SQUARE FOUR SPECIAL
For many ariel enthusiast st, he company' s four cylinder tour er would be pretty much perfect if only it had improved rear suspensions. ur ely it can'tbe too tricky to combine a Hunt master chassis with a Square drive train? stuart francis finds out
For many Ariel enthusiasts, the company's four cylinder tourer would be pretty much perfect if only it had improved rear suspension. Surely it can't be too tricky to combine a Huntmaster chassiswith a Square drivetrain? Stuart Francisfinds out
Back in the 1970s my old mate Tuck had an old grain barn in the village of Holt in Wiltshire that attracted motorcyclists from far and wide . Tuck's barn was a cornucopia of British motorcycles and parts, with a number of interesting machines and rolling chassistucked away in the dark recessesunder the floor. As one oftuck's minions, I spent some time under that floor moving machines around. I was always intrigued by what looked like an Ariel Huntmaster but with a bent top tube, and parts of the front down tubes missing. It turned out to be a Huntmaster frame modified to take an Ariel Square Four motor and gearbox. I helped Tuck move his collection, six Hgvs'worth, to Devon in the late 1980sand remember wheeling the Ariel rolling chassis under a bench in his new shed, where it remained for the next three decades.
Some 30 years later I'd moved to New Zealand and was pondering my next project. I was looking for a larger machine that was useable, not too demanding to ride, but sufficiently different to make it stand out. My thoughts turned to
Tuck's modified Huntmaster rolling chassis, concluding it shouldn't be that difficult to get a Square Four engine and gearbox. How na'ive I was. Separating surplus Square Four engines and gearboxes from their owners is like trying to peel super glued limpets off the bottom of a ship. I was looking for the late Mk2 engine with the better cylinder head and four pipes and later gearbox. After some very frustrating false starts I had to settle for a rather expensive, partly dismantled two pipe Mk1 and an earlier gearbox.
Visiting the UK in 2016, I tried to buy the rolling chassisfrom Tuck. He refused to negotiate and just gave it to me, another act of kindness for which I will always be grateful! Iattacked the rolling chassiswith a high pressure steam cleaner to meet Nz'sstrict importation requirements. Yearsof grease,gunk and debris melted away, revealing a fairly sound frame. The cleansed rolling chassis,plus a hoard of bits acquired on my travels, were boxed up by Oakwood Logistics, and shipped to NZ. My confidence in Oakwood Logistics soared when the packing agent turned up on a very tidy Panther Model 75...