AJS and Matchless Owners Club Limited

AJS & Matchless Owners Club

A Potted history of the AJS & Matchless Owners Club Ltd.

A letter written by John Trant was published in the Motor Cycling magazine dated January 17th 1952. In this letter John asked if there was a Club for owners of AMC machines in the London area? He suggested that if there was not such a Club, then one should be started and interested AMC owners were asked to contact him at his home address.

From the replies he received a small group of enthusiasts met at the Ace Café on the North Circular Road, North London in late January 1952. An ad hoc committee was formed to get things running and within a short space of time a new meeting place had to be found since the numbers of enthusiasts turning up were too many for the space available at The Ace. The new venue was a pub in Greenford, but increasing numbers meant another change to a pub in Putney, South London.

Things moved quickly and during 1953/4 Club sections existed in Essex, West Hertfordshire, Kent, North London, Bristol and East Surrey with the Headquarters Branch being based in South East London.

In the early days of the Club, rallies were an important part of the events calendar. These were often two-day events with a fun and games gymkhana being the central theme. The first such rally was held in 1954 at a field owned by Raymond Way adjacent his house in Berkhampstead in Hertfordshire. Between 40 and 50 AMC motorcycles took part in the road run on that first rally, with members coming from many parts of the country. One couple, Mr and Mrs Alexander drove some 500 miles from Aberdeen in Scotland. They stopped overnight in Nottingham and after the rally they continued on down to the south coast of England to complete their holiday. It is not certain whether the journey was undertaken by motorcycle or car, but which ever form of transport they used it would have been quite a journey some 48 years ago.

The 1955 rally was held in the same venue with the 1956 rally moving to Tring in Hertfordshire. The "modern" rally was first run at Newlands Corner near Guildford, then Windsor and progressively expanded into the major events that we now know.

Today we have our beautifully presented Jampot magazine. In 1954 the first Club Journal was a loose leaf Newsheet. By 1955 this had become some 14 pages of hand written and Roneo’d copy (remember those machines?) known as "AMC Owners Club News".

A member in 1955 paid a joining fee of 7s 6d (37.5p), plus between 2s 6p (12.5p) and 7s 6p (37.5p) for membership, depending on the time of the year that membership was taken out.

Up until around 1963 the Club was called the AMC Owners Club. Following the AMC Group takeover of Norton, followed by the James and Francis Barnett two-stroke marques, there was a desire on the part of the membership to be seen as separate. With no disrespect intended, the Club was re-named and became the AJS & Matchless Owners Club.

Many of the early members are still active and have an interest in the Club today and their knowledge and enthusiasm for all things AJS & Matchless has not reduced with the years. If we can get them to expand on these short words through the medium of The Jampot, we can all share in their experiences.

From those early days our Club has carried on expanding and now has some 4,200 plus members on a worldwide basis. The Club has its own Administration and Stores building with one of the best "One-Make" Owners Club spares scheme – AMOC Parts & Services and dedicated members who will come forward to run and manage the Club into the future.

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