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The last Matchless

The last Matchless

Postby frankdamp » Sun May 03, 2015 8:48 pm

I wonder how many people know that the last bike to carry the Matchless badge was a two-stroke. When I was at N-V, we did four bikes, a trail-bike version of our AJS Stormer, for the Royal Air Force Motorsports Association to use in the 1968 International Six-Days Trial.

Three of them were Starmaker 250-powered and were registered as AJS machines. The fourth was a version with the 345 cc Starmaker engine, and it was registered as a Matchless. As far as I remeber, the RAFMSA team didn't do that well and no-one realised how unique that "Matchless" was.

I'd emigrated to the US before that event and I have no idea what happened to thos four bikes. We made up special exhaust systems for them, with a spark arrester at the tail-pipe.

I'd be interested if anyone knows what happened to thos bikes. I'd love to gethold of one of them, particularly the Matchless.
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Re: The last Matchless

Postby L.A.B. » Mon May 04, 2015 1:52 am

frankdamp wrote:I wonder how many people know that the last bike to carry the Matchless badge was a two-stroke.


Well, no, Frank, it wasn't. :wink:
http://www.andybuysbikes.com/archivehtml/5263mch.html
Image

http://www.motorcyclenews.com/news/new- ... s-is-back/
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Re: The last Matchless

Postby frankdamp » Mon May 04, 2015 7:32 am

That's a surprise. Interesting machine, but how many bikers need a 1.9L engine? I wish the new company lots of luck.

I guess our Starmaker powered trials bike was the last one made before N-V shut down a lot of the old group names. Only Norton and AJS survived into the 1970s. It was still probably the only Matchless with a 2-stroke engine.
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Re: The last Matchless

Postby Rohan » Wed May 06, 2015 12:02 am

frankdamp wrote:It was still probably the only Matchless with a 2-stroke engine.


No, it wasn't.
Matchless made a model through the late 1950s and early 1960s, called a Pinto.

Image
Image

Its probably related to a Francis Barnett/James, but it was badged a Matchless.

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Re: The last Matchless

Postby Rohan » Wed May 06, 2015 12:09 am



Oh Dear, those folks don't even know their motorcycle history.

"Suspension
The fork is a Castle type unit, mimicking the original Model X. "

Castle forks appeared on Brough Superiors, as (licenced) copies of Harley springer forks.
Nothing to do with Matchless's.

And these appear to be not terribly similar to old type Harley forks either... ??

But we diverge, slightly.

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Re: The last Matchless

Postby mdt-son » Thu Aug 20, 2015 7:17 am

Rohan wrote:No, it wasn't.
Matchless made a model through the late 1950s and early 1960s, called a Pinto.
<...>
Its probably related to a Francis Barnett/James, but it was badged a Matchless.


Actually the group's two-stroke engines (designed by italian Mr. Vincenzo Piatti) were manufactured at the London factory from approx. 1958 onwards. Apart from the "revolutionary" (in AMC-parleur) unit engine design, the engine is hardly inspiring.
4 sizes were made: AMC 15T, 17T, 20T, and 25T, reflecting 150, 175, 200 and 250cc cylinder capacity respectively. All are single cylinder motors.

The 15T engine also powered the Matchless Papoose scooter which was one of the factory's several flops.
I think it was axed for 1963.

https://books.google.no/books?id=bPoDAA ... er&f=false

https://www.google.no/search?q=Matchles ... It5TjoM%3D

http://famousjamesmotorcycleclub.webs.c ... amc-motors

-Knut
Assorted '60s Matchless models
'75 Norton Commando Mk3 (coming together)

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Re: The last Matchless

Postby grandpaul » Fri Aug 21, 2015 5:18 am

L.A.B. wrote:Image


That sure is a good looking, fairly modern, thumper!

You know that Rotax lump can do the job...

(I just don't care for the fact that it doesn't have a kickstarter)
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Re: The last Matchless

Postby Rohan » Tue Aug 25, 2015 1:05 am

The kickstarter is on the other side !

I think it may have been optional, or only on some models though.

http://i182.photobucket.com/albums/x297 ... left-1.jpg

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Re: The last Matchless

Postby Rohan » Tue Aug 25, 2015 1:15 am

mdt-son wrote:Actually the group's two-stroke engines (designed by italian Mr. Vincenzo Piatti) were manufactured at the London factory from approx. 1958 onwards. Apart from the "revolutionary" (in AMC-parleur) unit engine design, the engine is hardly inspiring.
4 sizes were made: AMC 15T, 17T, 20T, and 25T, reflecting 150, 175, 200 and 250cc cylinder capacity respectively. All are single cylinder motors.


The final irony was that they had a lot of technical problems with these,
that required Villiers sorting them out and assembling them.

Aren't some of these Villiers anyway ?

mdt-son wrote:The 15T engine also powered the Matchless Papoose scooter which was one of the factory's several flops.
I think it was axed for 1963.


Edit. Seems there are 2 versions of papoose scooter.
The 1st Papoose scooter was earlier than this, and wasn't a Matchless product ?
It was the military Welbike made by Brockhouse, but made for civilian use.
http://www.indianpapooseclub.org/papoose.htm

Thanks to Christian for the 2nd version details - I'd forgotten about this one, thanks Knut.
http://tinyurl.com/6ec8fco

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Re: The last Matchless

Postby frankdamp » Tue Aug 25, 2015 8:07 am

Piatti exported their Italian-built scooters to the UK in the mid-1950's. I almost bought one, as they were really inexpensive (there were reasons for that- poor build quality, atrociously bad reliability and stability issues with the 6" wheels), but instead bought a 1958 150 Vespa Clubman. Mom wouldn't permit a "motorcycle". I wish I'd got the 200GT, as it had bigger wheels (10" vs. 8") and a 4-speed gearbox instead of a three cog. Those 8" wheels were a real stability issue.

I sold the Vespa after aboout 18 months and, after a brief period driving 1938 Austin Seven car, bought an Ariel Leader 250. It was almost a real motorcycle, but had an extensive fairing that made it look more like a scooter. A 1953 BSA A7 came next, followed by marriage and children. My final experience with motorcycles was my 20 months at N-V. I rode all kinds of things, from a 50cc MOTOM (an Italian 2-stroke) to the Commando. I also rode an Indian-made Villiers scooter called the "Fantabulous" (yes, really!) which was a potential import for the N-V company. Didn't work out.

The Commando prototypes were fun, but I most enjoyed the old 650SS that I rode to & from work. The street/trail AJS Stormer was also a good ride, but having to shake it about to re-mix the Castrol "R" back into the gas after it had been parked was a nuisance.
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