Vintage transport weekend

By Alan Turner, 23 August 2013
Steve Elston and his totally original, award-winning AJS

For more than 50 years, the Bluebell Railway has been a leading pioneer in transport preservation. In August, the railway holds an annual Vintage Transport Weekend. This year's event took place near the beautifully-restored Horsted Keynes station, deep in the Sussex countryside...

The selection of motorcycles eligible for the 'Best in Show' award caused the judges some head-scratching, but it was finally bestowed on Steve Elston's 1919 AJS, a 750 sidevalve V-twin '6hp' model. He bought the bike completely by accident, as he went to see the vendor about another potential purchase and ended up doing a deal on that AJS and his intended purchase. Steve is the AJS's fourth owner and it came with an interesting amount of provenance.

Some £180 was paid for the bike when new and for many years it was attached to a sidecar. The Bonniksen speedometer was rarely allowed to move past the 20mph mark on the outfit's very occasional outings. When WW2 came, the bike was out of sight and out of use in a cellar, eventually emerging for limited use.

It remains totally original, although a previous owner, nervous about fuel quality, changed the original cast iron pistons to aluminium items.

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