Team Obsolete Back Classic TT with Rare 1954 AJS Porcupine

| 6/26/2015 9:09:00 AM

AJS Porcupine 

The AJS Porcupine, the only British multi-cylinder grand prix bike made in the historic era, will make its return to the Classic TT presented by Bennetts in August, 61 years after the factory Porcupines last raced in the Isle of Man in 1954.

American tuner/collector Robert Iannucci will bring the DOHC 500cc E95 twin for Dave Roper, the winner of the 1984 Historic TT on a Matchless G50, to ride in the Jurby festival on Aug. 30 and in the Classic Racer Classic TT Lap of Honour on Aug. 31. Iannucci, the owner of Team Obsolete equippe in Brooklyn, New York, is delighted to be reuniting the AJS with the Mountain circuit after a 33-year restoration that has involved exhaustive searches for data, parts and key factory personnel who were involved with the Porcupine.

“The Manx Norton and Matchless G50 factory bikes of that era were only development versions of the single-cylinder production racers that they sold to customers,” Iannucci says. AJS was the only British manufacturer to make unique factory racers that were not for sale. Only four E95s were ever made.

The Porcupine earned its nickname from the spiky finning of the cylinder heads on the original E90 model. That bike earned AJS a place in motorcycling history by winning the inaugural 500cc World Championship in 1949, ridden by Les Graham, who beat the four-cylinder Gileras that were later to dominate racing’s premier class.

Indeed, Graham almost won the 1949 Senior TT, the opening round of the newly instituted championship: he led the 264-mile race until Hillberry corner on the last lap, when the magneto drive broke and he pushed in the final two miles to finish tenth. Porcupines continued to compete at the TT until 1954, but were increasingly outpaced by the Gileras, and even the factory Manx Norton singles, which received a much more intensive development program.