Cover Bikes

1939 AJS Model 39/26

June 30, 2009
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Owner: Jim and Joan Vandergriff (Circle V Garage)
City/State: Linwood, Kansas
Web Site:'
This beautiful 1939 AJS typifies the “Golden Age” of pre-war British motorcycling. From the girder forks to the single Twin Port 347 cc O.H.V. engine and three-speed gearbox, this motorcycle is a true work of art. This bike is as it was manufactured and sold by AJS, and Jim and Joan even have the original paperwork and tool kit for their bike!

For those of you unfamiliar with AJS, I'll give you a brief history lesson on this very interesting company and their motorcycles. A J Stevens & Co (AJS) was founded in 1909 in Wolverhampton, England. This family-owned business unveiled their first motorcycle in 1911, which was powered by a two-speed 292 cc side-valve engine. That same year Albert John ('Jack') Stevens crossed the finish line in 15th place in the 1911 Isle of Man Tourist Trophy Junior 350cc Race. Although a 15th place finish wasn't overly impressive, from 1909-1931 AJS held and impressive 117 motorcycle world records. In case you're not up on your geography, Isle of Man is one of the British Isles that is located in the Irish Sea and continues to host the oldest motorcycle racing circuit that is still in use today.
From 1911-1931 Albert John Stevens headed the company's design office, Harry Stevens held the position of engineer, George Stevens was in charge of sales and Joe Stevens Jr. managed production. In 1931 AJS went bankrupt and their motorcycle assets were sold to Matchless. From 1931-1969 the AJS name continued to be used by Matchless, Associated Motorcycles and Norton-Villiers. In 1974 the name was resold and is still used today on lightweight, two stroke scramblers and small capacity cruisers.

By Mike Schweder

Published in Cover Bikes