Ariel was a bicycle, motorcycle and car brand from Birmingham, whose adventure began in 1847. The first company product was a light bicycle which was given the name Ariel, meaning the Spirit of the Air. So, this name was kept for all the bicycles and sewing machines produced by the company from Birmingham. In 1901, Ariel began to manufacture cars and one year later, it entered the motorcycle world, the year when the company was bought by Components Ltd.
Ariel was famous not only because of the motorcycles produced. The company was also known due to its quads and three wheelers launched as far back as 1890. The first Ariel motorcycle was released in 1903 and replaced in 1904 by a new design. The first Ariel with an engine, a tricycle, was manufactured in 1898 and in 1901 the first Ariel motorcycle powered by a 211cc Minerva engine was released.
The Ariel cars were produced from 1900 to 1915 and after a short break, again from 1922 to 1925. The first four-wheels beast born in 1902, featuring a 10hp twin cylinder engine. The number of horses grew one year later, when the first Ariel, 16hp four-cylinder "heart" had beaten in another car body. The six-cylinder model entered production at the beginning of 1904. For a year, in 1907-1908 the company produced the 50/60 hp six, with its engine of 15.9 litres. The beginning of the war determined the company to put in stand-by some projects, but in 1918 the company tried to touch the market with the Ariel Nine. Having a 996cc engine and being launched in 1922, the machine had been cloned 700 times. It was followed by Ariel Ten, released in 1922. tll 1926, when the car production stopped, 250 units were manufactured.
In 1925, Val Page, a new designer joined Ariel team and a few engines were launched, Red Hunter being the first in the crowd. This machine prepared the scene for 1000 Square Four, 500 Square Four and 600 Square Four. In 1908, Ariel released a lightweight 2 1/2 horsepower motorcycle and in 1910, the company increased the power to 3 1/2 horses This experience of building motorcycles lasted till 1932, when Components Ltd. went bankrupt and a new Ariel Motors, reborn from an old Ariel subsidiary, came to life.
In 1951 Ariel was sold to the Birmingham Small Arms Company group (BSA) and a new era began for the company, being launched new other models: the Mark 2 Square Four, which could reach a speed of 100mph, Arrow, Leader and other 250cc or 200cc copies of the pre-war Adler models. Unfortunately, after a period of more than 70 years, Ariel motorcycles ceased production in 1967, even if BSA used the name, Ariel 3 for a three wheeler 50cc moped.