AJW Motorcycles :: History
Chapter 7

The Last Of The Big V Twins

In January 1932 A.J.W. announced their new range of machines, again with an impressive line up of big twins, six in all. They were:

680cc ohv V Twin: £89

680 cc

Engine: J.A.P. 675cc

Ignition:  M L Magneto

Carburettor:  Amal.

Gear Box: Sturmey Archer, three speed.

Wheels: Dunlop rims. Enfield cush drive fitted in rear wheel.

Druid Forks.  OES triangulated girder with enclosed centre coil spring.

8.55 ohv V Twin. Long-stroke: £125

680 cc

Engine: J.A.P. 994cc

Ignition: M L Magneto

Carburettor:  Amal

Gearbox: Sturmey Archer three speed

Wheels: Dunlop rims. Enfield cush drive fitted in rear wheel.

Druid Forks: OES triangulated girder

with enclosed centre coil spring.

Frame: Special sprung rear end.

8.30 sv V Twin four-cam:  £105

8.30 sv V Twin four-cam

Engine: J.A.P. 980cc

Ignition: M L Magneto

Carburettor:  Amal

Gearbox: Sturmey Archer three   speed

Wheels: Dunlop rims. Enfield cush drive fitted in rear wheel.

Druid Forks: OES triangulated girder

with enclosed centre coil spring.

Sports four-port Anzani: £126

Engine: Anzani 996cc V Twin

Ignition: M L Magneto

Carburettor: Amal double float racing type.

Gear box: Sturmey Archer three speed.

Druid Forks: AES triangulated girder

with enclosed centre coil spring.

Four-port Special  racing Anzani £170

 Sports four-port Anzani

Engine: Anzani racing 996cc V Twin

Ignition: M L Magneto

Carburettor: Amal double float    chamber racing type.

Gear box: Jardine 4-speed

Druid  HRT Triple girder forks.

This was to be the last year that this range of big V Twins would be available. Sales by now were down to a trickle, mostly to special order only. Some machines had been in continuous production with modifications starting in 1927 and running right through to the end of 1932. The total number built in that time is unknown, but John built 20 machines in 1927, that could suggest 120 machines. Unfortunately no records were kept. The factory record book did not start until 1930 and then it only showed the two-strokes and later all the Flying Fox range.

Only two of the Big V machines are know to have survived at the time of writing. One Anzani engined machine in the U K and the other, J.A.P. engined, in the Prague area.

Also in their last year of production were all four of the A.J.W. Villiers engine two-stroke range.

They were:

  • Black Fox 172cc £37
  • Black Fox 195cc £37 10s
  • Silver Fox 247cc £38
  • Silver Fox 346cc £39

Villiers engine two-stroke

John Wheaton said that although his two-strokes did sell quite well it became obvious that the demand was not as high as he had hoped.

The Printing Works in Exeter as it was in 1932 showing the A.J.W. plant to its left  (arrowed).

Printing works 1932

In 1931 the introduction of the Flying Fox, which John described as ‘really quite a good motor cycle’, attracted a lot of attention, and sold very well indeed. In fact, the sales quite exceeded his wildest expectations. It handled well and received good press reports. By  January 1932  the A.J.W. works were selling all the Flying Foxes they could make.

John had spent considerable time since the introduction of the first Flying Fox updating it by adding more features and generally improving the machine.

The following was announced by THE MOTOR CYCLE  in January 1932

Striking the Happy Medium with very Complete Weather Protection and Sporting Appearance Cleverly Combined in the New A.J.W. Models.

To provide a sports model with really sound all weather equipment and yet preserve the machines sporting lines is the object underlying the design of the ‘Flying Fox’ A.J.W.s for 1932. And very well has it been carried into effect.

1932 Flying Fox 350 cc

Flying Fox 350cc

In front, metal shields fitted between the exhaust pipes and the frame serve to keep mud thrown up by the front wheel away from the rider’s feet and legs, additional shields are fitted between the chain stays and silencers to prevent mud splashing out from the rear wheel. Specially large valances are formed on the rear mudguard, and the rear chain guard is of very deep section. The shielding effect is further increased by what might be described as a ‘one piece’ tool box and battery box on the near side of the machine. Balanced by a ‘one piece’ oil tank and tool box on the offside, both ‘pieces’ conform with the lines of the chain and seat stays.

