Although I greatly enjoyed Simon Taylor’s account of lunch with Stuart Graham, I was somewhat surprised to read that Stuart’s father Les rode an AJS ‘fore-and-aft’ V-twin. No such bike existed. His AJS Porcupine was a parallel twin with its cylinders lying almost horizontal. It was dubbed the Porcupine because of peculiar cylinder-head finning that looked somewhat like forward-facing spikes. By today’s standards it had rubbish suspension, horrible tyres and non-existent brakes. Despite this, Les lapped the TT course at an average speed of more than 90mph. The Porcupine was developed over the years and in 1954 a considerable revamp emerged.
Gone were the original spike fins on the cylinder head, although the name Porcupine stuck. The cylinders were raised to an angle of 45 degrees which gave much improved cooling. At the end of its development it produced 54bhp at 7500rpm — good for its time but not enough to catch the Italian fours.
Peter Tipper Bishop Middleham, Co Durham Stuart and I stand corrected! ST