2022 Shannons Summer Timed Online Auction

1933 Ariel Red Hunter 500cc Motorcycle





Engine Single cylinder, 499cc
Gearbox 4-speed manual
Colour Glamour Red
Trim Black

Notice (Form 11)


This lot is no longer available

The Ariel story began with two men, James Starley and William Hillman, who began manufacturing bicycles and associated parts in the late 19th Century before moving on to construct a simple quadricycle employing a De Dion engine mounted in the rear. A similar tricycle, albeit with the engine relocated to the front, followed in 1899 and Ariel began building two-wheeled machines just three years later, powered by Kerry engines. The company changed hands in 1905, with Charles Sangster taking a controlling interest and a new model, the lightweight two-stroke Areilette, was introduced. The talented Edward Turner joined Ariel in the inter-war years and proposed a radical new design, the Square Four, which Sangster's son Jack, by then running the motorcycle arm of the company, approved for production in 1931. The air-cooled, overhead-camshaft Square Four was joined by a more conventional ohv 500cc single- dubbed the Red Hunter - in 1932. Designed by Val Hunter, the two models formed the mainstay of Ariel production well into the 1950s but early examples are particularly scarce, with only 356 VH Red Hunters built in 1933 according to a reliable source. The Depression saw Ariel sales plummet and the company underwent a dramatic reorganisation, with a rationalised model range lasting until the outbreak of World War Two. The Red Hunter became Ariel’s best-selling motorcycle in the post-war period, aided by numerous successes in trials, scrambles and road racing. Sold in both 350cc and 500cc versions, Ariel adopted a sprung frame across most of the range by 1954 and numerous other developments kept the Red Hunter up to date until the model was finally phased out in 1959.