In order to deal with the effects of the general recession, in the autumn of 1927, AJS decided to enter the commercial vehicle market and development work began on a coach chassis at Lower Walsall Street.
The first AJS chassis, named the "Pilot" was announced in February 1929, of conventional appearance and specification, it was intended as a high speed, long distance coach, but was equally at home as a service bus. The complete chassis included axles, engine and all related parts. Coach examples had 20 seats with plenty of leg room which made them unsuitable as service vehicles. The service bus was more basic and could seat 24.
The engine, a type 6ERC designed by Henry Meadows of Fallings Park, Wolverhampton had 6 cylinders, overhead values and was fitted with a 4 speed gearbox.
The Pilot, priced at £685. 0s. 0d for the normal control version and £705 0s 0d for the forward control, sold reasonably well mainly to smaller independent operators, but soon AJS found themselves facing stiffer competition from the Dennis 'Dart', REO 'Gold Crown' and Morris 'Commercial Viceroy'.
The picture below shows the "Pilot" chassis outside the Lower Walsall Works.
The company decided for follow the success of the 'Pilot' by launching a new full sized chassis capable of carrying a 32 seater body and the 'Commodore' was launched in October 1929. The new design used a six cylinder Coventry Climax L6 engine and a 4 speed gearbox with an RAC rating of 36 h.p. Again the 'Commodore' faced much competition, but at £850.0s 0d was one of the lowest price six cylinders on the market.
The 'Commodore' gained a reputation for reliability and performance but sales were hit when Government regulation of bus and coach services slowed down the expansion of routes.
In all, just over 60 AJS 'Commodores' were completed in a 2 year period (chassis numbers 5000 to 5064) with some chassis' being supplied as lorries.
In February 1931 AJS announced a third model the 'Admiral' aimed at being a long distance, high performing luxury coach suitable for 26 to 28 passengers. Intended to have a new engine, due to production delays, the company had to revert to using the Coventry Climax L6. Priced at just £795. 0s. 0d, the model may have had a bright future, but by that time the company was in financial trouble and only 8 'Admirals' were produced (numbers 3001 to 3008).
During the 2 and 1/2 years AJS produced commercial vehicles, over 200 were sold, a remarkable feat for a newcomer to the business.
Sadly none are thought to survive today.