1952 Ariel Square Four


As A28 Classics has now ceased trading due to retirement, we have decided to sell off some of the motorbikes that we have kept in our own personal collection.

Contemporary advertising for the Square Four included the slogan ‘The Greatest of Them All’, over an image of a contended looking chap sporting a shirt and tie under a tweed jacket. This demonstrates how these bikes were aimed at the top end of the motorcycle market, in an era when a four-cylinder 1000cc engine was an exception.

The Square Four was originally conceived by Edward Turner, who went on to have a stellar career in motorcycle design as Ariel merged with Triumph and BSA. The Square Four was originally released in 1930 as a 500cc, increased to a 600cc in 1932, then became a 1000cc in 1945. The aluminium engine was introduced in 1949. The bikes were made until 1959, with the other main change made in 1953 when four exhausts were introduced.

Our bike was despatched to King’s Motors (Oxford) Ltd in Birmingham on 20th February according to the dating certificate that we hold issued by Draganfly Motorcycles who now look after Ariel’s records. This certificate also confirms that our bike is a matching numbers bike. In fact, we believe the bike to be in largely original condition. Another aspect of the bike that dates it to 1952 is the fact that it has a solid black painted petrol tank, rather than a mixture of paint and chrome. According to Draganfly, from 1951 to 1953 there was shortage of chrome due to the Korean War, with the result that Ariel tanks were painted only during this period.

We acquired this bike from a dealer in Bristol in 2016 as a runner needing some attention. Given the originality of the bike we decided to give it a restoration, keeping original parts where they did not need to be replaced. We spent a total of £6,815, largely with classic bike specialists Windmill Garage. The engine was totally rebuilt, the gearbox was rebuilt, all the paintwork was redone, including restoring and repainting the original tank and mudguards. An all-new wiring loom was also added, and all the electrics were restored. The restoration took around a year and it was finished in 2017. We have detailed invoices for all the work that was carried out.

Since then, we have ridden the bike lightly, travelling a little less than 400 miles. It starts easily and is a joy to ride. We have undertaken any necessary light maintenance in the intervening period since the restoration.

We believe that we are selling an extremely well-sorted Square Four which would be an ideal addition to any motorcycle collection. These bikes really are a great piece of British biking history and are rarely seen on the road today.

Price £15,250