c.1915 Ariel 5-6hp Motorcycle Combination
Registration no. SA 3804
Frame no. 7532
A firm with its roots in the cycle industry, Ariel exhibited its first powered two-wheeler in 1901, employing a 211cc, 1.5hp, Minerva engine. Ariel's own power unit followed in 1903, but the Birmingham firm continued to rely mainly on proprietary engines, the 4hp, single-cylinder, White & Poppe sidevalve being a fixture of the range well into the 1920s, by which time Ariel had taken over its production themselves. Ariel's first v-twin (powered by a 6hp JAP) was built in 1905 to contest the International Auto Cycle Cup Race on the Isle of Man, and a production version was made available for the following season. Its next venture along twin-cylinder lines was a White & Poppe-engined sidecar tug produced briefly before being replaced for 1914 by a new model powered by a 5-6hp Abingdon motor. The latter was superseded after 1919 by a more powerful 6-7hp (795cc) engine from the same manufacturer, this being built alongside a similar 8hp model with Swiss MAG v-twin engine. By 1924 the latter was the only Ariel v-twin catalogued, the Abingdon-powered model having been dropped the previous year.
This 1914/15 Ariel 5-6hp complete with coachbuilt sidecar previously formed part of the stock of George Cheyne Motorcycles, a firm established in Aberdeen in 1895 specialising in cycles and then motorcycles. On purchasing the business, the current vendors inherited a few motorcycles that were left in the basement, this Ariel being one of them. 'SA 3804' had been acquired by Cheyne in 1964 when it came to the workshop to have some repair work and servicing carried out, and has not been used on the road since then. The Ariel was moved to the Grampian Transport Museum in the late 1980s and stayed there until the vendor's father's death in 2012. The machine had been drained of oil for display purposes and no attempt has been made to return it to running order or undertake any restoration. We are advised that the Ariel was first registered on 26th March 1921, this being shortly after the introduction of the Roads Act of 1920, which required local councils to register all vehicles at the time of licensing and to allocate a separate number to each. (Many vehicles, although in existence for several years in some cases, were only registered for the first time after the Act's passing).
Presented in original condition, 'SA 3804' represents a wonderful opportunity to acquire an unmolested example of an extremely rare model from one of Britain's foremost manufacturers. There are no documents with this Lot, which is offered for sympathetic restoration and sold strictly as viewed.
- The Engine number is A.984I.