1956 Ariel 499cc HT5 Trials Motorcycle
Registration no. 359 APJ
Frame no. RT 150
Engine no. MT 150
By the mid-1950s the swinging-arm frame's superiority had begun to be recognised in the trials world, overturning the conventional view that a rigid frame gave better grip. Ariel was one of the last manufacturers to introduce a trials frame with rear suspension, the prototype of what would become the HT5 first appearing at the 1955 Scottish Six Days event with production proper commencing in September of that year. Little was achieved by the works HT5s in their first season but the arrival of Ron Langston for 1956 brought with it the success Ariel had been seeking, their new signing winning the Cotswold and Greensmith trials. For the next few seasons the HT5 was the class of the field. Arguably the most capable of the 'heavyweight' trials irons, the HT5 disappeared along with the other Ariel four-strokes in 1959 after only 450-or-so had been made, though Sammy Miller's famous and much modified example - 'GOV 132' - would continue winning at the highest level well into the 1960s. This highly original and un-restored HT5 was sold new via Comerfords of Thames Ditton to Mr A G James of Sutton, Surrey and comes with the original purchase invoice confirming matching registration, frame and engine numbers. Also on file is a photograph of '359 APJ' competing in the 'Streatham Half Crown' trial in March 1957. The machine is described as in running order and offered with Swansea V5.
- The engine number is MJ150