Exeter, United Kingdom
Arthur John Wheaton
AJW Motorcycles Ltd was a British motorcycle manufacturer, established in Exeter in 1928. The last AJW motorcycle produced was the 125 cc Fox Cub in 1953, after which AJW began importing Italian two-stroke Wolfhound motorcycles with AJW badges. They also produced bikes in the 1970s such as the "Champion", the "Whippet", the "Pointer" and the "Collie". These were all rebadged Italian models. They ceased trading in 1981.
AJW Motorcycles Wikipedia
Founded by Arthur John Wheaton, (known as Jack) in 1926, using his initials AJW, the company began production in the workshop of the family printing works in Friernhay Street Exeter. Initially using 496 cc single-cylinder engines from MAG of Switzerland and a 996 cc V-twin British Anzani engine, as well as more traditional and well-proven overhead-valve JAP engines. The frames were from Brough Superior. Launched at the Olympia Show in 1928 the AJW Super Four had an Anzani water-cooled engine but was never produced.
The best-known AJW motorcycles were the Grey Fox and the Red Panther but the company also produced a range of bikes with names including the Silver Fox, Silver Vixen, the Vixen, Flying Vixen, Flying Fox (with a Rudge Ulster engine) and the Speed Fox.
AJW motorcycles were well-made but expensive "top of the range" machines; the 996 cc AJW Summit was capable of 100 mph (160 km/h). With a torpedo-shaped fuel tank and full duplex tubular loop frame, the engine had twin-port heads and double exhaust pipes down each side. Enthusiast owners included Brooklands racing champions such as Claude Temple and Joe Wright.
Production was limited so they became fairly exclusive, with just 250 motorcycles produced in their best year. The company survived the Great Depression of the 1930s but the Anzani powered V-twin was discontinued in 1931. Three JAP-engined models were produced in 1934 and 1935 but in 1937 the business was sold and production stopped completely for the duration of the Second World War. After the war it changed hands again, firstly to Jack Ball of Bournemouth and then to a dealer in Wimborne, Dorset. The last AJW motorcycle produced was the 125 cc Fox Cub in 1953, after which JAP engines were no longer available. The 48 cc Fox Cub was sold until 1964, when AJW became an importer of 500 cc and 125 cc Italian two-stroke Wolfhound motorcycles with AJW branding. The company ceased trading in 1981.