Working At AMC Motorcycles (Matchless & AJS)
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    Default Working At AMC Motorcycles (Matchless & AJS)

    Interesting site, a bit different and well worth a delve in to Working at AMC - Home

    The Capstan page (turret lathe) is quite good.

    It's also - IMO - a perfect example of why the British Motorcycle industry went tits up.

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    Oh, that looks like a good read. Bookmarked. Thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Limy Sami View Post
    Interesting site, a bit different and well worth a delve in to Working at AMC - Home

    The Capstan page (turret lathe) is quite good.

    It's also - IMO - a perfect example of why the British Motorcycle industry went tits up.
    It all looks a bit " Charles Dickens " Sami.

    Regards Tyrone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyrone Shoelaces View Post
    It all looks a bit " Charles Dickens " Sami.

    Regards Tyrone.
    It was Tyrone - my late father was a plumber and gas (OA) pipework welder, - from Mottingham in SE London, during the bad winter of 1947 there was no work on the building sites, so he went in to AMCs welding and brazing FORERUNNER OF THE FEATHERBED ………... on of course rubbish money.

    He told me AMCs were always short of welders, always advertising, …..and after a week in Plumstead Road he knew why! …...he stuck it for a month - until a job got going again, ……….he said he learnt why blokes came out of there at the end of a shift looking like they'd been released from prison.
    Last edited by Limy Sami; 02-01-2020 at 05:49 PM. Reason: The bold is to correct information, - something was bugging me - the featherbed wasn't designed until 1950 / 51 my apologies

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    Back in the 70s I had a few AJS/Matchless bikes happy times. Got to take a short ride on a G50 at a show[500cc OHC] one of 200 they built to qualify under AMA rules as a production bike. Oldest Brit bike I had was a 39 KSS Velo -newest 74 Norton Commando Interstate that I bought new. Brit bikes always had personalizes ,Jap stuff on the other hand was like riding a toaster! LOL

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    Thanks Limy , my G80CS still makes noise . Drain the wet sump , pour into oil tank , Tickle carb till minor hazmat spill, retard timing , pull compresion release and crank till a hair past TDC. Big healthy kick , Repeat till sweaty or pissed off , then it fires. Had a '74 Commando roadster the only bike I truly regret selling .img_1105.jpg

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    The featherbed frame was designed by an Irishman,and was "sold" to Norton ( pre the AMC takeover)....originally for racing bikes ,only used on street bikes by customer demand ,and against considerable opposition at Norton.It was first fitted to arrest a dramatic decline in sales ....caused by the early twins being "grenades" due to weak conrods ,and owners overreving the motors.

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    Quote Originally Posted by john.k View Post
    The featherbed frame was designed by an Irishman,and was "sold" to Norton ( pre the AMC takeover)....originally for racing bikes ,only used on street bikes by customer demand ,and against considerable opposition at Norton.It was first fitted to arrest a dramatic decline in sales ....caused by the early twins being "grenades" due to weak conrods ,and owners overreving the motors.
    Rex McCandlass rex mccandless - Google Search

    FYI;- He was an Ulsterman a BIG difference

    Some more on the fate of AMC here AMC - Graces Guide

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    Interesting reading, lots of photos of who-did-what. Not a lot of priority placed on safety glasses in the shops for some reason. I've been riding motorcycles for 40 years but never owned a Brit bike, just a couple of BL cars. Still have a couple of issues of Classic Bike for the interviews/articles. One article about the Triumph move to "new" factory and cylinder boring not duplicating what had been achieved at the old (Meridian?) facility despite the fact that it was the same machine and all the tooling had been brought with. Management went back to the former plant and retrieved the man who'd done the cylinder boring for many years. The man walked in, surveyed everything needed, and asked "Where's me stick?". After some debate ("WTF is he talking about?") They went back to the old plant and he located a long stick leaning in a neglected corner. The man brought it back to the new plant where he proceeded to wedge the stick against the spindle while boring (worn spindle housing reduction?) and produced a cylinder bore to acceptable standards. Can't verify that story but that's what was printed.

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    AD Design

    Stories like that abound and they just can't all be made up, many small job shops I moonlighted at in the early 70's were running several pre war machine tools, …...and believe me, those machines were ''beyond well worn'' (aka f'kd) long before they went in to those shops, ...……….and that trend continued right up through British Manufacturing, ...………...with the motorcycle firms being some of the worst offenders.

