The ex-works; Ron Langston; 1958 ISDT, 1958 ARIEL 497cc HT5 Frame no. CRT 582 Engine no. CAMB 1714

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Lot 311
The ex-works; Ron Langston; 1958 ISDT, 1958 ARIEL 497cc HT5
Registration no. XOB 440 Frame no. CRT 582 Engine no. CAMB 1714
£ 7,000 - 10,000
US$ 9,100 - 13,000

Lot Details
The ex-works; Ron Langston; 1958 ISDT, 1958 ARIEL 497cc HT5 Frame no. CRT 582 Engine no. CAMB 1714 The ex-works; Ron Langston; 1958 ISDT, 1958 ARIEL 497cc HT5 Frame no. CRT 582 Engine no. CAMB 1714 The ex-works; Ron Langston; 1958 ISDT, 1958 ARIEL 497cc HT5 Frame no. CRT 582 Engine no. CAMB 1714 The ex-works; Ron Langston; 1958 ISDT, 1958 ARIEL 497cc HT5 Frame no. CRT 582 Engine no. CAMB 1714 The ex-works; Ron Langston; 1958 ISDT, 1958 ARIEL 497cc HT5 Frame no. CRT 582 Engine no. CAMB 1714 The ex-works; Ron Langston; 1958 ISDT, 1958 ARIEL 497cc HT5 Frame no. CRT 582 Engine no. CAMB 1714
The ex-works; Ron Langston; 1958 ISDT
1958 ARIEL 497cc HT5
Registration no. XOB 440
Frame no. CRT 582
Engine no. CAMB 1714
• ISDT Gold Medal winner
• An older restoration
• Purchased from the sale of the Autokraft Collection, March 1999

Bob Gardiner purchased this historic ISDT Ariel at Brooks' sale of the Autokraft Collection at the RAF Museum, Hendon in March 1999 (Lot 24).

By the mid-1950s the swinging-arm frame's superiority had begun to be recognised in the trials world, overturning the conventional view that a rigid frame gave better grip. Ariel was one of the last manufacturers to introduce a trials frame with rear suspension, the prototype of what would become the HT5 first appearing at the 1955 Scottish Six Days event with production proper commencing in September of that year. Little was achieved by the works HT5s in their first season but the arrival of Ron Langston for 1956 brought with it the success Ariel had been seeking, their new signing winning the Cotswold and Greensmith trials. For the next few seasons the HT5 was the class of the field. Arguably the most capable of the 'heavyweight' trials irons, the HT5 disappeared along with the other Ariel four-strokes in 1959 after only 450-or-so had been made, though Sammy Miller's famous and much modified example - 'GOV 132' - would continue winning at the highest level well into the 1960s.

Between 1924 and 1953 the UK won the International Six Days Trial's Trophy competition 15 times, but by the mid-1950s British domination was a thing of the past. The succeeding decades would be the preserve of state-supported East European teams equipped with, in the main, lightweight two-strokes. However, despite the trend towards smaller machines the UK motorcycle industry's concentration on the production of large-capacity four-strokes meant that most British ISDT competitors continued to be mounted on the latter. Britain's entry in the 1958 event in West Germany comprised mainly single-cylinder machines, the Ariel HT5 offered here being ridden by Ron Langston as part of the Vase A Team. Although the efforts of Britain's Trophy and Vase Teams were scuppered by machine failures, there were some notable individual performances, among them Langston's, the Ariel works rider finishing with no marks lost and a coveted Gold Medal.

After many years in obscurity, 'XOB 440' re-emerged in 1986, being featured in The Classic Motor Cycle's November issue (copy on file). Then owned by Phil Ives, it had been restored by its previous owner and was in one-day trials trim. Ives then set about acquiring the many missing parts necessary to return 'XOB 440' to ISDT specification and, at the time of the article's publication, the machine was not yet finished. It is not known when the project was completed, or the machine acquired by Autokraft.

As presented here, 'XOB 440' displays many of the features that differentiated the ISDT HT5 from its one-day trials counterpart: dual seat, tyre inflator, paired control cables, and front tyre 'mud claw' among others. It should be noted that the engine number is that of a roadster Red Hunter, possibly indicating an engine or crankcase swap. Accompanying documentation includes Bob's hand-written notes; photocopied literature; and old/current V5/V5C Registration Certificates.

Footnotes

  • As with all Lots in the Sale, this Lot is sold 'as is/where is' and Bidders must satisfy themselves as to the provenance, condition, age, completeness and originality prior to bidding.
Activities
Auction information

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Saturday 27 April
Spares, Memorabilia (Lots 1 - 198) 10am
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Sunday 28 April
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Motorcycle Spares and Memorabilia Clearance
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