The rigid framed AJS Model 16M 350 cc single was developed in 1945 from the military Matchless G3/L World War II motorcycle. The company also produced an almost identical motorcycle under the Matchless name as the Matchless G3L with the only difference between the two was that the Matchless carried a magneto at the rear of the cylinder barrel, whereas the AJS magneto was at the front.
See also 1950 G3/L
Many AJS machines were very similar to those badged from Matchless 1940s-60s
The following is from Graces Guide:
1937 Matchless was incorporated into AMC, a new group formed by the Collier brothers.
1940 Production turned to war work and AMC concentrated on Matchless, with few AJS machines being built. Those models produced were shared, but using different badging.
Following World War II, AMC built AJS and Matchless motorcycles at Plumstead following the same format.
1946 A small batch of competition models was produced, with minimal design changes. AJS motorcycles were raced both on- and off-road.
1949 The range of road vehicles was increased, along with various competition models and this set the trend until 1952.
1953 to 1962 saw the introduction of many new models and a variety of design changes, with success both on and off the race-track.
1963 The range was pared down; and again in 1964.
1966 This was the last year of production in their old format as AMC was in financial trouble. When AMC failed, the marque was bought by Manganese Bronze Holdings, who formed the Norton Villiers group.
1967 The AJS 33, model CSR, was produced under new ownership until 1967. Certain Matchless models were built until 1969.
1969 Production ceased and the factory was demolished, but both names survived.
AJS Two-Strokes were motorcycles produced from 1967 to 1973. They have been produced again since 1987.
1967 The name was revived by Norton Villiers, who produced a couple of two-stroke competition machines.
1973 These bikes were no longer offered in kit form - as had been the case in the past. The company was sold to Fluff Brown who created the FB-AJS range, which later reverted to the original name of AJS.
1974-1981 FB-AJS models were built in the image of the older AJS machines. The firm continued to thrive on the back of the nostalgia boom.
1978 250cc AJS Scrambler, Starmaker engine.
1991 onwards. Replicas of the early-1960s Cotton models were produced.
Sources: Graces Guide, et al
See also Simon's AJS 18S Archive
If you have a query about about this page, or have some information to add, please contact us