Friday, 17 July 2020

Model A - an introduction

You can't have too many bike projects. I may have too many bike projects, but when a new one comes along sometimes you can't afford to pass it up. Since I have got to know Ariels I have developed a love for the singles through my splendid W/NG, so when this 1930 Model A - the last year of the 'Black Ariels' came up I couldn't say no. More to the point, my wife was very encouraging too, so the deal was done.

Here she is. She's called Agatha.


A Model A is the most basic of the heavyweight single range, which means she has the 557 cc side valve engine, with a 3 speed hand change Sturmey Archer gearbox and the slim mudguards with no valance. She has no steering damper either, and she has the slim 300-20 tyres at both ends. However, her first owner, Mr James Johnston of Leightnie, Lethnot by Brechin who first registered the bike as a 5.5 hp Ariel on 15th July 1930 seems to have specified the chrome tank when he bought it from Duncan's of Brechin.


You can see from the map that she's not widely travelled.

It had been dispatched from the factory on the 26th May 1930, and currently has the original engine and gearbox. You'll note he also specified the Lucas electric lighting option (£5-10s extra), and he spent an extra £1 on the chrome plating option - the handlebars are chrome plated under the twist grip, not nickel plated:


Did he buy a horn? We don't know. He didn't buy a speedo.

It's pretty complete, apart from the front mudguard (that one is from the late 1940's) and the rear stand. I have the brake pedal and it's rod, the gear change and front brake rods and one of the footrests:


There are a lot of fatigue cracks in the primary case and in the rear mudguard, but nothing we can't fix:


Unusually, she has a BTH magneto. This is non-standard, and dates from 1925 so I think this is a period replacement.


1 comment:

  1. Hello Simon and Agatha, I'm most envious and already looking forward to plenty of posts about Agatha's resurrection. It will be interesting to compare the 550 engine with my 600 VB.
    In an upcoming post could you please explain where the names Amelia and Agatha come from and do your other Ariels have names ?
    Best Regards, Chris in Chiba, Japan with '39 VB and '48 4G.

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