I will always reply to comments and always re-reply to re-replies.

Thursday, March 31, 2016


Well, my daughter and Vita had asked about this piece of kit, which has been gracing my garages since about 1962. At that time I was the proud owner of an Ariel Square Four motorcycle with a large family sidecar. Indeed, I owned two in quick succession.

As usual, I enjoyed "fettling" and had occasion to delve into the engine. The reason it was known as a "Square Four" was because of the unique and clever cylinder layout, which enabled four cylinders to be inserted compactly into the frame.

These cylinders were connected by a couple of interlocking pinions and I needed to get these off.

You can see the pinions at "A" and "C" in the drawing above. I used the aforementioned tool to successfully remove these. When the engine was reassembled I put the puller carefully away "for next time" and never used it again. It is till awaiting reuse after over 60 years! Incidentally, over the years, as I have lifted cylinder heads off motorcycles, I have always preserved the old gaskets as memories - I found the old Square Four ones.

I loved those Square Fours. At that time (apart from the too expensive Vincents) they were the only 1000cc motorcycles and were ideal for dragging a large family "chair". They managed, easily, a wife and 3 small children and were only eventually replaced by a Morris Traveller car for family comfort.

My daughter remembered my affection for them and once, as a "thank you" present she bought me a painting of one, which still graces the bedroom wall.


Tom said...

Lovely painting. And so nice of you to photograph the motor-bike-and-sidecar outside your ancestral home. :) I fear the intricacies of engineering are a little lost on me (my discipline was maths/physics for heavens sake!) but I can appreciate the loving memories of such details.

Anonymous said...

Ah, Now I know what a Pinion puller looks like!! I am trying to think of a 're-cycled use for it, give me time it will come to me! I think you now frame it and put it somewhere prominent in the garage!
Love the seat cover on the Ariel!
Love daughter x

Roderick Robinson said...

Clever layout? Didn't the rear cylinders overheat - as might have been predicted?

Avus said...

Had to move out of Mereworth Castle (an 18th century Palladian confection) to be able to afford the change from motorcycle to car!
Daughter mine:
Knowing you, you will come up with something! "leopard skin" seat covers were all the rage in the early '60s.
Yes, the pre-war "Squariels" were prone to overheating their rear cylinders (iron cylinder block). The two I had were Mark II versions. Alloy heads/cylinders and four exhaust pipes. They had a vast oil tank which helped engine cooling. I got warm shanks(pleasant in winter)but never had any seizure problems with the bikes.

Roderick Robinson said...

As to Gregorian Chant, you didn't try very hard, did you?

Try Chris Tierney (post code TN24 8NX), Ruth Richards (TN24 8DA), Chris Bailey (TN24 8DE). Doug Jacobs (Dover), Lucinda Drelaud (CT2 0PF), Kristin Finnigan (CT5 4RD), Amelia-Rose Hamilton (CT2 8ER).

There's also a school in Ashford: Right Track Music School.

It will cost you but what better reason for spending money? Poverty-stricken? I'll contribute the first £100. You'll also have a real reason for getting on to your ebike.

The point is you'll be doing something new (and difficult) not repeating stuff you've done over the decades. Proving that old folk are capable of expansion rather than merely giving in and accepting contraction. Something to boast about in the quality tea-room; and - if you make the slightest bit of progress - enjoying a sense of exhilaration equivalent to discovering sex as a teenager (or, no doubt in your case, while still in short pants).

Avus said...

Thanks for the research. But those are all for individual tuition and what I want is an amateur group, to be involved in the song. The only way seems to be via actual choirs. As you say, perhaps I don't want it enough. But thanks for your generous offer of a donation.

As to sex in short pants....... I was a virgin until 18 and the pants would have been long and khaki!

Roderick Robinson said...

But even amateurs sing in tune and on the beat. You'll need tuition for that; choirs don't, in my experience, take on absolute beginners. Some skills are assumed. But I won't nag.

Roderick Robinson said...

Dialogue to go with the halcyon painting:

She: How long do we have to wait?

He: Until the engine's cool. Death Hill's always a struggle.

She: Does this always happen?

He: Only when we go uphill.

She: And yet Kent is a bit a hilly.

He: We could always move to Lincolnshire. That's where most Squariel owners live.

She: That's a long way.

He: We'd take it in easy stages. Forty miles a day. The A1's got lots of interesting laybys.

She: Tell you what, you go to Lincolnshire, I'll stay here. But with a car. Anything, I'm not fussy, so long as it's got four wheels. A Jowett van, a Bedford. Anything - a de Dion Bouton if you like.

He: I think you're being a bit unfair on the old girl.

She: I'd say you're in love with that bag of nails.

He (eagerly): You've hit it in one! And you'll love her too! Then there's the status; on Death Hill - people were full of admiration.

She: Pointing to their heads; twiddling their fingers.

He: I've never understood that bit.

Avus said...

You will have your fun. Poor old Squariel.

I wonder if he ever got to Lincolnshire and whether she was happy in the dreadful Jowett van with its air-cooled flat four engine?

Vita said...

That pinion puller looks very familiar. HH just bought a different one and used it on the 1954 BSA B-31. He says it's perfect now. I love that you saved the square four's gaskets. What a lark that looks. (At least for a young family.)

Avus said...

Yes, they were happy days. Made even happier through the rose tinted lens of memory.

Vita said...

P.S. Gasket collection on display in garage?