1939 Ariel 995cc Model 4G 'Square Four', Frame no. AX654 Engine no. DE653
Lot 39
1939 Ariel 995cc Model 4G 'Square Four' Frame no. AX654 Engine no. DE653
Sold for £13,225 (US$ 22,215) inc. premium
Lot Details
1939 Ariel 995cc Model 4G 'Square Four'
Registration no. 416 YUA
Frame no. AX654
Engine no. DE653
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 charismatic machine retains an enthusiastic and loyal following, and is highly prized by discerning enthusiasts.

Previously registered 'GCD 56', this Ariel Square Four was purchased by the current vendor in September 2010 having been restored by a past owner in the mid-1990s (details on file). Described as in generally good condition, though smoking a little on start-up, '416 YUA' benefits from a recent service that included minor repairs and a new battery (invoice available). The machine is offered with expired MoT (September 2012), Swansea V5C document and an old-style logbook issued in 1954.
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  1. James Stensel
    Specialist - Motorcycles
    Bonhams
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