AJW Motorcycles :: History
Chapter 19

Chinwood Ltd

In February 1977 two directors from the old A.J.W. Motorcycles Ltd formed yet another company to build motorcycles under the A.J.W. name.

The new company was called CHINWOOD LTD and A.J.W MOTORCYCLES LTD  became part of that company.   Chinwood had started a small factory at 80a Weyhill Road, Andover, Hampshire.

On July 20th 1977 MOTOR CYCLE NEWS announced a new British motor cycle should be on the market soon from A.J.W. the Andover company which has been keeping the flag flying for more then 50 years.

Fox Cub

1977 Fox Cub

The Fox Cub is a 50cc single speed moped with an all British frame and cycle parts and the well proven Italian Minarelli motor,

The ultra lightweight machine  weighs in at a mere 110Ib, features British made suspension on both front and rear and comes in the company’s own bright colour, ‘Andover Red’.

Price, when the Fox Cub is available will be around £221 with a delivery charge of £7. The machine features sleek tank and seat styling and its racy appearance should make it popular among the sixteeners.

Brief Specification.

Frame   A.J.W. design British made from strong, square section steel tube.

Suspension  A.J.W. design British made heavy duty Telescopic front forks and swinging arm rear with two suspension units.

Engine   World famous Minarelli V1 50cc two-stroke with automatic clutch running in oil bath, auto-return choke, horizontally disposed and fan cooled.  Available in pedal and kick start versions.

Handlebars    British made, quality chrome plated steel tube.

Brakes 3 ½ in  diameter front and rear, operated by handlebar levers and British made transmission cables.

Wheels  Chrome plated rims with heavy gauge spokes built on new type conical alloy hubs.

Tyres  17in x 2 ¼in  ‘Nylon S’ with studded tread pattern.

Seat   Deep foam covered by hard wearing vinyl cloth.

Tank  5 pints capacity steel tank enclosed by lockable toolbox/parcel stow.

Electrics  18 watts generator with British made lamps and switches and 6 volt horn.

Accessories   Speedometer, electric horn, lockable parcel/tool box, centre stand, deep section front mudguard.

Weight   Kerbside weight with full tank 110 Ibs.

Finish  Black stove-enamelled frame and front forks with colour impregnated glass fibre enclosure panels and mudguards.

Colours  Red. White, Blue, Golden Yellow and British Racing Green.

1977 Fox Cub

The 1977 Fox Cub (above) was the last machine to bear the A.J.W. name.

Unfortunately it is not known how many Fox Cubs were made, but the company was short-lived – only fifteen months from its formation to its closure.

On Monday 8th May 1978 in the Chancery Division of the Companies Court, Mr Justice Oliver directed that Chinwood Ltd be wound up and ordered that one of the Official Receivers attached to that Court be constituted Provisional Liquidator of the affairs of the said Company.  This was upon the petition of R V Franklin Engineering Ltd. Chertsey. Surrey. (probably a supplier) no one appeared  for or on behalf of Chinwood Ltd.

In the High Court on December 9th 1983 Chinwood Ltd was granted the release of J A Sell as liquidator of the Company.

And so after fifty-two years of motorcycle production the A.J.W. name would be seen no more on new machines.  Who could have imagined that the company, started as a hobby by Arthur John Wheaton at the rear of his family’s printing works in Exeter back in 1926, would have survived all those years.

It was John Wheaton’s innovation and his development of new and original ideas that enabled his company to survive, with developments such as the big Anzani V twins engines (the first to be fitted into motorcycles), the Speedo drive built into the front wheel hub, the Speedo meter fitted into the head lamp and the projects that did not quite reach fruition (e.g. the speedway machine from the late thirties) and the Super Four project with  all its innovation that did not quite succeed.

Other developments were the many different frames that he designed and built to carry the Anzani and J.A.P. engines, Super Four and the Two–strokes of 1931.  And finally the Flying Fox range of 1931 to 1938, with three different frame designs that carried the Python and JAP and Stevens and again Villiers Two-stroke engines and frames for 1939.

The Company still continued when Jack Ball acquired A.J.W. in spite of all the problems he had after the war with Government  restrictions.  After he had acquired a full order book, the part that most damaged his company was an unreliable engine supplier.  Even so his business progressed with Speedway machines and then the Grey Fox with some original ideas.

Importation of Italian lightweights kept the business going with two Company name changes until 1977 completing a chequered history.

In March 2003 I acquired A.J.W. MOTORCYCLES LTD, that old company name that has been through so much.   One could say it has gone full circle even if the link is distant.

Grey Fox Grey Fox Grey Fox