1936 Ariel 597cc 4F Square Four  Frame no. XF 10111 Engine no. WA 409

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Lot 409
1936 Ariel 597cc 4F Square Four
Registration no. JSK 449 Frame no. XF 10111 Engine no. WA 409

Sold for £ 13,800 (US$ 16,674) inc. premium
1936 Ariel 597cc 4F Square Four
Registration no. JSK 449
Frame no. XF 10111
Engine no. WA 409
Edward Turner’s overhead-camshaft four-cylinder unit sent shock-waves round the motor cycle industry at its appearance in depression-era Britain. Firstly, it was a ‘four’, then a most exotic arrangement in the land of the ‘big single’ and secondly it had advanced crankshaft layout and a type of valve gear which had been largely the province of factory racers. Though housed in ‘stock’ cycle-parts, the unit was, and is, a wholly original concept - fast, high revving and needing to be kept on the boil, unlike other Ariels in the range.

The history of this particular ‘Square Four’ is outlined in a Classic Motor Cycle article from 1997, the year of its rebuild, (a copy of which is offered with the machine). Emphatically built for full-on riding rather than vintage pottering, the owner sought out the best set of Ariel cycle parts available and combined them with a late ohc unit to make a concours bike 'of late ’36 specification’, the ohc engine’s final year, happily capable of being ridden long and hard, whilst remaining oil-tight and staying reliable. All of the cycle parts were stripped back to bare metal with new chrome and paint added, while the chrome rims were replaced by stainless steel. Hidden on the bike are the K-tech electronic ignition and a diode-regulated stop-lamp in the original Lucas MT 110 rear light. After some years of development, the Ariel is now fully sorted, according to the owner, an enthusiast who ‘is lettered ARIEL all through, like a stick of rock’.

The results of the rebuild were so good that JSK 449 was selected for New York’s Guggenheim Museum 'Art of the Motorcycle’ exhibition of 1998. and spent some time on show there, besides winning prizes and being ridden regularly in the UK. JSK 449 comes with V5C, current MOT and road-fund licence, and a history file including earlier documents, a photo coverage of the rebuild and Guggenheim museum material. A superb example of the most charismatic of British fours, ready to go.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note lots 408 and 409 have been transposed in the catalogue. Lot 408, the 1945 Triumph, will be offered before lot 409, the 1936 Ariel. This machine was displayed at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao as part of the 'Art of the Motorcycle' exhibition.
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