6. 1954 AJS E95

Barber Museum 1954 AJS E95

The AJS E-95 was a fast British Grand Prix motorcycle powered by an air-cooled 499cc parallel-Twin, designed to be the factory’s first post-war competitor. Unfortunately, it was unreliable and eventually scrapped from competition. But these two particular bikes are on this list for a few reasons: first is the immaculate — and award-winning — restoration job performed on the bottom AJS by the highly skilled Barber staff.

The second, more interesting, reason is the story of the partially dismantled E-95 suspended above. In the early 1960s, this bike was stored to the side of the AJS shop, collecting dust in retirement. Local dealer Tom Arter convinced the factory to give the bike to him on loan. Little did the factory know Arter planned to race the bike again.

He modified the suspension to accept the modern tires of the time, hired Canadian Mike Duff to ride, and gave racing a go. Apparently Arter didn’t remember the reasons the E-95 was retired in the first place; it was fast but unreliable. The bike was finally retired for good after this comeback attempt.