The history of AJS Motorcycles

AJS (A J Stevens & Co) was founded by Harry, George, Jack and Joe Stevens on 14 November 1909.  Harry set about designing the first two machines which were called model A and model B.  Model A was the cheaeper machine and was fitted with a 2.5hp single cylinder, side valve engine and a direct belt drive.

The new machines appeared at the 1910 cycle show at Olympia, London along with a one off 3.5hp V Twin chain drive machine.  Fame followed, as the machines were very successful in endurance races and the Isle of Man TT races.

1912 saw the launch of the model D 5hp V twin, which in 1913 was given a 6hp V twin engine and a sidecar version was introduced.

A new 2.75hp sports machine was developed for the 1914 Isle of Man TT and it proved to be successful, as the five machines that AJS entered came 1st, 2nd, 4th, 6th and 29th in the Junior TT race, with a record speed of 45.58 mph.

On 3 November 1916, the Ministry of Munitions prohibited the production of motorcycles except for military use and AJS had to cease production of its current products.  In 1917, the Ministry received an order from Russia for large numbers of motorcycles to equip its armed forces and AJS received an order for 1100 6hp military machines.

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Eddie Stobart by Jake (aged 5)

Hi my name is Jake and I am 5 years old. I was asked to write a blog for Classic Motor history by my great auntie Dawn.  My favourite thing to do is spot Eddie Stobart trucks where ever I go! So this is all about Eddie Stobart’s, my mum has helped me write this so thanks mum!!

Stobart Group Ltd is a large multi-modal logistics company which is a haulage firm that operates in the U.K, Ireland and Belgium. Its head offices are based in Cumbria,Carlisle and Warrington.

Started by “steady” Eddie Stobart in the 1950’s as a agricultural business in Cumbria,it was then turned into Eddie Stobart Ltd in November 1970 as a haulage firm,then was passed to his son Edward Stobart.

Edward Stobart stepped down from the firm in 2003 now represented by William Stobart,Edward’s brother.  William then went into partnership with his brother in law Andrew Tinkler and is part of the Irlam family.

Eddie Stobart has had a long tradition of giving its trucks female names.The first four trucks owned by Eddie Stobart were named after model “Twiggy” and singers “Tammy” Wynette “Dolly” Parton and “Suzi” Quatro, who I have no idea who they are!!!
Names are now chosen with connection to the drivers and long standing employee’s,this has also been expanded to their sponsored sports cars and Stobart Rail trains “Eddie the Engine”.

In celebration of 20 years of Transformers Stobart named a MAN tractor “Optimus Prime” and a Volvo FH12 was christened “Valentino” after Valentino Rossi.  Members of Stobart Members Club can also request a name providing it is not already in use,but there is a 3 year waiting list.

Other parts of the Stobart Group are Biomass which was formed in 2010 when Stobart Group brought 50% of A.W Jenkinson Biomass Ltd.

Stobart Members Club was formed which sells model lorries,Stobart branded clothes,toys and even bedding sets.

Stobart Air is based at Carlisle Lake District Airport and London Southend Airport.

Stobart Rail carries out railway works for Network Rail,and Stobart Rail Freight partnered to D.B Schenker Rail, a service operated by D.R.S started in November 2008 from Inverness southwards carrying containers for Tesco,all the containers carry the “Stobart Rail” or “Tesco” branding.

I became interested in Eddie Stobart trucks when in 2010 Channel 5 aired the show “Eddie Stobart: Trucks and Trailers covering all the elements of the business and some of the drivers that have appeared on the show have become small time celebrities, my favourite is Mark Dixon who I was lucky enough to meet and get his autograph at Peterborough Truckfest in May this year.

I hope you all enjoy reading my blog, Thankyou

Jake Aged 5

History of Velocette

The Velocette was built by a family of motorcyclists and this showed through the design and quality of the manufacturing.

That family was the Goodman’s, and three generations were to control the Hall Green firm over the years.  In the early 1920s, they realised that in order to grow as a company, they needed a new machine of advanced specification and developed an overhead camshaft 350cc engine, known as the K series, which was introduced in 1925.

By 1930 they had made their name in the TT with Junior wins in 1926, 1928 and 1929 using the OHC engine.  They also introduced four speed gearboxes in 1933 for the KSS and KTS models, however, there was a big gap between the small two stroe and the sports camshaft models.

To fill that gap, they experimented with a side valve 350cc which lacked power but they then came up with another classic, the 248cc MOV.

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History of Mack Trucks

America has always had a love affair with automobiles, and in the early 1900s, trucks were an afterthought and were being assembled using surplus car parts.  John Mack changed this.

In 1893, John and his brother Augustus purchased a small carriage and wagon building firm in Brocklyn.  In 1900, they opened their first bus manufacturing plant and this venture paid off when the brothers introduced their first successful vehicle, a 40hp, 20 seat, passenger bus. 

The prototype “Old Number 1″ was so successful that other orders soon followed.  The Mack’s three other brothers joined in the formation of the Mack Brothers Company and by 1911, they were the premier manufacturer of heavy duty trucks making 600 units a year.

For this publication and others please click here.