1913 350cc AJS Put to Rest in New Gallery


Billy Jones with his 350cc AJS, ridden in the Junior TT of 1914

It’s not every day that you see a blast from the past in such impressive shape as this one.

Built by British manufacturer A.J. Stevens & co. of Wolverhampton, the 1913 AJS was one of five machines from AJS to be raced in the 1914 Junior TT – and is considered the only model to have survived. 

a side view of the Junior TT 1914 AJS model, ridden by Billy Jones

Back then, the AJS motorcycles committed to the 1914 Junior TT had caused a bit of a buzz. The company had combined a two-speed countershaft gearbox with a double primary-chain drive and dog clutch to give four speeds – a novelty for the time and capable of propelling the rider up to 70mph (113 km/h).

Here’s a timeline picture of the 1914 Junior TT AJS beauties with their riders – William/Bill/Billy Jones rode the AJS of this article.

AJS team for 1914 Junior Isle of Man TT
It was AJS’s year at the TT, with four of their four-speeders in the top six of the Junior. Left to right: Jack Stevens, Billy Heaton, Harry Stevens, Cyril Williams, George Stevens, Eric Williams, Joe Stevens junior, and Bert Haddock. Eric Williams took 1st place, Cyril Williams was 2nd with Bill Jones 4th, Bert Haddock 6th, and Billy Heaton 29th.

According to a report from BBC, the 1913 AJS was last ridden in 1959 in a parade lap – and is now one of only a handful left from the period.

Riding motorcycles back then was an entirely different ball game. According to Social history curator Matthew Richardson, the era was “one of the most interesting in the island’s motorsport history…Riders were true pioneers, with no real protective equipment, primitive brakes, and riding on roads consisting in many places of little more than loose gravel or rutted cart tracks…This 1913 AJS captures the spirit of that era perfectly.”

And now, it’s time to put the bike to rest. 

Having remained in private ownership until recently, the bike has already seen the halls of museums, having been temporarily displayed in the Montagu Motor Museum and Stanford Hall Motorcycle Museum. Now the 1913 350cc AJS will be displayed in a special gallery to commemorate the rich heritage of the times.

 

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