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

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Lot 525
The ex-works; Ron Langston; 1958 ISDT, 1958 Ariel 497cc HT5
Registration no. XOB 440 Frame no. CRT 582 Engine no. CAMB 1714

Sold for £ 11,500 (US$ 15,869) inc. premium
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
• Formerly part of the Autokraft Collection

Ariel was one of the last British manufacturers to introduce a trials frame with rear suspension, the prototype of what would become the HT5 first appearing at the Scottish Six Days event in 1955 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.

Great Britain's entry in the 1958 International Six Days Trial (ISDT) in West Germany included the Ariel HT5 offered here, which was ridden by Ron Langston as part of the Vase A Team. Although the efforts of GB's Trophy and Vase Teams were thwarted by machine failures, there were some notable individual performances, among them Langston's, who finished with no marks lost and a coveted Gold Medal. It must have been close run thing, though, as the Ariel Team's bikes suffered frame cracks at the headstock on the fifth day and only made it to the finish thanks to jury-rigged repairs. All the frames were replaced back at the factory.

Previous owner Bob Gardiner purchased this historic ISDT Ariel at Brooks' sale of the Autokraft Collection at the RAF Museum, Hendon in March 1999 (Lot 24, catalogue on file). After many years in obscurity, 'XOB 440' had re-emerged in 1986, appearing 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. In April 2019 the ex-Langston Ariel was sold at Bonhams' Stafford sale (Lot 311) and shortly thereafter was acquired by the current vendor (purchase receipt on file).

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 hand-written notes, a selection of photographs, photocopied literature, and old/current 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.

Saleroom notices

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Contacts
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
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