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vintage bike of the day | supercharged v4 ajs

Here’s the supercharged AJS racer, an incredibly innovative 50-degree V4 from 1939. It had an overhead cam, was water-cooled, two were made, and there is only one remaining.

In 1935 at the London motorcycle show AJS unveiled the prototype of an air-cooled four cylinder touring bike. Over the next four years AJS refined the motorcycle for racing.

supercharged ajs v4 500cc from 1939

The 405-pound (184 kg) final version was developed in 1939 with a four-speed transmission, improved acceleration and cooling. The new model possessed a supercharger, a completely re-engineered four cylinder motor, and was liquid cooled with an improved frame for stability.

The motor was such a strong and powerful runner that Honda copied the V4 engine format with a 180-degree crank more than 40 years later for their Magna cruiser.

The bike is now on display at the Sammy Miller Museum in New Milton, Hampshire, Great Britain.

1939 water-cooled ajs v4 racer

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