1. 1954 Ariel Square Four Mk II

  2. 1954 Ariel Square Four Mk II

  3. 1954 Ariel Square Four Mk II

  4. 1954 Ariel Square Four Mk II

  5. 1954 Ariel Square Four Mk II

  6. 1954 Ariel Square Four Mk II

  7. 1954 Ariel Square Four Mk II

  8. 1954 Ariel Square Four Mk II

  9. 1954 Ariel Square Four Mk II

  10. 1954 Ariel Square Four Mk II

  11. 1954 Ariel Square Four Mk II

  12. 1954 Ariel Square Four Mk II

  13. 1954 Ariel Square Four Mk II

  14. 1954 Ariel Square Four Mk II

  15. 1954 Ariel Square Four Mk II

  16. 1954 Ariel Square Four Mk II

  17. 1954 Ariel Square Four Mk II

Lot Number
7
From The Allen Smith Collection of Significant Motorcycles
1954 Ariel Square Four Mk II


Offered Without Reserve

ESTIMATE: $30,000 - $40,000
CHASSIS NO: PL269
• First year for Ariel’s legendary 997 cc ‘Four Pipe’ Mk II engine
• One of Britain’s finest motorcycle designs
• Muscular presence and advanced engineering
• Restored by noted marque expert Chuck Walton

997 cc 4G “Square Four” Mk II OHV four-cylinder engine, SU carburetor, four-speed manual gearbox with chain final drive, telescopic front forks, Anstey link-action springing (plunger) rear suspension, front and rear drum brakes; wheelbase: 56.25”


Based at Selly Oak in the UK, Ariel Motors is responsible for producing some of the finest motorcycles of the pre- and post-WW II eras, on either side of the Atlantic. In January 1929, signs of greatness to come arrived when Edward Turner, a former motorcycle dealer, became Ariel’s designer/engineer working under Val Page and with Bert Hopwood his assistant engineer. Possessing a keen awareness of the requirements for a great-selling motorcycle that would create a fiercely loyal customer base, “ET” immediately set to work, quickly developing the 500 cc OHC Square Four. Launched at the 1930 London Motor Cycle Show, the new Square Four drew excited crowds of spectators hungry for a fresh new motorcycle. Initially expensive to produce and a bit underpowered, the Square Four was enlarged to 597 cc in 1931 and well received, but the worsening Depression hit Ariel’s parent company, Components Limited, hard and forced receivership in 1932. Using his own funds, Jack Sangster bought Ariel and then streamlined operations. After Val Page moved to Triumph, Edward Turner became chief engineer and revamped Ariel’s model line over the next few years.

The launch of the pushrod-operated 997 cc Square Four 4G for 1936 was a defining moment in Ariel’s history, joined by the 499 cc 4F before WW II broke out. Producing 38 horsepower, the factory claimed the 4G was capable of hitting the magical 100-mph mark, with the newfound power handled by Frank Anstey’s new-for-1939 rear “plunger” suspension design, which remained an Ariel hallmark until production eventually ceased in 1958. Post-war, Ariel continued with the 4G Square Four, gradually refining it with telescopic front forks, improved engine cooling, and weight reduction including an all-new aluminum engine design shedding 33 pounds at one stroke. A final redesign for 1954 brought the 4G Mk II, powered by an updated ‘four pipe’ engine with two separate exhaust pipes from each polished aluminum manifold, developing 42 horsepower at 5,800 rpm.

The muscular good looks of the powerful Mk II engine were enhanced by a larger and more rounded five-gallon fuel tank yielding a solid 250-mile range. However, despite all of its considerable appeal, demand for smaller, thriftier motorcycles forced the end of Square Four production in 1958. Today, these brawny performers are coveted by knowledgeable collectors and dyed-in-the-wool riders worldwide.

From the debut year for the ultimate ‘four pipe’ Mk II Ariel Square Four, this handsome example was purchased by Allen Smith in 2008. It was rebuilt by noted Ariel expert Chuck Walton of California who had amassed experience with more than 75 Square Fours, including his purchase of a new Square Four in 1956, which he continued to ride for the next five decades and beyond, in addition to some 40 years spent rebuilding and maintaining these potent “big-bore” British bikes for his clientele. When Mr. Walton rebuilt the engine and gearbox of this Mk II, he fitted the engine with new pistons, valves, and lower-end bearings, plus select upgrades including a Morgo oil pump, Mk I rods with Honda rod bolds, a German head gasket, and the addition of Timeserts to the threaded holes in the cylinder barrels for improved head-gasket sealing and longevity. Homer Knapp machined the gearbox and primary case to accept modern seals to prevent leakage. The engine sprocket was changed and a special countershaft sprocket was made to for a higher final-drive, allowing the bike to cruise along at 70 mph without strain for a highly enjoyable riding experience. Rakish and muscular in overall presence, with its sleek lines enhanced by the rider-only saddle, this 1954 Ariel Square Four Mk II stands as one of the finest and most-respected British motorcycles ever produced.

1954 Ariel Square Four Mk II
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