I sometimes have them on in the background on a spare screen, when I work with something that doesn’t require my full attention. Seeing vans, luxury cars, even busses cranked up to 11 and sliding around corners ungratiously gives me great joy.

  12. $100k is a crazy price – but, that’s about the same coin as fully rigged Ranger 620 or Lund Baron with a 400hp Merc and I meet plenty of them headed to Lake of the Woods, every morning on my way into to work.
    If that’s what you’re into – AND CAN AFFORD IT – then knock yourself out.

    Would I personally consider it? Well, the nearest track to me is BIR – a good 4+ hour drive. There is no autocross anywhere around. I guess you could invest that much into a modified or late model dirt track car. So no, I personally would not have a dedicated track toy car.

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