Brit Meets Yank in a Unique Build
I must admit, I’ve been fascinated with the old Ariel marquee for about 10 years, since I first laid eyes on one in a moto mag, then at a moto show. The unique Square Four engine configuration, the quintessential Brit bike lines, and those pipes! I fell in love with them. So when I beheld this radically raked out and customized Ariel chopper in the Throttlestop Museum up in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin recently, just up the street from the fabled Road America racetrack, I was awestruck. I had to learn more. To combine the best of the British motorbike scene with the American chopper culture of the late 60s- mid 70s, was pure steel poetry with this build.
Here’s Throttlestop’s own story of this special machine in their wonderful collection-
In 1958, the British Ariel’s Square Four was considered one of the premier motorcycles in the world. Produced between 1931 and 1959 and designed by Edward Turner, the Square Four earns its name from a dual counter-rotating crankshaft design which also provided a level of smoothness generally unavailable during its era.
The American Chopper on the other hand was representative of the outlaw motorcycle culture of the 1950’s and 60’s bookended by WWII and the Vietnam War era. During this period many American choppers were built and cruised the roads of America capturing the hearts and souls of many. This was exemplified by many movies of the era including Marlon Brando’s “The Wild One” and Peter Fonda’s “Easy Rider.”
It only makes sense that the British, being the great colonizers that they were, infiltrated the American Chopper scene resulting in the creation of this unique Ariel Square Four Chopper. This example combines classic chopping – an extended springer front end, “Sissy Bar” behind the passenger perch, and the classic chopper seat position – with the British sophistication of the Ariel Square Four engine and chassis.
Though the bike has been upgraded with such items as the transistorized ignition of the day, extreme care was taken to preserve as much of the original bike as possible, including the classic Ariel Plunger Style rear suspension. Even the actual Ariel frame was cut into four pieces and reworked into the shape you see. The restoration was completed in July of 1975 and is still in perfect original condition. It was produced much in the same way that bikes were originally made at the original Ariel workshop, by a few craftsmen who cared about getting it done right.
For more on this unique bike as well as all the legendary motorcycles and automobiles in their collection, click here:
*photos & (most) text from the Throttlestop.