Registration No: PXS 585
Chassis No: A404
Better known for its motorcycle production, AJS also produced cars and commercial vehicles. In 1927, AJS gained a contract to build bodies for the new Clyno 'Nine' Light series. Regretfully, two years later, Clyno went into liquidation, forcing AJS to produce its own light car. The AJS car was designed by Arthur G Booth, who also designed the original "Clyno Nine". The chassis was built by John Thompson Motor Pressings in Bilston and the car launched in August 1930, being well received by the motoring press, especially when exhibited at Olympia in October 1930. Offered in fabric four-door saloon, coachbuilt saloon, tourer, and bare chassis form, the initial sales were positive, particularly following the Olympia exhibition, but the car was expensive compared to the competition and in October 1931 the company became a victim of the depression, voluntarily entering liquidation. Some 1,000 cars were built under the AJS name, but the right to produce AJS cars passed to Willys-Overland Crossley in January 1932 with a further 300 cars manufactured before the company went into liquidation later in 1932.
Chassis number A404 was produced in rolling-chassis form in 1931, being purchased from AJS by Chamberlain, King, & Jones, the Birmingham distributor for AJS cars. Jensen brothers, bodybuilders in the early 1900s (and early formation of the well-renowned Jensen Motors Limited), were then paid, to design and build a suitable open four-seater Sports model. Registered new as ‘OJ 59’, chassis A404 was displayed at the 1932 London Motor Show, but unfortunately, with AJS entering administration in 1932, Jensen had to use other manufacturers to source alternative rolling chassis for their growing business. ‘A404’ is thus the only AJS-Jensen manufactured. Fitted with a 1086cc Coventry-Climax sidevalve four-cylinder engine, and originally with a three-speed transmission, it boasted a reported top speed of 60mph. Featuring a lowered chassis and deepened radiator (trademarks of Jensen Brothers creations), the panelling was aluminium over an ash frame, with upholstery trimmed in Connolly hide to match the paintwork.
Following the London Motor Show, the early history is regretfully unknown, but the accompanying RF60 logbook dated 1955 illustrates that the registration had been changed to ‘JW 161’ by this stage, and the AJS-Jensen was in the ownership of a H. B Russell Esq. of Newport. Passing through three further keepers through the late-1950s and early-1960s, the Tourer was purchased by the previous custodian in 1966. Discovered while attempting to locate surviving AJS cars by the vendor in 2013 (who was the then Chairman of the AJS Car Club), ‘JW 161’ was in a derelict state. Purchased by the vendor, he embarked upon a comprehensive restoration over a three-year period with around 2,800 hours spent on the restoration.
The engine was provided a complete overhaul by Gosney Engineering that included white-metal bearings in the con-rods and crank, and a rebore using new +0.030" pistons. The suspension bushes were all replaced, and a four-speed gearbox was sourced from a 1932 AJS and installed, increasing the AJS’ usability. Using enlarged pictures to provide dimensions and body curvature, a complete ash frame was constructed using hinges, door fittings, and screen from the original car, before being finished with an aluminium skin, 3mm foam rubber, and modern Rexine. The original rusted steel bonnet was replaced with a louvered aluminium copy with brass hinges.
One of only 38 remaining AJS cars known to the Club, since completion, outings having included an AJS Club tour of Ireland covering some 800 miles. Relinquished chairman duties after some 30 years to focus on competing and building hill-climb cars, the AJS-Jensen is now offered to the open market. A unique opportunity to acquire an interesting piece of British motoring history, chassis A404 is surely a great addition to any car collection or a fabulous talking point for any classic car enthusiast. An opportunity not to be missed!
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Auction: Imperial War Museum | Duxford, Cambridgeshire, 15th Mar, 2023
Established in 1993, H&H has sold some of the world's most significant motorcars and motorcycles over the past 30 years. Trusted by over 75,000 clients worldwide, we are the longest established auction house of our kind in Europe.
An auction of classic, collector and performance motorcars to be held at the iconic and visually stunning Imperial War Museum, Duxford. Cambridgeshire.
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Tuesday 14th March 2023, from 12pm to 6pm
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