Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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AJS: 16M

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1953. AJS 16MS 350cc. Reg No: NOF 906.
1954. AJS 16MS 350cc. Reg No: MKM 147.
1954. AJS 16MS 350cc. Reg No: MKM 147.
1955. AJS 16MS 350cc. Reg No: KSV 273.
1957. AJS 16MS 350cc. Reg No: OUT 239.
1957. AJS 16MS 350cc. Reg No: OUT 239.

Note: This is a sub-section of AJS

The rigid framed AJS Model 16M 350 cc single was developed in 1945 from the military Matchless G3/L World War II motorcycle.

The company also produced an almost identical motorcycle under the Matchless name as the Matchless G3L with the only difference between the two was that the Matchless carried a magneto at the rear of the cylinder barrel, whereas the AJS magneto was at the front.

In 1953, the Model 16M was modernised with a dual seat replacing the saddle and rear pillion seat.

1956 The Burman gearbox was replaced with a new four speed unit of AMC's own design

1957 Improvements included replacement of the outdated generator with a crankshaft mounted Lucas alternator. The leaky pressed-steel primary drive cover was replaced with an alloy casing.

The Model 16 retained a rigid rear frame until 1949, when pivoted rear suspension controlled by hydraulically dampened spring units designed and made by Matchless became available. The difference was indicated by the S (for springer) designation - 16MS.

The rugged and reliable AJS Model 16 was ideal for the increasingly popular sport of motorcycle trials. Gaining a C (for competition) designation, modifications included upgrading the frame to a welded duplex tubular frame with an engine cradle to reduce weight and redesigned exhaust and footrests to improve ground clearance. In 1957 it was further redesigned to increase clearance from 7 to 10 inches.

In 1964 the AJS Model 16C was launched with a completely redesigned 348 cc engine in which the push-rods were housed in cast cylinder barrel 'tunnels'. The 16C also had a Norton-designed geared oil pump to improve lubrication.

To boost US sales the AMC marketing team rebranded the ageing export Model 16 with the new name 'The Sceptre' with new metal tank badges and steel flywheels instead of the old cast iron ones. The compression ratio was also raised to 9:1 and the competition also Norton designed geared oil pump was also fitted as standard.

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