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Military 1941 AJS 350

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I have a 1941 AJS 350 (I know it's also a Matchless depending)

The frame and engine and most other parts are correct to 1941 but it's on a Q plate as it was used for VMCC racing a few years ago.

I would like to find it's history so I can get it back into standard trim (I think it's RAF issue as frame is black and never been painted and this is important!! has NO frame serial number as with most war bikes)

If we could hunt it down on engine number ???

All ideas and help welcome.

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I have a 1941 AJS 350 (I know it's also a Matchless depending)

The frame and engine and most other parts are correct to 1941 but it's on a Q plate as it was used for VMCC racing a few years ago.

I would like to find it's history so I can get it back into standard trim (I think it's RAF issue as frame is black and never been painted and this is important!! has NO frame serial number as with most war bikes)

If we could hunt it down on engine number ???

All ideas and help welcome.

 

This is a bit of a puzzle, according to the book 'British Forces Motorcycles' by Chris Orchard & Steve Madden, only 1 AJS 350, a model 26 was supplied to the war office during WW2 and that was on 26th of May 1940. Unfortunately the engine number is not listed, but it was supplied on Contract C7353 and given the W.D. Number 4191751.

I will be seeing Chris Orchard in a couple of weeks time, and I will ask him if he has any more information as he is currently working on an updated version of his book.

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This is a bit of a puzzle, according to the book 'British Forces Motorcycles' by Chris Orchard & Steve Madden, only 1 AJS 350, a model 26 was supplied to the war office during WW2 and that was on 26th of May 1940. Unfortunately the engine number is not listed, but it was supplied on Contract C7353 and given the W.D. Number 4191751.

I will be seeing Chris Orchard in a couple of weeks time, and I will ask him if he has any more information as he is currently working on an updated version of his book.

 

I have all the numbers and would gladly pass them on to anyone that could help, not sure about putting on the forum though?

Chris

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There where really no AJS's supplied under WO contracts, but quite a lot of impressed civy AJ's. (3 have been through my hands). I have the parts list with frame/eng numbers. If you want to PM me your numbers I'll have a look. The black colour would have no bearing on RAF. Ron

 

PS. not sure what you mean about "No frame serial number" They all had frame numbers from the factories.

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Edited by Ron

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There where really no AJS's supplied under WO contracts, but quite a lot of impressed civy AJ's. (3 have been through my hands). I have the parts list with frame/eng numbers. If you want to PM me your numbers I'll have a look. The black colour would have no bearing on RAF. Ron

 

PS. not sure what you mean about "No frame serial number" They all had frame numbers from the factories.

 

 

Sent you a private message but can't see that it has sent, let me know if you don't get it.

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Had many people including club say that the frame MUST have a number, ok here's the pictures of every single number on the frame. There is A3 on one side of the seat post and nothing at all the other side.

We think it's a 1941 Matchless "part number" not sure if the same was used by AJS, it has brackets at the back that designate it as military... I am told.

Trust me, you know more than me :) but I would really like to find what this bike really was so I can get it back to that for it's 75th birthday this year.

Thanks

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Yes got the PM. I'm sure I can see where a frame number has been sanded off on the N/S headstock. Ron

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I see what you are looking at but there is nothing to see on the bike but I have asked Neil to have a close look. It's not been painted and no scrape marks there.

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It looks like a marriage between a wartime WDG3L frame and a post-war AJS engine. It is certainly lacking most of the tinware and ancillaries fitted to a wartime bike. The engine numbers look mucked about with. If this is right, you would have a lot of work (and money) to put it into reasonable WD trim and maybe better to just enjoy it as it is as a nice bike to ride.

Edited by matchlesswdg3

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The engine number is stamped 41 (1941). What do you mean by fins? Is it the support webs around the drive side main bearings?

 

Ron

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Judging by the amount of filing that has gone on around the headstock, it might be reasonable to assume that the bike did a stint as a number plate dealer's mule, back in the days when any old log book could be used to retain a number.

