Restored by the factory
1957 Ariel 998cc Square Four 4G Mk2
Registration no. 366 CPJ
Frame no. GM1046
Engine no. CNML20935
Restored by the factory during the early 1960s, this Square Four owes its unusual history to the determination and persistence of its owner at that time, John Hay, deputy news editor of The Financial Times. Hay, the Square Four's third owner, had bought it in 1962 and succeeded in persuading the factory to restore it for him, despite the fact that the 'Squariel' had been out of production for three years. Such a request would normally have been met with a referral to the owner's nearest main agent, but no doubt Hay's position at the influential financial journal prompted Ariel to accept the unusual job - even Hay referred to it as a 'nuisance' - despite the inconvenience. (At that time the Selly Oak works, where all Ariel's four-stroke models had been built, was being wound down and production of the two-stroke Leader the firm's sole surviving model transferred to parent-company BSA's factory at Small Heath).
Correspondence on file between Hay and various members of the Ariel 'top brass' reveals that he managed to secure a new engine at a bargain price (the original was refurbished and returned), together with chromium-plated mudguards, which he preferred to the painted originals. He also specified chromed and unpainted wheel rims. As Ariel no longer stocked the correct paint, Hay wrote to the original manufacturers, Lewis Berger, and succeeded in obtaining a supply. A few years later, when Ariel could no longer supply new silencers, the indefatigable Hay contacted Burgess Products, suppliers of motorcycle exhausts, and got them to make a complete new system!
'366 CPJ' was back on the road in May 1963. Its owner though, was keen on further improvements, adding crash bars, Craven panniers, Lucas air horns, flashing indicators and a Smiths tachometer. John Hay retired from The Financial Times in 1976 and took the Ariel with him to the Republic of Ireland. The machine remained with him until his death when it passed via a motor dealer to the current owner, who acquired it in 2011. With the Square Four came its original engine, the original painted mudguards, every MoT certificate, its original buff logbook, and copies of Hay's letters to Ariel together with their replies and bills, all of which are included in the sale. The machine has covered only some 10,000 miles since the rebuild and is described as in generally very good condition. A more detailed account of the Hay Ariel's history, written by Phillip Tooth, was published in the October 2012 edition of Classic Bike Guide (copy article available).
- The Engine no. (currently installed) is NML997. As well as the original engine (CNML 2093S) and mudguards, the machine is also offered with the a set of spare wheels.