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Ariel W/NG Contracts

I have been having a further rummage through some Instruction Manuals and Handbooks that I have acquired over the years and this morning discovered 2 Instruction Manuals for the Ariel Military Model W/NG.

The first is dated December 1940 relating to Contract C 8722 for 2,000 machines which gives the Engine Number Series as BH 4131 - and the Frame Number Series as XG 14759 -. The photographs of the machine in the booklet shows full rear carrier, pannier frames and panniers bags, rubber knee pads on the fuel tank and the large foam unsprung based pillion seat. The driver's footrests appear to have rubber coverings but not so for the pillion which appear to be the ribbed steel units. The headlamp does not have a hooded blackout mask.

The second is dated March 1941 relating to Contract C9387 for 3,500 machines which gives the Engine Number Series as BH 6150 - and the Frame Number Series as XG 17,001 - ( an interesting point to note is that in terms of engines there is a gap of 20 engines between the last engine of Contract C8722 and the first engine of Contract C9387 and in terms of frames the gap between the two contracts is 243 - all rather strange?

The second Instruction Manual records the WD Numbers allocated to Contract C9387 as C 1034001 - C 1037500.

The photographs of the machine in this second booklet is the same as that noted above.

I then discovered a couple of W/NG Illustrated Spares Lists.

The first is dated April 1942 relating to Contract C11103 for 3,500 machines which gives the Engine Number Series BH 15,001 - 18,850 and the Frame Number Series as XG 23,751 - XG 27,250. It records the WD Numbers as C 4692899 - 4696398.

Relating to another aspect of Ariel W/NGs recently being discussed this spares book lists Part No. 6400 - 40 - Handlebar bend only 1" to 7/8"taper.

The second is dated September 1945 and relates to 4 Contracts as follows;

Contract S6520 for 350 machines Engine No. Series NBH 40251 - 40600 and the Frame Number Series XG 51506 - 51855. It records the Admiralty Numbers as 35151 - 35500RN

Contract S8049 for 250 machines Engine No. Series NBH 40601 - 40700 and NBH 45101 - 45250 and the Frame Number Series XG 56298 - 57177. It records the Admiralty Numbers as 46014 - 46163RN and 49312 - 49411RN

Contract S8574 for 43 machines Engine No. Series NBH 45251 - 45293 and the Frame Number Series XG 57178 - 57220. It records the Admiralty Numbers as 54096 - 54138RN

Contract S9167 for 300 machines Engine No. Series NBH 47801 - 46100 and the Frame Number Series XG 57221 - 57520. It records the Admiralty Numbers as 58403 - 58702RN.

It would appear from the above that W/NGs issued to the Army had engine numbers beginning BH whilst those that went to the Navy / Admiralty had engine numbers prefixed NBH. It does inevitably raise the question regarding W/NGs that were issued to the RAF and were those engine numbers identified separately?

Review of the allocated frame and engine numbers reveals odd gaps which are uneven i.e. a gap in frame numbers does not always tally with a gap in engine numbers.

In this illustrated Spares List the Handlebar is recorded as Part No. 6401 -44 and is also noted as having Proprietary Number LV7/BC/91-111 which would indicate a standardisation of the handlebars across these contracts tallying with other makes and models.

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Re: Ariel W/NG Contracts

Keith the RAF W/NG's I've come across have the engine number prefixed RBH. Ron

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Re: Ariel W/NG Contracts


Much interesting Ariel info here.
You mention Contract S9167 for the Navy and from which I have a survivor.
I confirm my engine number starts with NBH.

Correspondence with Ariel Owners' MCC last year turned up more of interest.

The despatch book confusingly lists the contract as S6197, delivered up to 21st August 1945 ie. almost the end of the war.
It was the last contract for the WNG and they were to be rust proofed and tropicalised.

