Matchless is one of the oldest makes of British motorcycles with the first models manufactured at the start of the 20th century.
History[edit | edit source]
Matchless branded motorcycles produced in Plumstead, London from 1899 to 1966 when the name was dropped by its owners. A wide range of models were produced under the Matchless name ranging from small 2-strokes to 750cc 3-stroke twin cylinder. Among the most famous early models were the Matchless Silver Hawk and the Matchless Silver Arrow.
Matchless had a long history of road racing participation and success. A Matchless, ridden by Charlie Collier, won the first single cylinder race in the first Isle of Man TT in 1907 with an average speed of 38.21 mph in a time of 4.08.08. Their machines won again in 1909 and 1910. Matchless have participated in many Isle of Man TT and Manx Grand Prix races up to 1997 with varying success.
The Colliers bought AJS in 1931, and in 1938 both Matchless and AJS became part of Associated Motorcycles (AMC), both companies producing models under their own badging. Matchless bought Sunbeam in the late thirties, but Sunbeam was sold to BSA in 1943.
During the mergers that occurred in the British motorcycle industry in the 1960s, the Matchless four-stroke twin was replaced with the Norton twin ending a long history of independent production. By 1967, the Matchless singles had ceased production. It was over.
G80[edit | edit source]
Traditional British design from the 1930s updated in the early 1940s with telescopic forks. The 350cc version of this machine, identical in appearance, was used extensively by dispatch riders during the WWII. The G-80 was a very simple design were maintenance could be done by the owner, a typical daily commuter bike where gas mileage and reliability were more important than speed and power.