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Lot 201
1901 Ariel 375cc Quadricycle
Registration no. MI 96
1 November 2013, 15:30 GMT
London, New Bond Street

Sold for £46,000 inc. premium

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1901 Ariel 375cc Quadricycle
Registration no. MI 96
Frame no. 85
Engine no. 607


By a wonderful co-incidence, this Ariel Quadricycle returns to 101 New Bond Street - previously the site of Ariel's London showroom, from where it was purchased new in 1901 - for Bonhams' London to Brighton sale at its new headquarters building.

'MI 96' is a rare survivor of the Ariel quadricycle, which was one of the more successful examples of this 'halfway house' between a car and a motorcycle. It was offered as a tricycle, with optional quadricycle attachment, 'taking the form of a small open carriage, which can either be supplied with the Tricycle at the time of purchase or at any future period' according to Ariel's advertising.

Dating from 1901, the Ariel was owned from new by Captain Loftus A Bryan of Borrmount Manor, Enniscorthy, County Wexford until ownership passed to Mr Sydney Cooper of Blackrock, County Dublin in 1967. While in Mr Cooper's stewardship the Ariel was restored by the noted specialist James Tennant-Eyles of Oxford. This was no easy task as many parts had gone missing over the years including the two-speed gearbox, which had to be re-manufactured together with various other components. Fortunately, the restorer was granted access to the Science Museum's similar Ariel quadricycle, which provided much valuable data. A detailed account of its restoration was subsequently published in The Classic Motor Cycle (copy article available).

Soon after restoration, the machine successfully completed two London-Brighton Veteran Car Runs, including the Centenary event of November 1996, and later that same month was offered for sale at Brooks' Olympia auction where it was purchased by the current vendor (Lot 896). Accompanying documentation consists of an Irish logbook (issued 1982), VCC dating certificate, transfer of ownership form (1996) and assorted photocopies of period Ariel sales literature. Also included in the sale are an information display board, two front lamps, one rear lamp and the previous crankcase (that currently fitted is a replacement).

'MI 96' also comes with the alternative single front wheel enabling it to be converted to tricycle configuration, in which form it is eligible for the Sunbeam MCC's Pioneer Run.

Saleroom notices

Whilst the machine is offered with a VCC dating certificate (dated 1901) as a 'Quadricycle', the successful purchaser would be required to submit an 'Application for a Sunbeam Motorcycle Club Pioneer Certificate' in 'Tricycle' form for qualification in the Pioneer Run.

Additional information