Testing, testing! How the bike journos of old saw the Squariels

The uncanny flexibility of the Ariel Square Fours, from the 497cc and 597cc ‘cammies’ to the final pushrod-operated 997cc Mk. 2, always amazed those fortunate enough to road test these four-pot classics, as these excerpts from our archive bound volumes show.

Testing, testing! How the bike journos of old saw the Squariels
There’s a Standard Vanguard in the background as Motor Cycling’s late Midlands editor, Bernal Osborne, in the typical riding garb of the day, road tests a 1956 four-pipe Mk. 2 Ariel Square Four in a city setting.
Last month, starting with the first published road test of the original 4F 497cc overhead-camshaft Ariel Square Four in The Motor Cycle of April 9, 1931, we gave a brief outline of the development of this fabled machine.

The euphoria that greeted the complex newcomer was mirrored in the report, with sentences like: “Becoming critical through experience, it is not often that the staff of The Motor Cycle can apply superlatives to almost every feature of a particular motor cycle.”


Within a year a 597cc model had been introduced, presumably for sidecar use, and for a while was sold alongside the original.

By then the road testers, while still enthusiastic about the machine, had started to note a few faults as well.

Read more in July’s edition of OBM

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