• Delivered new to Australia
• Restored in the late 1960s/early 1970s
• Concours winner
Unlike the vast majority of Britain's motorcycle manufacturers, which were located in the Birmingham and Coventry areas, Matchless were based in Plumstead, South London. The name 'Matchless' first appeared in the 1890s on cycles manufactured by H H Collier, whose sons Charlie and Harry would later join him in the business. The firm's first - experimental - motorcycle appeared in 1899 and its first production model in 1902. Already an accomplished cycle racer, Charlie Collier soon turned to racing Matchless motorcycles, as did his brother, and both Colliers would be on the start-line for the inaugural Isle of Man TT race in 1907, Charlie winning the event's single-cylinder class.
These early Matchless motorcycles were JAP powered but in 1912 the firm introduced a 500cc single of its own design. Nevertheless, within a short time it had gone, along with all the other singles, and for the next several years Matchless built only v-twins. By 1913 there were no fewer than six different models on offer ranging from 3½hp to 8hp in nominal rating. These included twin-cylinder 8hp models, one of which was fitted with a Matchless engine (the 7B) and the other a proprietary MAG. The latter was typed '8B'and later would form the basis for the legendary Model H motorcycle combination.
This 6hp Matchless was discovered at Lochiel in South Australia in the mid/late 1960s and purchased for £10 by the current vendor, who has carried out a painstaking restoration. In 1972 the restored Matchless won the concours event held for the opening of the National Motor Museum at Birdwood, South Australia, and in 1982 took top honours in the Concours d'Élégance at the 2nd 'Bay to Birdwood Run', awarded for the 'best presented combination of vehicle and occupants dressed in the period and style of the vehicle' (see certificate and press cuttings on file).
We are advised that the Sturmey Archer three-speed rear hub gear is an after-market fitting, making it feasible to ride the machine in today's conditions with a sidecar fitted. It has a 1909 ball bearing magneto fitted; the plain-bush original, a spare motor, and a Sturmey Archer hub are available as separate lots. Other noteworthy features include a Miller headlamp, Jones 60mph speedometer, P&H rear light, Lycett saddle, and leather tool boxes.