The Ariel Colt has a special place in my heart for two reasons. Firstly, it was the first decent bike I ever owned. I bought mine new in 1955 when I finished national service in the RAF. All my previous bikes had been heaps of junk made up from ex War Department surplus stuff. Secondly, not long after I bought it I used it to lure my wife out on our first date when I was working as a laboratory technician at a chemical company and she worked in the offices. Weíve been together ever since! As I understand it the Ariel Colt was actually a reworked BSA C11 downsized to 200cc for tax reasons.
My memories of my machine are fond ones because I travelled vast distances on it. BUT it was fragile, especially the electrics, which gave no end of trouble. Luckily my younger brother also had a Colt but he could not use it because he was doing his national service in the Royal Engineers in Germany. SO every time something busted I swapped the busted bit with the same part off of his bike. By the time the poor devil came back to Blighty his bike was a heap of useless junk. Luckily, I was ensconced some 100 or so miles away in deepest Kent by the time he found out. Since I was broke, our Dad sorted it all out (with much grumbling)!! The 1958 Colt in the picture has been recently extensively restored by a previous owner and is now owned by Grahamís father-in-law. Heís promised to let me ride it when it finally stops raining!
Hereís a laugh - Graham was in Nanís kitchen making derogatory remarks about the Ariel Colt being a non-charismatic lightweight. After bearing this for a few minutes I reminded him that He and his brother Howie both owed their very existence to the Ariel Colt and should therefore treat it with due reverence. After all if I hadnít have used it as bait to lure their Ma out on our first date then ÖÖ Need I say more?
I still haven't been able to get out on the Colt because the weather has been so changeable - wet and cold! Thinking about the electrics on the Colt brought back to mind what the main problem was. One would be riding along in the dark with headlights on in some remote country lane - everything as black as Old Nick's armpit - when suddenly all the lights would flare up and blow all the bulbs! This happened so many times it became the custom to carry a pocketful of spares!! Never did find the reason why this happened. It was totally unpredictable and the lights would often function perfectly for weeks on end without blowing!