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    Limy Sami- So there's reason to believe a preposterous story like the one I just posted? That's too bad, I've always admired the lines on Brit bikes, if not the mechanical innards or electrical components from The Prince of Darkness (Lucas). I've also worked at several shops that had machinery with WW2 certification tags still on them, just none that were trying to compete on the world stage against the 1969 Honda 750. I've never understood why some companies don't employ corrective measures when you're being beaten at your own game. I guess I don't understand the whole story behind some of them. Thanks for the reply, always informative to hear from those that witnessed what I've only read about.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AD Design View Post
    I've never understood why some companies don't employ corrective measures when you're being beaten at your own game.
    Because change is hard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Riant View Post
    Thanks Limy , my G80CS still makes noise . Drain the wet sump , pour into oil tank , Tickle carb till minor hazmat spill, retard timing , pull compresion release and crank till a hair past TDC. Big healthy kick , Repeat till sweaty or pissed off , then it fires. Had a '74 Commando roadster the only bike I truly regret selling .img_1105.jpg
    There were numerous Matchless and AJS Scramblers ridden in the desert in Southern California when I was involved in that activity. Those, along with the BSA Gold Stars, Triumphs and DOT Two Strokes made quite a stable whenever there was a Hare and Hound.
    Sadly, those days have been ruled out by the Greenies. In some areas, they won't even let you onto the desert to walk around.

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    Newman : Yeah this is an old So Cal desert sled. A Big Bear and Barstow to Vegas veteran ridden by previous owner. Never had it apart to see whats been done but runs very well, more like a B50 BSA. AJS and Matchless singles were the CR500s / KX500s of the 50s to early 60s. I started racing in the 70s on lightweights. Caught the vintage bug in the 90s . When I ride this I am so impresed by guys that could just plain haul ass on them. -dave-

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Riant View Post
    Newman : Yeah this is an old So Cal desert sled. A Big Bear and Barstow to Vegas veteran ridden by previous owner. Never had it apart to see whats been done but runs very well, more like a B50 BSA. AJS and Matchless singles were the CR500s / KX500s of the 50s to early 60s. I started racing in the 70s on lightweights. Caught the vintage bug in the 90s . When I ride this I am so impresed by guys that could just plain haul ass on them. -dave-
    Bud Ekins and Vern Hancock, two great desert riders both started out as sponsored riders on AJS-Matchless. Bud later switched to Triumph when he got a sponsorship from Johnson Motors. The AJS and Matchless bikes were very popular in the late 50's when I was riding.
    I started the Big Bear Hare and Hound in the Lucerne Valley of California twice but had mechanical issues both times. I did ride and finish the Jack Pine 500 mile, 2 day enduro once on a Matchless G80 and again on an Ariel Red Hunter single.

    Those were fun days.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Newman109 View Post
    There were numerous Matchless and AJS Scramblers ridden in the desert in Southern California when I was involved in that activity. Those, along with the BSA Gold Stars, Triumphs and DOT Two Strokes made quite a stable whenever there was a Hare and Hound.
    Sadly, those days have been ruled out by the Greenies. In some areas, they won't even let you onto the desert to walk around.
    There's still plenty of desert racing, although probably a fraction of the activity you remember

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    Quote Originally Posted by triumph406 View Post
    There's still plenty of desert racing, although probably a fraction of the activity you remember
    Very likely there is. That said, there was an incredible amount of amateur racing in Southern California in the mid to late 50's. Places such as Rusty Nail Flats in Long Beach, Acton Junction, Crater Camp at Malibu and the desert sites were going literally every weekend year round.

    I understood that many square miles of desert had been ruled off limits after that. That was also before the Green license tags were created for off road bikes.

    It was surely a fun time and lots of bikes were worn out before it was over

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    Man I can't even imagine racing on those old bikes. My buddies grandpa used to have his wife wait out in the woods with a spare clutch since the clutch wouldn't last a full enduro. Amateur racing is alive and well, and the bikes are simply amazing. I went through a whole season of enduro and hare scrambles on the same chain and brake pads on my race bike. I'm slow but still...

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    Quote Originally Posted by gbent View Post
    Because change is hard.
    And the shareholders weren't prepared to put the money in to modernisation etc,...…………...they'd made a mint during the war (on the tax payer) .....and after with the big export drive when they could sell anything.

    But when it came to putting money in, ……..and the value of the premises etc etc - they cashed in, like Lord Docker @ BSA - some of his bent dealings and rip offs here Bernard Docker - Wikipedia

    AMC's was ''acquired by'' Manganese Bronze Holdings - run by an asset stripping bandit called Dennis Poor ……….and so on and so on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Limy Sami View Post
    And the shareholders weren't prepared to put the money in to modernisation etc,...…………...they'd made a mint during the war (on the tax payer) .....and after with the big export drive when they could sell anything.

    But when it came to putting money in, ……..and the value of the premises etc etc - they cashed in, like Lord Docker @ BSA - some of his bent dealings and rip offs here Bernard Docker - Wikipedia

    AMC's was ''acquired by'' Manganese Bronze Holdings - run by an asset stripping bandit called Dennis Poor ……….and so on and so on.
    You Brits made some fine motorcycles back in the day. The BSA's were my favorites. They were extremely popular in the US for all sorts of competition, especially on Flat Track. The old Harley and Indian flat heads pretty much ruled the short , half and mile tracks until the British Bikes came over and then it was a different story.


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