 

Frames produced as spare parts (which were frequently an extra 10% of contract total) don't seem to have been numbered but should have been stamped with the number of the frame which they were replacing. This one was clearly a G3L part.

 

There is no evidence of 1941 Model AJSs being produced and it would seem unlikely that Matchless as the senior partner in AMC would have been allowed to complicate production lines and service maintenance by badge engineering which included engine differences. The Ministry of Supply ledgers exist. We can be pretty certain what was delivered outside of 'impressed' models.

 

Ferg and Ron both have long experience in looking at WD motorcycle numbers and it looks to me too as if the engine number has been altered. In my view, it started life as 41/G3L and has been altered as someone preferred the AJS option (or had an AJS logbook handy). The timing chest is clearly AJS but any or all of the parts could have been replaced.

 

'Q' plates are very difficult to have removed and there is a reason why this bike has one. It is a vehicle of indeterminate age and origin...Any attempt to get it sorted now that things are even tighter would probably result in a visit from a man with a grinder and an insistence that a new DVLA 17-digit VIN be stamped on the chassis.

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I guess the engine could be from a pre-war AJS Model 26 or more likely from a 1946-ish Model 16 but I concur that it is highly unlikely that the engine and frame were ever united as a WD bike. As I said, apart from that, pretty much all the ancillaries and tinware are not WD pattern. Main thing is that these rigid frame AMC machines are really nice to ride and there is nothing wrong with a nice "special" like this. I think if it was my bike, I would maybe tweak it a bit to a classic trials type configuration, avoiding the naff trick of painting the barrel to make it look like it's alloy! Enjoy it!

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Don't mind a bit of trials.... interesting on a rigid but I bounce well even if the bike wont

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Coincidentally I have been talking to another guy from Yeovil who also thought he had a military AJS. However, his has all the correct Matchless numbers. Someone has simply fitted an AJS timing cover and mounted the mag at the front. The bike was painted black over the army green and AJS stickers attached to the tank.

 

At first he was disappointed by the news, but now he's got excited about owning a WD bike and has already re-painted it to military spec. I'm also helping to research his late Dad's old 7th Somerset Light Infantry markings (43rd Wessex div) so that he can pay tribute in June this year. I believe he'll be looking for the correct timing side at some point.

 

Ron

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The pictures may not be ideal, it's in at Neil's workshop and he confirms there is no frame serial number and no numbers have been removed. Yes the engine numbers are "interesting"

One thing I did not post before is this number which is very neat and on the front of the NS crankcase, we think it's probably an RAF stock in number. I have called a few places and they are going to look into it, long shot be we hope the 56 spaced at the end could be 56 Sqn who are now at RAF Waddington very near me but in 1941 were flying Huricanes out of North Weald.

 

Number is 398MS8 56

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This type of stamping is quite common on ex-WD engines that have been rebuilt.

 

'398' will be a workshop identification number - usually prefixed 'B' if a Base Workshop.

 

'MS' indicates Ministry of Supply.

 

8 56 are month and year of the rebuild.

 

In effect, this information stamped directly on crankcases mirrors that found on the brass machine rebuild plates.

 

A rebuild as late as 1956 almost certainly indicates that it was a G3 Matchless at the time. Apart from M20s and possibly a few 16Hs, everything else from the 1940s had been long since struck off.

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Thank you for the input, good to know the bike was in use from 1941 to 1956 at least.

I have contacted Geoff Fletcher who is apparently "The Man" for finding a service reg number then the RAF museum can help.

Looks like there is a good chance of finding the history and getting it restored

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I expect that you're right. Was it a night-fighter squadron ? That could explain the black frame. That flat on the headstock might be where they clamped on the Serrate radar detector.

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That's a strange coincidence as also seen it on e bay and was going to ask the forum for advice as didn't think there were any AJS WD bikes and the pictures are identical?,not keen on Q plates (as once you poke the bear you never know where you will end up) and have run into dvla bureaucracy before 😀😀😀

That said it is a nice bike do you think it could be turned into a AFS replica?

Simon

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