Ariel “Square Four” with sidecar, 1932, England
Ariel is one of England’s oldest companies, one of its founders was J. Starley to whom we owe the majority of innovative inventions on bicycles back then (for instance, tangent-spoked wheels with Hillman).
The Ariel name comes from the spirit who appears in William Shakespeare’s play The Tempest to highlight the lightness of Ariel bicycles.
The company later started producing motorcycles and cars; in 1905 it was chosen to represent England in the International Cup.
Ariel entered the history books as the first company to believe in the “Square Four” engine, a project by Edward Turner that provided for the use of 4 cylinders arranged at the 4 corners of an imaginary square, as the bike shown at the museum.
The Square Four of the museum is a 1932 model, from the first series (called 4F) with hand shifter and 601cc displacement, raised from the previous 500cc to allow the use of the sidecar, an other accessory present.
The model will be produced until 1959, giving room to a different production of light 2-stroke motorcycles, one of the last attempts of the British company before its closure in 1967, struggling against the Japanese rivals.