Thursday 16 March 2023

The AJS 33/7 Trophy Model Restoration: Final Assembly and First Start

It’s interesting how 10% of the time on the final assembly goes into putting 90% of the bike back together whilst 90% of the time seems to go into the remaining 10%.

The bike is now completed

and running, although road testing has not yet started.

There were a few details to attend to before the bike was completed, in particular: the toolbox, wiring and the tank graphics. 

The brochure picture of the bike clearly shows a toolbox sandwiched between the frame tubes:

Luckily, Mark Barker, who attends major autojumbles such as Kempton Park and Shepton Mallet here in the UK, makes beautifully crafted period leather toolboxes housed in metal and will make these to order if a bespoke size/shape is needed. With just a simple cardboard template (to ensure the angle was correct between the frame tubes) Mark made this for the 33/7:

The craftmanship is simply outstanding. Mark doesn’t have a web site but if you want anything similar then please let me know and I’ll put you in contact with him.

I haven’t said much, if anything, about the electrical system so far. I don’t intend and I doubt if any future owner would plan to undertake any extensive night-time travel on this bike. I have fitted lights and a horn (required by UK law) with a large capacity 12V lead-acid gel battery contained in a dummy rubber battery case. There is no charging system but I have used low power (but very bright!) LED bulbs and, as such, the lighting system is more than adequate for a few hours running if required.

The wiring loom is relatively simple – lights, horn and dipswitch and after making the basic loom

I sent this away to MES in Warwick to bind my collection of wires and connectors into a proper wiring loom.

Last, but by no means least, the petrol tank needed completing – painting and the “AJS” insignia. Although the depiction of the bike in the brochure gives some idea of the layout of the petrol tank graphics a picture of original paintwork is by far the best if one can be found. I believe that this picture

Picture courtesy of Bonhams

that can be found on this bike sold by Bonhams in 2008 is original unmolested paintwork.  OK, it is a 1935 500cc model but I believe that this is almost certainly identical to the 1933 350cc model.

The tank was masked appropriately

before spraying with 2k etch primer, gloss black and gold leaf lining plus a waterslide “AJS” insignia.

This is a picture of the completed bike.

After nearly 15 months of work, filling the oil tank/gearbox/primary chaincase with oil and a few final checks the bike was now ready to be taken off the stand and wheeled into the garden for a first attempt at starting.


…..and then the moment of truth!

I was amazed – the bike started at the first attempt and apart from some oil leakage from the primary chaincase (these pressed steel cases are notoriously difficult to seal) it ran perfectly; clearly, this needs to be fixed before the first road test.

The first road run will have to wait a while – it is the middle of March and although the daffodils are out in the garden the weather is neither warm nor particularly dry at the moment (I don’t do cold and wet motorcycling these days). Nevertheless, I’m confident that this will be a lovely bike to ride and I’ll report on further progress and the first road run in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, it’s time to start thinking about the next project….


  1. What an incredible accomplishment. You are a genius Richard .

  2. Superb workmanship.