1934 Ariel 601cc 'Square Four' Project Frame no. 4817 Engine no. 285

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Lot 64
1934 Ariel 601cc 'Square Four' Project
Registration no. HA 9600 Frame no. 4817 Engine no. 285

Sold for £ 4,830 (US$ 6,107) inc. premium
1934 Ariel 601cc 'Square Four' Project
Registration no. HA 9600
Frame no. 4817
Engine no. 285
Crankcase pairing no. 191

Designed by the legendary Edward Turner, the Ariel Square Four was first shown at Olympia in 1930. Unique at the time of its introduction, the 'Squariel', as it was swiftly dubbed, featured a single block of four cylinders and twin geared-together crankshafts with pistons phased at 180 degrees. The crankcase was split horizontally, unusually for a motorcycle engine of the period, while the vertical valves were operated by a single overhead camshaft. A supercharged example was raced at the Isle of Man TT in 1931 without success, which was hardly surprising as its makers had envisaged the model as more of a luxury tourer than an out-and-out sports machine.

Although launched as a '500', the Squariel was soon enlarged to 601cc with an eye on the important sidecar market, this bigger version being made available for the 1932 model year. In 1937 a total redesign saw it re-emerge as the Model 4G, with 995cc overhead-valve engine, making the Squariel an even more enticing prospect for sidecar drivers. To date, the innovative Ariel Square Four remains unique in motorcycling history; a true 'gentleman's motorcycle, this refined yet charismatic machine retains an enthusiastic and loyal following, and is highly prized by discerning enthusiasts.

Previously licensed as a motorcycle and sidecar, this early Square Four was purchased in approximately 1958/59 as a restoration project suffering from engine damage to two pistons. The cylinder block was sent away to be re-bored and re-sleeved, and four new pistons were fitted. The engine was started after re-assembly in January 1960 but has not been reinstalled in the Ariel, which has remained in dry storage in a dismantled state ever since. Offered for restoration and sold strictly as viewed, the machine comes with an old-style continuation logbook (issued 1951), DVLA letter, instruction book, Ariel spanner and an old-style V5 registration document. It should be noted that there is no front wheel with this motorcycle.

Saleroom notices

  • The frame number is Y4817. The engine number is UA285.
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