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Fully authorised workshop.
The company was a major manufacturer based in Selly Oak, Birmingham. As early as 1847 the name was used for a bicycle wheel design, and again in 1871 for a Penny-Farthing.
Report from the 1902 Stanley Show
Motor Cycling, 26th November 1902
1904 The firm adopted the centre-engine position. They also offered the Liberty cycle attachment as a form of transport. This involved attaching a bicycle to the side of a motorcycle to form a quadricycle and avoid side-slip.
1905-1909 Other models were added, including the tricar. Larger, 6hp V-twin JAP engines were used.
1906. Produced the Aerial-Simplex car in 28-38, 30-40, 35-45, 40-50 and 50-60 h.p. models. The three larger models were six-cylinder while the the others were four-cylinder.
1906 March. Ariel Motors (1906) Ltd was formed to take over Ariel Motors Ltd and to carry on the business of manufacturers of 'Ariel' and 'Ariel-Simplex' cars. Planning to open negotiations with Bruce Peebles and Co for reciprocal working. Directors are: J. F. Albright, Arthur C. Peebles, Gerard B. Elkington, J. E. Hutton and Charles T. B. Sangster.
1910 One basic model replaced all the others. This used a 3.5hp White and Poppe engine with valves spaced apart on one side of the cylinder and the Bosch magneto in front of the crankcase. Later that year the new and advanced Arielette was announced. Various engines were used, including White and Poppe, Abingdon King Dick and Motosacoche.
Components, Ltd. Birmingham.
Stand No. 40.
At their stand, No. 40, situated in the main hall, will be exhibited the 1911 models of Ariel motor-cycles. Interest will chiefly centre round the free engine and variable gear model fitted with the new Ariel easy-starting device, which the makers have such confidence in that they absolutely guarantee the machine will start at a walking pace within three yards. It would certainly appear to dispose of the difficulties hitherto experienced in starting single cylinder motor-cycles. and should serve to still further popularize the Ariel motor-cycle, which has had a most successful season, and will be remembered as the second fastest make of single-cylinder machine to finish in the International Tourist Trophy Race.
An improved pattern carrier is also being fitted, a new pattern tank with improved inclined pump, larger filler caps, which are anchored to the tank to prevent them being lost, improved petrol injector, an improved silencer cut-out working on the ratchet principle and operated either by the foot or hand. The Ariel adjustable pulley model will also be on view, with and without pedalling gear. A new Ariel side-car attachment will also be shown, with fittings adapted to couple it to the new models of Ariel motor-cycles.
1911 By now, Ariel had purchased the rights to White and Poppe and had begun to make engines themselves, with a much higher capacity. They soon produced models, from tourer to TT racer, with a variety of belt-drive transmissions.
1914 An Abingdon engine was used and it, and some singles, adopted a three-speed gearbox and a chain-cum-belt drive. The saddle was connected to a spring frame on the saddle tube to give a comfortable ride.
1916 Throughout the rest of the Great War, the company supplied the War Office with 3.5hp singles and a few V-twins.
Sometime before 1919 the name was changed to Ariel Works Ltd
1925 The company recruited Val Page to design new machines and improve the archaic engine. The new line of Ariels, introduced at the end of the year, had been an instant success. this was not so much because of its technical innovations, but mostly for its very attractive styling: lower saddle position, shortened wheel base and high saddle tank. Victor Mole was the new man in charge of sales at the Ariel works and he designed the new eye-catching emblem of the Ariel horse and coined the advertising slogan Ariel, the Modern Motor Cycle. Within a few years Ariel sales and profits rocketed.
1927 to 1928 Sales were now ten times as high as the 1925 sales before the introduction of the new line of machines. The firm won the prestigious Maudes Trophy both years. This highlighted the tough, new design and promoted the Ariel marque.
1930 The Selly Oak firm ran into financial trouble around that time and closed shop for a short period, while the founder's son, Jack, took over and restructured the company. He bought all of the tools for almost nothing, re-hired the cream of Ariel's staff, and moved 500 yards down the road to a new plant. They came back with a bang.
1931 Inclined engines became the fashion of the day. The Turner design was introduced and this made a great impact with its four cylinders arranged in a square, the crankshafts geared together, an ohc and 498cc capacity. It was listed as the Square Four but soon came to be known as the Squariel. The company won the Maudes Trophy once again but, despite this, the firm was in financial trouble. They pared down their range and Val Page left to join the Triumph team.
1932 Became a private company.
1932 The Red Hunter was added to the range.
1933 Name changed, and again in 1937.
World War II. The company built a military version of the 346cc ohv single and worked on many projects for the forces.
In 1944 Ariel was bought by BSA.
1961 Manufacturers of motor cycles and motor cycle accessories.
In 1963 BSA closed the Selly Oak factory and moved production to Small Heath. Val Page had a design for the Leader as a 70cc four-stroke with in-line four engine, but the executives did not share his vision, so it was never built.
1965 The parent company, BSA, stopped the production of all Ariel models.
1970 An odd three-wheeled moped was briefly produced, using the Ariel name. It cost BSA dearly and contributed to the company's collapse.
Source : Graces Guide
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