thly col­lec­tion of clas­sic tit­bits

Classic Bike (UK) - - Contents - BY GUY PROCTER

This month’s se­lec­tion of mo­tor­cy­cling tit­bits – en­joy it be­fore it dis­ap­pears

en­gine, which beau­ti­fully packed two pairs of pots in a square for­ma­tion. It’s a de­sign lit­tle ex­plored in mo­tor­cy­cling (the last in­stance be­ing Suzuki’s RG500) due to the dif­fi­culty of cool­ing the rear pair of cylin­ders. Un­usual it may have been, but square fours pow­ered 15,639 Ariels be­tween 1931-58. The pis­tons fired in di­ag­o­nal pairs, and in the case of the 4G MKII mus­tered 10bhp each. Con­ceived by famed Tri­umph de­signer Ed­ward Turner in 1928, the Square Four would go on to out­live its mas­ter by four years. The Healey 1000/4 (1971-77) was pow­ered by an Ariel Square Four modified to pro­duce 52bhp in a chas­sis 80lb lighter than the par­ent bike. Only 28 were made.


This is the 1957 ex-works FB Mondial 250 Bial­bero Grand Prix Racer Mike Hail­wood rode in 1959, for his fa­ther’s Ecurie Sportive team, clinch­ing sec­ond place in the Ul­ster GP, fifth in the world cham­pi­onship and vic­tory in the bri­tish cham­pi­onship. All this in a sea­son in which he also raced a Du­cati, MZ, Nor­ton and AJS in 125, 250, 350 and 500cc classes.


n Ethiopian woman tries an Ital­ian soldier’s ke for size, dur­ing the fas­cists’ five-year ccu­pa­tion from 1935-40. The at­trac­tive­ness nd avail­abil­ity of Ethiopian women was used as a spur to get Ital­ian men to join the coun­try’s em­pire-build­ing. Soldiers could take ad­van­tage of a lo­cal tem­po­rary form of mar­riage – paid for by the month – called a dä­moz. But soon af­ter the fight­ing was over, the in­cen­tive was with­drawn, with the fas­cist gov­ern­ment ban­ning re­la­tions be­tween Ital­ian men and African women.


Twenty-year-old Vi­vian Bales graced the cover of the Har­ley-david­son En­thu­si­ast in Novem­ber 1929 af­ter her pi­o­neer­ing 5000-mile solo round-trip through Amer­ica. All of 5ft 2in and 6¾ stone, she was re­put­edly too slight to kick­start her 45 Twin D-model Har­ley her­self, but it didn’t prove an in­sur­mount­able ob­sta­cle in her 78-day marathon. She even met the US Pres­i­dent, back when that was some­thing to be proud of: “With my eyes fixed on Pres­i­dent Hoover’s face, I walked right over with my very best smile in full force and shook hands with him. Nope, I didn’t vamp on him, for Mrs Hoover was present,” she re­called.


It’s 1936, and New South Wales po­lice have a morale-boost­ing day of play... with mo­tor­cy­cle char­i­ots.


Ariel pro­duced the Pixie in 1963, two years be­fore the firm was to cease mo­tor­cy­cle pro­duc­tion al­to­gether. De­signed to have a new en­gine to take the fight to the Ital­ian and Ja­panese lightweights, BSA man­age­ment de­cided to use its leaky, weedy Bea­gle en­gine in­stead, sleeved down to 50cc from 75cc. Even at 75cc the Bea­gle mo­tor couldn’t match the 4.5bhp of Honda’s 50, and its un­re­li­a­bil­ity meant war­ranty claims ga­lore. It could have formed the ba­sis of some­thing much more am­bi­tious. De­signer Jeff Bishop, who had moved from Um­ber­slade to Small Heath, schemed a 500cc V8, us­ing Ariel Pixie rods and pis­tons. For­mer draughts­man David My­ers tells CB: “I saw the out­lines, and it was cer­tainly neat and com­pact. But there was no re­sponse to it from above, what­so­ever.”

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