Alan Smith’s 1928 AJS K7 was chosen as Best in Show at the Stafford Show, in April 2006. The show report (TCM June 2006) carried details of the restoration process, with Alan – a highly skilled restorer – quick to praise the work carried out by former owner, respected AJS authority Ray Carter.
In the first of a new series, we felt it was fitting that the rare cammy Ajay led the line-up under the studio lights.
The overhead camshaft AJS was first seen in the spring of 1927 prior to the TT races. It was developed in response to the successful ‘cammy’ racers from Velocette and Norton. There was a whole host of other ‘cammy’ motors which had emerged or were emerging from other manufacturers too; among their number were lesser known efforts from Sunbeam, Matchless, Chater-Lea, Humber, OEC to name but a few.
The overhead-camshaft engine was very much in vogue, and AJS – with the best reputation in the business for 350cc sportsters thanks to their sensational ohv Big Port – sensed the times were changing. And so, they set to; and the outcome was their own ‘cammy’ 350.
Sadly, it didn’t initially prove to be the success hoped for; indeed, the works racing team persevered with it for 1927, before switching back to the old overhead-valve design the next year, citing the need for further development of the cammy motor. Perversely, that year – 1928 – was the first season the ohc AJS appeared in the sales catalogues; not really ideal marketing!
But appear it did, tagged the K7 (K for 1928; 7 for 350cc ohc) while a 500cc version was also listed as the K10. The K7 had a price tag of exactly £62, compared to the proven, successful ohv model – the K6 – still listed at £50.
The flat-tank ohc AJS was in the line-up for one season only, though for 1929 the engine was still in the range, albeit now mounted in a saddle tank frame.