Art cars are a rare form of creative expression that turns motor vehicles into blank canvases for painters to turn into rolling pieces of artwork. So cars with plenty of bodywork to paint are the natural choice for such projects. An Ariel Nomad, with its tube frame and few body panels, somewhat less so. But that’s just what makes this particular project all the more unusual.
The vehicle’s owner is referred to only as John R. (or by his Instagram handle Mr. Hotel Slippers). He had graffiti/street artist Bisco Smith apply his signature style to what limited bodywork the Nomad has, much as he did a few years ago with the (relatively) more ample sheetmetal on a Mini hatchback. And the finished product stands out all the more as a result.
The Ariel Nomad, for those unacquainted,, is the off-road counterpart to the Atom track machine and the Ace motorcycle. The street-legal off-road buggy packs a 2.4-liter straight four sourced from Honda, with 235 horsepower (175 kW) and 221 lb-ft (300 Nm) of torque), in a tube frame with a long-travel suspension. The whole thing weighs less than 1,500 lbs (670 kg), so it’ll rocket to 60 in just 3.4 seconds while tackling the roughest terrain you might care to throw it at.
You can pick up a new Nomad in the US for about $80k – not including Bisco’s hand-painted customization, which ought to make this one worth a bit more. The one-off will be on display at the Art Basel festival in Miami this year. The question is if its owner will still drive it like it’s meant to, off the beaten path, once the fine-art connoisseurs have had a good look at it. Because it looks like those rocker panels would get scratched up some’n fierce if he did. Either way, you’d better check it out in the (regrettably low-res) images below.