AJS & Matchless Owners Club

East Suffolk Section

Brian D’s 1964 AJS model 18 500cc single

Having had a model 31 AJS 650cc twin since 1998 I became convinced that I also needed a single, the 500cc short stroke AJS.

One Tuesday evening the phone rang and it was our run captain, Dave Cook.  “Brian, are you still looking for a 500 short stroke AJ?  Well, if you are, there’s one on the club website, in Northampton.”

Dave gave me the phone number; I rang the seller, club fund promotion officer Tony Smith, and the next day Paul (Jim) Manning, Peter Nichols and I went off to Northampton to view and buy the bike, with much help from my two well-heeled friends in scraping together the cash at very short notice.

It turned out that the bike was one of those which Ernie Merryweather, owner of Northants Classic Motorcycles and long time club member, had repatriated from South Africa.  We brought it back to Suffolk and the section now had three 500cc short stroke singles.  The engine was rebuilt and the gearbox, clutch and cycle parts refurbished as necessary, with new tyres, indicators and some rewiring also fitted.

brian's bike at Hagley Jampot

I managed to find what is unquestionably the nearest possible equivalent to AJS polychromatic blue paint and this was beautifully applied for me by Peter Teager of Tunstall.

Off on the road next, and 90m.p.h.  on the clock!  The bike is a joy to ride and looks just as I had hoped, the only problem being a kink in the rear rim, which had to be replaced.

I won’t tell how much it cost as Celia might see this, but rosettes at both Kimbolton and Clent Hills Jampot Rallies helps to make it seem worthwhile.