AJS & Matchless ISDT Bikes (1968)

Oct 7, 2005
Just before I left N-V, the factory sponsored a team in the ISDT. The riders were from the Royal Air Force Motorsports Association.

We built four bikes, 3 were AJS 250cc machines and the fourth was a Matchless 350. Unless you were familiar with the product line then, it wouldn't register that these were actually street/trail versions of our Villiers Starmaker-powered motocross bikes. They were fitted with wide-ratio gears, spark arrestor tailpipes and a lighting system off the 9E Villiers engine.

I'd be interested to know if any of them survived.
Frank, did you post this up on the AJS/Matchless yahoo site?

enjoy your insight to happenings back in the day!

Regards! Chris
Yes. I posted on the Google AJS/Matchless news-group, but so far there have been no replies.

I suspect that, because the UK industry was in the doldrums at that time, not many people realized that the ISDT bikes were derived from the Starmaker motocross machines.

It would be a shame if they've disappeared into the scrapyards. I wouldn't mind having that 350 Matchless.

N-V pulled a fast one on the system by defining and campaigning a version of the AJS moto-cross bike as a 360. In fact, it was only 345 cc displacement, but nobody thought to check.

I recall one occasion when we were testing at the Motor Industries Research Association facility in Nuneaton. I had to go back to the lab building for something and jumped on what I thought was a 250. When I opened the throttle and dropped the clutch, the resulting 60-degree pitch-up was a hell of a surprise. I discovered later that I'd grabbed a 360! It was difficult to tell the difference.
Have you tried contacting Fluff Brown ? Doesn't he still do spares for the Stormers ?

Took your advice and found this web-site, http://www.ajsmotorcycles.co.uk.

It links to the AJS company in Andover, which is where N-V moved to after the big downturn in the late 1960s. Don't know if Fluff Brown is running that outfit, but it has quite a lot of Stormer stuff on it. I've sent a couple of messages and hope to hear something.

I posted my query on that Yahoo group a coule of weeks ago but have had no replies. The impression I get is that the "purists" don't consider the N-V bikes as "real" AJS or Matchless. They were 2-strokes!! In fact the ISDT Matchless 350 was the only N-V machine ever given the Matchless name.