Rough and Ready but (Nearly) Always Reliable!
I’ve owned my 1953 Mk2 Ariel Square Four for well over a decade now and after a couple of years lying neglected in the garage it’s been bought out of hibernation for what could probably be called it’s third of forth restoration. Actually it won’t really be a restoration this time but more of freshen up and a chance to improve things cosmetically. It stands now looking a little neglected, front tyre missing after a friend who wore his down to the carcass on an epic journey to Scotland appropriated it to allow him to complete the final leg back to Norfolk from my place in Derbyshire. Various other bits have been “borrowed” to keep my ’52 Mk1 on the road but since that rather rudely threw its engine shock absorber assembly out through the chain case last year the ’53 gets its turn in the limelight.
The Record Breaking First Restoration and Ride to the North Cape
Possibly a slight exaggeration but when I restored the bike for the first time back in 2003 it was completed in about 4 weeks flat! That was not only from a box of bits but if I remember correctly my father and I also rebuilt another bike at the same time. As was our habit at the time (and is still his) the bike was finally fired up and MOT’d the morning that we caught the ferry to Holland to start a grand tour through Germany and Denmark with friends from the Ariel Owners Motorcycle Club. After a couple of weeks of touring we ended up in Sweden and after the rest of the group returned to England I carried on and rode the bike to the North Cape. Foolhardy on a fresh restoration but it made it and by the time I returned home 5 or 6 weeks later the bike had covered over 5000 miles. Not trouble free by any stretch of the imagination the bike featured quite a lot of impromptu mods by the time I returned to the UK.
Life as a Sidecar Tug
Once children appear on the scene any self-respecting classic motorcycle enthusiast will start thinking about sidecars. I was lucky enough to acquire a use-able child adult Busmar York. The bike was smartened up prior to this by repainting for a second time in an improved finish. The sidecar was tidied up with a newly made mudguard and the seats replaced with securely anchored child car seats front and back. I think in the end I probably covered 4,000 odd miles with the side car and they were great times. It always seemed to put a smile on the face of passers-by and the kids enjoyed it, or at least while they were small enough to be unaware of their own mortality. Sadly an accident in the car seemed to alert them to the dangers of the road and they were never quite as care free. Their discomfort infected me and after a final trip down to Suffolk for a weekend rally I decided to stick rather than twist. The sidecar was sold to a fellow enthusiast and the poor old Mk2 sat in the garage for bits to be picked off it.