c.1959 Ariel 645cc Grass-Track Racing Outfit Frame no. CAPRI 13533
Lot 185
c.1959 Ariel 645cc Grass-Track Racing Outfit
Frame no. CAPRI 13533
£3,500 - 4,500
US$ 4,500 - 5,800

Lot Details
c.1959 Ariel 645cc Grass-Track Racing Outfit Frame no. CAPRI 13533 c.1959 Ariel 645cc Grass-Track Racing Outfit Frame no. CAPRI 13533 c.1959 Ariel 645cc Grass-Track Racing Outfit Frame no. CAPRI 13533 c.1959 Ariel 645cc Grass-Track Racing Outfit Frame no. CAPRI 13533 c.1959 Ariel 645cc Grass-Track Racing Outfit Frame no. CAPRI 13533 c.1959 Ariel 645cc Grass-Track Racing Outfit Frame no. CAPRI 13533 c.1959 Ariel 645cc Grass-Track Racing Outfit Frame no. CAPRI 13533 c.1959 Ariel 645cc Grass-Track Racing Outfit Frame no. CAPRI 13533 c.1959 Ariel 645cc Grass-Track Racing Outfit Frame no. CAPRI 13533 c.1959 Ariel 645cc Grass-Track Racing Outfit Frame no. CAPRI 13533 c.1959 Ariel 645cc Grass-Track Racing Outfit Frame no. CAPRI 13533 c.1959 Ariel 645cc Grass-Track Racing Outfit Frame no. CAPRI 13533 c.1959 Ariel 645cc Grass-Track Racing Outfit Frame no. CAPRI 13533 c.1959 Ariel 645cc Grass-Track Racing Outfit Frame no. CAPRI 13533
c.1959 Ariel 645cc Grass-Track Racing Outfit
Frame no. CAPRI 13533
• Built by Don Wright
• Unique 645cc single-cylinder engine
• In-period race winner

Don Wright, a founding director of scooter and motorcycle specialists St Michael's Motors of Stamford, was a well known off-road charioteer during the late 1950s. Built in 1957, Don's first Ariel grass-track outfit was becoming outclassed by an increasing number of 650cc parallel twin-powered outfits. Rather than take the easy option of installing a 650 Triumph or BSA twin, Don chose to enlarge an Ariel 500 single-cylinder motor to 650cc. Work commmenced towards the end of 1959.

Taking advice from well-known Ariel racing preparation specialist Laurence Hartley, he started with a 1934 Red Hunter barrel and piston, and a set of new un-machined flywheels bought from the Ariel factory. A local engineering workshop carried out initial machining of the flywheel blanks, with Hartley's shop completing the task to give the engine a stroke of 110mm, raising the capacity from 498cc to approximately 645cc. The engine employed standard Ariel crankcases and con-rod and a 1936 factory bronze cylinder head intended for the 81.8mm bore 499cc engine. Rather than modify the cylinder head, the piston crown was machined to suit and a Hartley-supplied 2" Jessops inlet valve installed, with the exhaust valve diameter reduced to accommodate it. A new camshaft was ground from an A.664 Red Hunter part to Hartley's dimensions. The machine as presented has this engine coupled to a Burman BA gearbox fitted into a late 1950s Red Hunter frame developed by Don.

By August 1961 Don was happy enough to finally unleash his new '650' engine, and in his own words it 'went like a rocket'. With friends Ken Fisher driving and the nimble Bill Smith working its ultra-light chair, 'finals' wins at Malden and other venues were soon achieved, the season's best results being recorded at Sleaford: six wins from six starts. Initially named the 'St Michael's Motors Special', Don's 'big banger' was retired after many successful outings, remaining unused until the 1980s when Don took it grass-tracking again in the 'Vintage' class as the 'Don Wright Ariel'. Sadly, Don died over a decade ago.

Earlier this year the outfit was liberated from its wooden garage. With a new rear tyre fitted and after some cursory checks, it bumped-started into life on a methanol/nitro-methane mix. As with any elderly racing machine, the Wright Ariel will benefit with an strip-down, check and race preparation before returning to the grass in anger.
Activities
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