The prototype Earles fork model,1953 Ariel 499cc KHA MkII Hunt Master Frame no. BS101 Engine no. XFA101X

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Lot 358
The prototype Earles fork model,1953 Ariel 499cc KHA MkII Hunt Master
Registration no. 387 UXM Frame no. BS101 Engine no. XFA101X

Sold for £ 3,450 (US$ 4,320) inc. premium
The prototype Earles fork model
1953 Ariel 499cc KHA MkII Hunt Master
Registration no. 387 UXM
Frame no. BS101
Engine no. XFA101X
Designed by Val Page, Ariel’s KH 499cc twin was produced between 1948 and 1957, starting out as the Red Hunter, becoming the Hunt Master and finally the Fieldmaster, these revisions reflecting its change in role from sportster to tourer. At the time of its launch Ariel’s new twin seemed to have a bright future. With a top speed of around 90mph, the KH was as fast as a BSA A7 or Triumph Speed Twin and a real eye-catcher with its red-and-chrome petrol tank. A sister model - the slightly less-powerful KG De Luxe - was available in black. The KH’s cycle parts had much in common with the singles’ but although the frames are similar, engines are not inter-changeable. A rigid frame was standard, with Ariel’s Anstey-designed rear suspension an option. The telescopic forks were shared with parent company, BSA. A new model with an all-alloy engine - the KHA - appeared in 1953 but lasted for one year only before being dropped.

In April that same year Ariel announced a trio of new models fitted with a leading-link front fork developed in collaboration with E R G ‘Ernie’ Earles. The Earles-type fork was to be made available on the Square Four ‘Royal Hunter’, the KHA MkII ‘Hunt Master’ twin and the VHA ‘Hunt Marshal’ single. This new development was reported at length in The Motor Cycle and Motor Cycling, which also carried advertisements depicting the three prototypes. Interested parties were asked to contact their local dealer for information or send for a brochure. Like so many apparently promising ideas, Ariel’s Earles-fork models did not reach production and of the handful of prototypes made, the KHA Hunt Master offered here is the only known survivor.

The Earles-fork Hunt Master was being offered for sale as a dismantled ‘basket case’ at Newark Autojumble where the current vendor, an Ariel enthusiast, spotted it circa 2004. Restored over the next year or so, its engine being rebuilt by marque specialist Bruce Sims, the machine was reregistered on an age-related plate and has covered only 800 miles since completion. It should be noted that the special ‘display’ front numberplate is a reference to HM Queen Elizabeth’s coronation in 1953 and that modern handlebar controls/mirrors have been fitted for convenience (a set of period controls is included in the sale). Described by the private vendor as in immaculate condition, this unique historic motorcycle is offered with VMCC dating certificate, copies of various magazine articles, current MoT/tax and Swansea V5C.

Saleroom notices

  • Since the sale catalogue has been in circulation we have been advised that this motorcycle is a replica of the Earles fork prototype and not the prototype itself. Ariel Owners Club records show that frame number 'BS101' originally formed part of a machine that went to Comerfords in Thames Ditton on 25.8.52 containing a standard (iron) KH engine number 'XF262'. Apparently, there is no record of an engine number 'XFA101' in the despatch books as these start with engine number 'XFA104'. Also, only one period control lever comes with the machine and not a set as stated in the catalogue.
Contacts
The prototype Earles fork model,1953 Ariel 499cc KHA MkII Hunt Master Frame no. BS101 Engine no. XFA101X
The prototype Earles fork model,1953 Ariel 499cc KHA MkII Hunt Master Frame no. BS101 Engine no. XFA101X
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