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1939 Ariel Square Four 4G

  • Manual, 4 speed
  • Petrol
  • 995cc
  • 1939
  • FTH777
  • Black
  • Private seller
  • Fareham, United Kingdom


As is so often the way with such old vehicles much of the old girls earlier life can't be traced / proven.

You'll note the number plate FTH 777 was assigned to the bike on 01/ 03/ 1996, so what happened; she was manufactured in 1939 (that is a certainty) soon after she was war requestioned and so received a military number plate. After being discharged from military service the military plate was removed. Many years pass before she is assigned a new number plate (1996) suggesting she wasn't road registered, so likely sat in a shed somewhere (certainly dry stored as there is no rust anywhere). Further 'evidence' to suggest no use, the bike was still wearing her wartime green paint until her restoration by the then owner (John M) in 1998, who I believe acquired the bike around 1996 with no registration.

3 recorded owners since 1996: Backwards; me, I bought it (Jan 2021) from a lovely chap in Kent (his dream bike, but too heavy for him - quote), he bought it (Aug 2019) from the then editor of the Ariel Owners Club magazine (JM) who bought it in 1996 (I think) and restored it in 1998, at the same time he got the engine completely rebuilt by the then A0MCC Square Four guru David Jones. As part of that work the bike was fitted with a screw-on external oil filter located under the engine and only run since on multigrade, so should not be so subject to the common problem of sludge build up in the crankshaft connecting rod bearings that everyone will warn you about. He also converted it to 12v and electronic ignition. The bike has only done around 11K miles since above work was carried out back in '98.

A bit about her condition; no show queen, ready to use (running), solid, no rust anywhere, no sign of welding either, personally I like her oily-rag appearance so I've never spruced her up at all, her appearance probably holds her price down. I'm sure you've done your homework so know 'all shiny' she'd be worth lots more than I'm asking. Sure she's 85 years old, but still running well (no nasty noises) and as a 1000cc bike quite capable of keeping up (max 90mph, approx 40-50 MPG) with modern traffic if need be. Right exhaust silencer (stamped Ariel) has a scuff mainly underside (see last photo), gold bead paint on the wheels is starting to come off (second to last photo).

I have to say I could list a thousand things that need fettling, but repeating myself, remember she is 85 years old and a user not a show bike! It's believed she received a new engine when demobbed.

I started her recently, easy start, but she had old petrol in the tank which I've now removed and put fresh in, as a result I suspect the Solex carburettor would benefit from a strip and clean, old 'modern' petrol does know one any favours as I'm sure you are aware.

Come and see her, I don't think you will be disappointed, but if viewing is not possible for you, then please feel free to ask as many questions as you like and / or ask me to provide specific photos of parts you'd like to 'see' closer. It is important to me that you know what you are buying, as you'll appreciate, no guarantee is given or implied.

HPI clear.
Colour on V5 (here in my name) and HPI report (run when I bought) is Black / Red, not just Black as I've listed it on here - DOH!

I might be interested in swapping for a car, try me!

Thanks for looking PeteAriel history:

Ariel Motorcycles was a British maker of bicycles and then motorcycles in Bournbrook, Birmingham. It was an innovator in British motorcycling, part of the Ariel marque. The company was sold to BSA in 1951 but the brand survived until 1967. Influential Ariel designers included Val Page and Edward Turner. The last motorcycle-type vehicle to carry the Ariel name was a short-lived three-wheel tilting moped in 1970. Ariel made bicycles before making motorcycles, and also made cars. Car production began in 1902, moved to Coventry in 1911 and ceased in 1925. The 'Ariel' name was reused in 1999 for the formation of Ariel Motor Company, a sports car producer.

Ariel’s famous 'Square Four', affectionately known as the ‘Squariel’, was a sensation when it was launched at the end of 1930. The air-cooled four-cylinder engine was effectively two vertical twin-cylinder units linked by gears. In 1932 a 600cc Square Four joined the range. This in turn was replaced by the 995cc 4G model (mine) with a re-designed overhead valve engine in 1937.

Engine: 997 cc (60. 8 cu in), 4-stroke, square four, air-cooled, OHV, 8-valve, SU MC2 carburettor.
Power: 40 bhp (30 kW) @ 5, 800 rpm.
Transmission: 4-speed manual gearbox to chain final drive.
Frame type: Tubular single loop.
Brakes Drums: 7 inch front, 8 inch rear.
Tyres: 3. 25 x 19 inch front, 4. 00 x 18 inch rear.
Wheelbase: 1. 422 m (4 ft 8. 0 in).
Dimensions: L: 82 in (2, 100 mm).
Weight: 425 lb (193 kg) (dry).
Fuel capacity: 5 imp gal (23 L; 6. 0 US gal).

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Private seller

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3 Listings since 2024

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Fareham, Hampshire, United Kingdom
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