1938 Ariel 998cc Model 4G Square Four
Lot 77
1938 Ariel 995cc Model 4G 'Square Four' & Sidecar Frame no. P1295 Engine no. DE101
Sold for £12,075 (US$ 20,295) inc. premium
Lot Details
1938 Ariel 995cc Model 4G 'Square Four' & Sidecar
Registration no. BDR 33
Frame no. P1295
Engine no. DE101
Designed by the legendary Edward Turner, the Ariel Square Four was first shown at Olympia in 1930. Unique at the time of its introduction, the 'Squariel', as it was swiftly dubbed, featured a single block of four cylinders and twin geared-together crankshafts with pistons phased at 180 degrees. The crankcase was split horizontally, unusually for a motorcycle engine of the period, while the vertical valves were operated by a single overhead camshaft. A supercharged example was raced at the Isle of Man TT in 1931 without success, which was hardly surprising as its makers had envisaged the model as more of a luxury tourer than an out-and-out sports machine.

Although launched as a '500', the Squariel was soon enlarged to 601cc with an eye on the important sidecar market, this bigger version being made available for the 1932 model year. In 1937 a total redesign saw it re-emerge as the Model 4G, with 995cc overhead-valve engine, making the Squariel an even more enticing prospect for sidecarists. Anstey-link plunger rear suspension became an option in 1939 but would not be offered again until 1946 when a telescopic front fork replaced the previous girder type. An exercise in weight shedding saw the cast-iron cylinder head and barrel replaced by alloy components for 1949, the revised model, now capable of 90mph-plus, being known as the Mark I. Introduced in 1953, the 'four pipe' MkII with redesigned cylinder head elevated the Square Four into the league of genuine 100mph motorcycles. Square Four production, along with that of all other Ariel four-strokes, ceased in 1959. To date, the innovative Ariel Square Four remains unique in motorcycling history; a true 'gentleman's motorcycle, this refined yet characterful machine retains an enthusiastic and loyal following, and is highly prized by discerning enthusiasts.

This Ariel Square Four was purchased as a motorcycle combination by its late owner in 1947 and comes with factory 'Owners' Guide' detailing routine servicing on the inside front cover. Work listed includes de-carbonising and replacing the magneto and dynamo armatures in 1949 at 25,000 miles while the last entry (dated June 1953 at 36,000 miles) records another new dynamo armature, new big-end bearings, a re-bore and de-carbonising (again). Last ridden circa 40 years ago and last started 11 years ago, the machine is offered for restoration and sold strictly as viewed. 'BDR 33' comes complete with a detached sidecar chassis and various other parts to include a sidecar canopy, tool box and horn mount. Accompanying documentation consists of a Swansea V5C, the aforementioned 'Owners' Guide', old-style continuation logbook (issued 1953) and two period photographs (on CD-ROM) depicting the owner and his family.

Saleroom notices

  • The Frame number is:P1293
  1. Nicholas Biebuyck
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