It also shows the engine, frame and tank number tie-ups which are completely random and the man at the Club says this is true of all Ariel contracts.
Certainly true for this one as he sent abbreviated copies of my machine's entry proving the existing frame/engine combination to be those fitted originally

I have a feeling that some or all of these may have gone straight to storage as mine was allocated a civilian number in July 1946 and was registered to the Ministry of Works in Lambeth until its first non-government owner in 1950.

AOMCC know of 6 surviving frames from this contract.


Re: Ariel W/NG Contracts

Useful gen. Keith...Is anyone collating WD information at the Ariel OC or separately ? I know that BSA, Norton and RE are quite comprehensively rivet-counted. I've not come across anyone doing the same for WD Ariels though.

Re: Ariel W/NG Contracts

I can confirm that myself and another AOMCC member are undertaking ongoing research and documentation into the Ariel W/NG specification changes, relating those changes/addition of parts (identified by their part numbers)to the contract numbers in which they occurred. There were some thirty W/NG contracts according to the factory despatch books and at present we have 19 parts books which cover all the years of production from 1940 to 1945, the majority of the missing ones are from RN and RAF contracts.

A number of curious anomalies have arisen during the research, such as the fitting of steel primary cases in late 1943 which only applied to three contracts before reverting to the alloy cases in late 1944, whilst the steel timing cases cover continued from late 43 to the end of production.

As will be appreciated the task is long term and the more information we have the more definitive the result will be. Finding the missing parts books is an ongoing task.

Cheers, Alan

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Re: Ariel W/NG Contracts

These Ariel WNG instruction books date from 1940/41,the lower left one was issued in December 1940,the lower right one in March 1941 contract number 294/C/9387.

Photo below is the same in the two top instruction books.

Photo below is the same in the two bottom instruction books,Dec & Mar , panniers are now fitted.

Below some later rider handbooks.

Below two late rider handbooks,the right hand one has instructions for the air filter so must be late issue

NAYLOR & ROOT were selling late model WNGs in this advert from 1950,fitted with air filters and late lighting,could they have been the Royal Navy models ?

Some of the WNGs from contract 294/23/S8049 made it to the Far East,this photo taken in Klang in November 1945 shows one of the RN bikes.

Re: Ariel W/NG Contracts

I have just picked up on the posting by Keith re the contract W/ng numbers, I have XG20758 so appears to be about 200 after the end of this contract, however it is below the next mentioned contract records any views welcome chaps.
kind regards

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Re: Ariel W/NG Contracts

Richard 20758 appears to be the 258th bike from 3000 under contract C10477 in 1942. Some were sent to RAF and RN. Ron

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Re: Ariel W/NG Contracts

The 3000 machines were intended to be split 1500 RAOC Chilwell (C4589426 - C4590925) and 1500 RASC (C1308302 - C1039801).

There is a pencilled note dated 11/8/1941 in RAOC records "Probably 422 for RAF Depots"

It looks as if Chilwell received their first deliveries on 11/10/1941 and the last of their 1500 on 19/12/1941 so presumably the RAF allocation were from the RASC batch and were from the first 1500 frames....although it's not actually stated how the frame numbers were allocated.

Re: Ariel W/NG Contracts

thanks for your info guys, would any of this help me to get a [near enough] army number should I wish to put same on the tank?
kind regards

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Re: Ariel W/NG Contracts

Richard I calculate it to be C4589683. But according to Rik's observations 422 of that first 1500 for the RAOC might have gone to the RAF, but I doubt anyone will ever know. Ron

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Re: Ariel W/NG Contracts

These early Ariel contracts are difficult and any with RAOC / RASC splits are poorly documented. It looks to me as if the RAOC deliveries did not occur until after the RAF my best guess is that they were from the RASC allocations and weren't sent to Ashchurch as originally ordered. The RAOC were something of sticklers for numbers matching serials...

The RAOC machines were probably XG 22001 - 23500...meaning that any lower numbers were RASC or RAF....If RASC then the serial was from the C1038302 - 1039801 range.

By chance, an image of one appeared on Facebook today.


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