Please note that the cars or exhibit items shown in this database are part of our collection but may not be on display when you visit.
Henry Herbert Collier (Collier & Sons) founded a company to make bicycles under the Matchless name in Plumstead, London in 1878. The first Matchless motorcycle prototype was made in 1899 with general production starting two years later in 1901. All motorcycles were marked by a winged M on the tank, a symbol that quickly became synonymous with quality and a premium riding experience. During the Second World War, Matchless manufactured 80,000 G3 and G3L models for the armed forces. In the post-war period, Matchless started the production of the single-cylinder 350cc’s and G80 500cc’s. These models were developed from the G3 model and produced for the British army. They also gained great success in the market, considered for their performance and elegance.
Matchless had a long history of racing participation and success. A single-cylinder Matchless, ridden by Charlie Collier, won the first, single-cylinder race in the first Isle of Man TT in 1907. Matchless won again in 1909 and 1910. Matchless acquired AJS in 1931 and the two companies merged to form Associated Motorcycles (AMC). Afterward Matchless and AJS motorcycles kept their marques but became increasingly similar.
In 1941 Matchless motorcycles introduced telescopic front forks called "Teledraulic" forks that were seen as a major innovation of the time. 1949 was the first year for the Matchless G80, the company’s top-line 500 single. The C stood for Competition (scrambles) and the S for Suspension (a non-rigid frame with a rear swing-arm). The G80CS seen here was a “long stroke”. AMC established a reputation in off-road competition in the 1950s, winning the British 500cc Moto-Cross Championship on four occasions. In the USA, desert race victories by Walt Fulton and Bud Ekins ensured a demand for the Matchless G80CS and AJS 18CS scramblers.
Matchless/AJS were known for their comfortable, well-made, and reliable motorcycles. Unfortunately continuing poor sales led to AMC becoming part of Norton-Villiers in 1966. In the U.S. in particular, lighter scramblers from Japan with more advanced mechanicals were taking over.
Manufacturer: Associated Motor Cycles (AMC)
Country of Origin: Great Britain
Drivetrain Configuration: Front-engine, rear-wheel drive
Engine: Air-cooled, 498cc single-cylinder, pushrod 2-valve, 4-stroke
Transmission: Burman 4-speed constant-mesh, right-foot shift
Top Speed: 80 mph
Years of Production: 1951 to 1955
Number Produced: unknown
Original Cost: unknown