Further protection for the rider is provided by a rain deflector formed on the top of the saddle tank, it collects the water and leads it away through a pipe near the saddle peak.  Primary chain protection is ensured by total enclosure, and the guard is extended to embrace the dynamo chain also.  Lubricant is supplied by a crank case breather.

Standard ignition is by coil, although magneto ignition can be specified at £2 extra. Ignition and throttle are controlled by twist grips on an Amal ‘Tidy’ handlebar, which, while grouping the controls in a neat way, leaves them adjustable for angle.  A choice of colours for the tank panels is available.

There are two ‘Flying Fox’ models, one incorporating the 349cc radial valve Python engine, and the other having the 499cc four valve unit of the same make. Python four speed gear-boxes with hand control are fitted to both models, and the rear wheels can be removed without disturbing the chains. The rear mudguards, too, are hinged.

Prices, which include full electrical equipment, are £59 10s for the 350cc model and £62 10s for the 499cc. High Level exhaust pipes and close ratio gears are optional equipment. Positive foot change can be fitted to either model at 25s extra, and a pump type carburettor is available at an extra cost of 5s. The 499cc model can be supplied with an ‘Ulster’ Python engine at £5 extra.


The following is taken from an A.J.W. catalogue introducing the new VIXEN range in late 1932.

1932 Flying Vixen

Flying Vixen 499cc

The enthusiasm with which sporting motor cyclists hailed the Flying Fox range has lead to the introduction of a class of exceptionally fast A.J.W. machines of a strikingly handsome appearance and possessing all the fine steering qualities of the Flying Fox. The enormous strength of the A.J.W. duplex cradle frame combined with the terrific power of the Rudge ‘Python’ engine makes these ‘Vixen’ models ideal for Competition work and particularly suitable for overseas conditions. Other features worthy of special note include high ground clearance and unusually complete all weather protection.

Whilst these new models retain the main characteristics of the Flying Fox range, they possess in addition many refinements of particular value to the sporting rider. Here are some points in the specification, which will appeal unfailingly to this class of motor cyclist.  High level, large diameter exhaust pipes, Smith’s 80mph trip Speedo meter and Smith’s large motor cycle clock mounted neatly on the front forks.  Racing foot change gear is fitted as standard.  Dunlop solo sports competition tyres.  Full electric equipment including Electric Horn, Licence Holder.  Standard Tank finish, chromium plated, with red panels, wheels, rims chromium plated with red centres. Magneto ignition. Hand operated gear change can be fitted if specified when ordering.


The tank (left) fitted with its Rain Deflector (not fitted on 1931 models) with its original and novel feature is proving itself invaluable for A.J.W. riders, its object as its name implies, being to deflect the rain away from the rider’s crotch. This is exceedingly neatly made and, in addition to being particularly efficient, it also enhances the appearance of the machine. All the rain that would normally collect on top of the tank and eventually be absorbed by the rider’s clothing is led away though a short large bore pipe on to the road. Whilst only a small refinement in itself, the rain deflector is one of the many essential improvements which puts the Fox and Vixen models in a class of their own.

Vixen Speedo 1932The instrument panel (right) fitted to the new Vixen range of machines is fitted with a Smith’s clock and 80mph Trip Speedometer (or Smith’s 120kilo Trip Speedometer can be fitted for overseas) They are mounted on a special dual bracket in the ideal position. Note the excellent visibility of the instruments that include the ampmeter fitted to the large diameter lamp. These instruments can also be fitted to the Flying Fox range if required.

The A.J.W. Record Book shows that one hundred and six Flying Foxes were built in 1932.

Only five 1932 Flying Foxes are known to have survived at the time of writing.

Changes since 1931:

  • Rain deflector fitted.
  • Mudguards now have ribs.
  • Bowden carburettor fitted.
  • Handle bars changed.
  • Head lamp and fitting changed.