1927 Indian Motorcycle Unrestored -Joint entry number 14 Greg Stevens & Christine Stevens
Among the finest machines ever built, the Indian – within a decade of its’ birth in 1901 – was achieving 100 mph speeds and setting speed and distance records.
The Indian revolutionized law enforcement when, in New York City in 1905, the New York Police Department abandoned their bicycles for the new Indians, initializing the birth of the motorcycle cop.
The founder of the Indian Motorcycle Company was George M. Hendee, one of the greatest bicycle racers of all time, and winner of an astounding 302 of 309 races in which he was a competitor. Partnering with engineering whiz Oscar Hedstrom, the duo built the Indian Motorcycle Company into the world’s largest manufacturer of its kind by its twelfth year of operation.
In 1926, the company acquired the assets of a filing competitor, Ace Motorcycle. Those assets included the right to manufacture and add to Indian’s product line the fantastic four-cylinder motorcycle that was Ace’s premier product. Renamed the “Indian Four”, the machine was successfully marketed to police departments and the sporting public.
The 101 Scout Model, introduced in 1928, was powered by the Scout V-Twin. The machine’s brisk acceleration, speed and road responsiveness soon made it the cycle of choice for stunt riders.
The Indian Motorcycle Company’s half-century run finally ended in 1953. Despite continuous orders of cycles by the New York Police Department, profit margins were too low to sustain the company’s continuation.
1952 AJS Motorcycle
One of the earliest motorcycle manufacturers in the UK was the Matchless Motorcycle Company. Founded in 1899, the firm enjoyed immediate success. Much valued publicity was gained for the firm with brothers Harry and Charley Collier’s racing success, which emphasized the speed, power and reliability of the Matchless machines.
In 1931, Matchless purchased rival AJS and in 1938, they purchased Sunbeam. All three companies were combined as Associated Motorcycles (AMC). By mid-century, Matchless and AJS Motorcycles were virtually the same machine which includes parallel 500 and 600 cc Twins. The 1952 AJS and the Matchless Model G9 of the same year were nearly identical with the exception of the name plate. Powered by a 500 cc Twin Engine, the AJS Model 18’s and the Matchless G9 were practically the same machine.
Matchless produced G3 and G3L Models for the armed forces during WWII. After the war, a great number of these machines became available to the public, providing a welcome utilitarian source of transportation during a time of scarce availability and high cost of petrol.
The AJS 1952 7R3 Model is one of the rarest of motorcycles since only four were built for the AJS Works Team. The machines were revamped two years later, fitted with Pannier fuel tanks and featuring a lower frame. Similarly the 1952 Matchless G80 and the 1952 AJS Model 18 four-stroke pushrod singles were the same machines sans name plates.
Made in the same facility, the forward positioning of the magnetos relative to the cylinder was the same on the Matchless and AJS Models. The only apparent difference was in the style covers.
1919 AJS OUTFIT Display Vehicle Owned by Merv Kroll
AJS, a turn of the century producer of superb motorcycles and eventually well-engineered motor cars was a family-owned enterprise started by Joe Stevens from a small shop in Wolverhampton. Originally, Stevens was an all-around metal worker but together with his four sons, switched to motorcycle production in 1909 under the AJS logo. AJS was actually derived from the initials of one of the four brothers – Albert John Stevens.
(Left) Lucasas headlight No 462
Careful design and engineering resulted in fast, powerful machines that consistently finished at the top of their class in racing events. The success of AJS Motorcycles soon led to the production of side cars and by 1919, the company was one of the world’s largest manufacturers of side cars.
The most luxurious of AJS side cars was produced after the end of World War I. In 1919, AJS debuted the deluxe Model “D” Outfit. Leather upholstered and spacious, the ride was equally superb. Excellent suspension was provided by large “cee” type springs in the front and in the back. A tool locker was positioned beneath the spare wheel to the rear. The spare wheel could be utilized for the side car or the motorcycle.
Additionally, the side car’s weatherproofing consisted of a folding hood and cover with side curtains and apron. The V-Twin manufactured for side car use began production immediately after the first World War. The engine was of Matchless Company manufacture and in 1931, Matchless purchased AJS. Seven years later, Matchless purchases Sunbeam and the three companies were then combined as Associated Motorcycles.