1956 Ariel 500 cc
Year of manufacture1956
The ex-Ron Langston/Doug Cooper, British Championship-winning
1956 Ariel 500cc Trials Sidecar Outfit
Registration no. 678 ADD
Frame no. RJL1 PRS251
Engine no. LC647
An all-rounder of the type seldom encountered these days, Gloucestershire farmer Ron Langston competed in scrambles, road racing and trials, the latter on both two and three wheels. He was signed by Ariel in 1956 and rode the Selly Oak machines in national and international trials and scrambles events including the ISDT, winning a gold medal, and the Motocross des Nations. When the Ariel competitions department closed in 1959, he tried his hand at road racing, making a sensational debut at the Manx Grand Prix by finishing 2nd in the Junior event. Riding Geoff Monty's bikes, he scored a double win at the Southern 100 in 1960 and later that year won the Thruxton 500-Mile endurance race, teamed with Don Chapman on a 650cc AJS. Ron also made a number of Grand Prix appearances in the early 1960s, finishing 4th in the Belgian 500cc round and 5th in the Isle of Man Senior TT, both in 1961. To keep his hand in over the winter months, Ron had purchased a 500cc scrambler from Ariel and fitted a sidecar for trials use. Constructed over the winter of 1960/61, that first outfit is the machine offered here, '678 ADD', which was used up to 1966. Ron and Doug are pictured on it at the 1964 Perce Simon Trial in 'Off-Road Giants Volume 2' by Andy Westlake (page 45). By the time they retired from active competition in 1968, Ron and Doug had won countless national events and premier awards, not to mention five British Championships.
Purchased by the current owner almost 30 years ago and kept in dry storage, '678 ADD' has not been used since acquisition, though the engine has been started regularly. The outfit is presented in largely original condition, although it has had an engine change at some point in its life. Ron Langston has confirmed to Bonhams that he built this machine, and his letter to that effect is offered in the sale. It should be noted that the frame number 'PRS251' is prefixed 'RJL1', the latter stamped by Langston himself when he built the machine in the late 1950s. The accompanying original buff logbook bearing Langston's name records the frame number as 'PRS359', which is assumed to be a clerical error as the despatch records show that 'PRS359' was sent to the USA. There is no despatch record for 'PRS251', which was purchased by Langston directly from the factory. An historic machine, '678 ADD' is offered for sale in need of only sympathetic re-commissioning and the customary safety checks before returning to active use. Offered with V5C registration document.