Thursday, 6 December 2012

Healey Ariel square four; part of an Italian job

Just back from a meeting at the UK's National Motorcycle Museum ; what meeting? Well, hopefully Benzina will be back bigger and better in 2013. The museum? Hmmm: lots of bikes, some very nice but little thought given to presentation, and the word "patina" doesn't seem to be part of the curator's lexicon. But it is great to have a national motorcycle museum, so mustn't grumble.

This is what caught my eye - the Healey; an updated Ariel Square four offered in the 1970s from the ashes of the great British bike industry (deceased). Brainchild of Tim Healey (and his brother, if memory serves) it was tested by the press under the banner "1000cc for £1000" - by this point a z900 was over £1500, and a Laverda Jota another grand. And there's the connection. When the Slater brothers invented the Jota they arranged for the tweaked 3Cs they were based on to arrive in the UK without exhausts - along with Tim, the Slaters developed a new 3into 2 pipe that Tim Healey made and the Slaters fitted. Full story's in issue 3 of Benzina

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