When three wheels were better than four.

In 1945/46, many of our armed services people returned home after the War, to once again take up what they hoped would be a normal family life. Things were tough, and money was scarce. One issue which faced these families was a method of transportation.

Cars were expensive, and a solution which was adopted by many was to purchase a motor bike and side- car. It became a common sight to see dad riding the bike, with mum, perhaps with a toddler on her knee, trundling alongside in the side-car.

Although this image has long since passed some of the marvellous old outfits still survive, lovingly restored by their present owners. One owner is Euroa’s Struan Clarke.

Struan’s immaculate 1945 HK Fieldmaster 500 parallel twin is one such machine and he will have on show at the Australian National Show and Shine Euroa.

The bike itself has been owned by Straun since 1969, with a history that goes back via Queensland where it was raced in the 60s. In 1980, Struan commenced restoration of the main machine. His affair with sidecars went back to the time that he was just 6 years of age, when he first spied an old side-car in Nathalia – and he fell in love!

The Dusting sidecar circa late 1940s became a passion, and was added to the Ariel at a cost of around twice the dollars invested in the actual motorcycle itself.

Note that the outfit also boasts a “boot” for luggage at the rear of the carriage.

Another motor cycle being exhibited by Struan is a 1951 600 side-valve Ariel which he bought four years ago ex- South Australia for $3,000. .The machine had lingered on a rural property for some time before he invested a further $8,000 in rebuilding it to “concourse” condition.

British manufactured Ariel Motor cycles have been around since before 1913 and the brand still continued until 1967 following the company’s sale to BSA in 1951. The name Ariel survived elsewhere until 1999.

.. Ray Read