HISTORY OF THE MARQUE
AJS Four of the five Stevens brothers (sons of a blacksmith) produced their first motorcycle in 1897 using a proprietary engine. In 1910 to protect the existing name of their engines, it was thought necessary to introduce a new name for their motorcycles. After much deliberation, they chose to use initials only, and as only one brother, Jack, had two Christian names (Albert John), the new marque was christened A.J.S. Up until the take-over by Colliers in 1931 they produced a wide range of machines, some of which gained distinction in the TT. By 1930 the company held 117 world records but was in financial trouble. After 1931 the only true AJS’s were the racing 7R’s, Porcupines and the AJS Four.
Matchless was the trade name of Collier & Sons who originally produced pedal cycles in the late 19th century. The first motorcycle was produced in 1912 and like AJS and other manufacturers they offered a wide range of motorcycles to the public. After the take-over of AJS there was a move to conformity between the two marques. In 1953 the Clubman range of 350cc and 500cc singles was produced, which was the basic stock of the post-war AMC singles we know so well.
AMC In 1938 Associated Motorcycles (AMC) were formed and eventually encompassed the marques of AJS, Matchless, Norton, Francis Barnett, and James. Post-war landmarks start with the production of 350cc and 500cc singles, developed from the legendary war-time Matchless G3 produced for the Army. From 1946 competition models of the singles were produced which gave the company some memorable wins.
The first 500 twin was produced In 1949, later to be joined by a 550cc.(1954), 600cc.(1956), 650cc. (1959) and 750cc. (1963) twin . On the racing circuits AMC were represented by the Porcupine (500cc forward facing parallel twin), the 7R (350cc o.h.c. single), the G50 (500cc Matchless variant of the 7R) and the G45 (500cc vertical twin).
The 350cc and 500cc singles were supplied in various forms as ‘Touring’ , ‘Competition’ and ‘Race’ bikes. In 1959 the model range was joined with a 600cc single known as the Typhoon.
In 1958 the range was joined by the 250cc and in 1960 by the 350cc lightweight series of singles.
In 1966 AMC went bankrupt and were taken over by Manganese Bronze Holdings, who formed Norton-Villiers, to take over operations. Four-stroke production ceased within a couple of years. Although the two-stroke trials and scrambles machines are still manufactured today under the AJS banner, the well-known four-stroke models became part of history. The Club is here to continue and preserve that history.