1940 A.J.S. Model 2A
Registration no. Not Registered
Frame no. 936
Engine no. 40/2A 2798
Ill timed diversification that coincided with the post-Wall Street Crash Depression would result in the sad demise of A J Stevens Ltd, which had been manufacturing motorcycles of high quality at its Wolverhampton works since 1911. AJS was taken over by Matchless in 1931 and production shifted to the latter's factory in Woolwich, South London. From then onwards the two marques' ranges became increasingly similar, using the same engines, gearboxes and other major components. Traditionally designated 'Model 2', AJS's top-of-the-range v-twin continued in its Wolverhampton-built form for the next season before being replaced in July 1932 by a Matchless Model X-engined equivalent. Intended primarily for sidecar duty, the newcomer became available to 'export' specification during 1933 complete with American-style foot-operated clutch, left-side gear lever and swept-back handlebars. The Model 2 continued to be available in domestic and export forms until 1939 and was included in the catalogue for 1940. It did not reappear after the War's end.
As soon as war was declared on 1st September 1939, Britain's War Office commandeered all unsold civilian motorcycles for redistribution to the Armed Forces. Production of 1940 models would have been ongoing for only a couple of weeks and survivors of any kind are exceedingly rare.
One of the last Model 2As to be completed before the cessation of civilian production, this export-specification example was previously owned by Harry Beanham, patron of the Vintage Motor Cycle Club of Australia (NSW) and a well known dealer, collector and enthusiast on the local scene. Mr. Beanham used to commute across the Sydney Harbour Bridge on this very motorcycle and had a clip for his toll coins mounted on it. He kept detailed notebooks documenting his use of the AJS and these have been carefully preserved with the machine. In 1998 the AJS was sold by Mr. Beanham's estate to the present owner and completely restored to concours standards. Believed to be the only 1940 Model 2A still surviving, the machine comes with an original 1939 AJS Sales Brochure and a letter from the AJS/Matchless Club authenticating the frame/engine numbers.
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