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SLIDER: 1905 Ariel six-cylinder 30 h.p.

The original Ariel company was established in 1870 by James Starley and William Hillman. In 1885 James Starley’s nephew, John Kemp Starley, invented the ‘Rover Safety Bicycle’ – a design that remains essentially unchanged today.

Ariel merged with Westwood Manufacturing in 1896 and made a powered tricycle in 1898 with a 2¼ h.p. de Dion engine.  Hillman left soon afterwards to found Premier Motorcycles.  In 1901 Ariel moved into car production – and this 1905 car dates from that period.

The first proper Ariel car was a 10 h.p. twin-cylinder of 1902.  An entirely new range was announced at the end of 1905; called the ‘Ariel-Simplex’.  Inspired by Mercédès designs, they were four-cylinder cars of 15 h.p. and 25/30 h.p. and a six, supposedly of 35/40 h.p. – but, according to this picture from the December 9th 1905 issue of Country Life, called a 30 h.p.

In 1907 Ariel sold its Birmingham factory to the French Lorraine-Dietrich company, who wanted to enter the British market; after this, Ariel cars were assembled at the Coventry Ordnance Works, but production ceased in 1914.

Ariel returned to motor car production in 1922 with the Ariel Nine, powered by a flat-twin, water-cooled engine of 996 cc. In 1925 Ariel ceased production of cars once more, to concentrate on motorcycle production – including the Ariel Square Four, launched in 1931 and made until 1959.


One response to “SLIDER: 1905 Ariel six-cylinder 30 h.p.”

  1. Ariejan Bos says:

    A photo of probably the same car appeared in The Car Illustrated of July 26, 1905, which was driven by Miss Godwin in the Brighton Motor Meeting of that month. In The Automotor Journal of July 29 the car was described as the new Ariel-Simplex, having a 6 cylinder 30/35 H.P. engine. This 6 cylinder engine was already introduced as a 30 H.P. early 1904, by the way. For 1906 a new engine line was developed ranging from a 25-30 H.P. four to a 50/55 H.P. six. The looks of the 1906 models were also more Mercedes-like than this early Ariel-Simplex model.

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