1954 Matchless 350cc G3LS Motorcycle
Result: PASSED IN
Founded by Henry Collier in 1891, Matchless Motor Cycles Ltd of London was one of Britain's pioneering motorcycle companies, building their first engine in 1899 and producing complete motorcycles just three years later. Collier and his brother Charlie were both successful racers - Charlie won the first ever TT in 1907 - and by the 1920s Matchless was offering a decent range of bikes, from 250cc right up to 1000cc. With the takeover of the AJS concern in 1931 and, briefly, Sunbeam in 1937, a new group called Associated Motor Cycles was formed. Wartime production centred around a single model, the rugged 350cc G3, of which an estimated 80,000 saw active service. The only development of note was a switch to 'Teledraulic' telescopic front forks in 1941 and the revised model, known as the G3/L, remained in production once hostilities ceased. Post-war revision kept the Matchless single competitive, with bigger 7-inch brakes and revised front forks in 1948, followed by a new frame, hairpin valve springs and valve lifter in the cylinder head for 1949. The swing-arm frame used on the G9 500cc vertical twin was also made available on the single at additional cost and these models were designated the G3/LS. Various improvements were made in the early 1950s, including new light-alloy cylinder heads and alloy pushrods in 1951, a relocated magneto and new timing case in 1952, dual seats and a stronger front brake in 1953 and a new full-width alloy front hub in 1954. Motorcycles sporting the flying 'M' continue to enjoy a loyal following and they remain an excellent proposition for club runs or shows today.