Unique collection of AJW motorcycles heads to Cumbria
An incredibly rare collection of AJW motorcycles from the 1920s and 30s has taken pride of place at the Lakeland Motor Museum. Production of these exclusive top-of-the-range machines was extremely limited, with just a handful now on display across the world.
AJW was founded by Alfred (John) Wheaton in 1926 and was a tiny enterprise, rarely producing more than 150 motorcycles a year. The Lakeland Motor Museum’s new additions date from 1928 to 1934 - John Wheaton’s most successful period in business.
The collection includes a 1934 AJW Flying Vixen and a 1933 AJW Flying Fox, which had been completely dismantled and was tracked down in the Netherlands. It later underwent an 18 month restoration project to bring it back to its original state.
Other highlights include a 1934 AJW Red Fox Racer, which has a potent engine originally supplied to HRD to race at the 1934 Isle of Man TT. Meanwhile, a 1928 AJW with a Blackburne engine was an early experimental version, probably created to test whether the firm could manufacture machines using single cylinder engines.
Manager of the Lakeland Motor Museum, Chris Lowe, “I must admit, I had never seen an AJW close-up before – they really are that rare! It’s fascinating to see different engineering solutions from the early part of the 20th century and we’re indebted to the Wheaton family for allowing us to bring these rarely-seen machines to the Museum for others to enjoy.”
The six AJWs unveiled at the Museum brings the total number of motorbikes on show at the popular Lakeland attraction to almost 90. That ranges from a collection of the legendary Vincent motorcycles - spanning the 1930s, 40s and 50s – to a display of racing superbikes on loan from Isle of Man TT hero John McGuinness, otherwise known as ‘the Morecambe Missile’.