A UNIQUE ARIEL
Thought you might be interested in my Ariel Special. It was bought in 1970 for £35, following a chain of events that started in the late 1950s. Back then, I needed a £35 deposit for a racing Velocette and was short of funds. I was running an AJS café racer that I’d built. A workmate offered me the £35 for the Ajay; I bought the Velo which I raced into the 1960s.
Skip forward to 1970, when I needed transport into London for my work. I was using an LE Velo which always gave trouble. My workmate friend offered me anything from his Ariel collection, including Square Fours. I picked an all alloy-engined single 500 which looked nice to me. It’s a 1952 VHA in a 1954 frame. He sold it to me for the price of the Ajay: £35!
The Ariel transported me into London every day for ten years. Sometime along the way I had the big end replaced by a well-known dealer… and then a couple of years later it was replaced again when it was found that the oilway holes weren’t lined up. An accident put a dent in my confidence so I used the car for commuting after that.
I got the Ariel up and running, and binned all the desirable bits like headlight nacelle, enclosed chainguard and valanced mudguards. Over the following years the bike developed. The engine has been tuned and ported, with polished internals and polished steel flywheels. The frame was repainted, forks overhauled and modified. The rear suspension uses racing Girlings (left over from the racing Velo). The exhaust pipe is one I bought when I first had the bike; I had to adapt it and have it chromed as the standard Ariel pipe won’t fit. My son (a professional car restorer) painted the tank, oil tank and toolbox.
The Ariel has done over 200,000 miles during its time with me and has been rebored twice. Unfortunately it doesn’t get run so much now as I like the electric leg of my Honda. Dave Kidd, member 13,276
200,000 miles! That’s astonishing, and a real credit to both bike and rider. Does anyone else have a similar story to tell? Frank W