1914 Matchless 7hp Model 8B Motorcycle Combination
Registration no. S 4611
Frame no. 02772
Engine no. 2C1X34592
Unlike the vast majority of Britains 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 firms 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 events single-cylinder class.
These early Matchlesses 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. Of the latter, the MAG-powered Model 8B was particularly well specified, being equipped with a kick-starter, three-speed countershaft gearbox, fully enclosed chain drive and rear hub brake. For 1915 an 8B/2 version featuring detachable wheels was offered. When civilian production recommenced after WWI, the famous Model H was an early addition to the range. A development of the 8B/2, the Model H was unusual in being offered as a motorcycle combination only, with integral sidecar chassis, sprung sidecar wheel, swinging-arm rear suspension and electric lighting. One of the most capable motorcycle combinations of its day, the Model H lasted in production until 1927.
This Matchless combination once resided within the famous Stanford Hall collection in Leicestershire and while there was pictured in Motor Cycle magazine (4th July 1963 edition). The machine later went to an important private collection in the South of England, and when that was dispersed on its owners death, was purchased by Brian Verrall at Brooks sale at The National Motor Museum, Beaulieu on 28th July 1999. At that time the machine was described as an older restoration, which, it has since been revealed, was carried out by apprentices at Norton Villiers Limiteds Plumstead factory, formerly the home of Associated Motor Cycles, which had been formed when Matchless took over AJS in 1931. Norton Villiers is recorded as owner at the time the accompanying old-style continuation logbook was issued in March 1968, while the machines Pioneer Certificate (issued 1993) notes that when its original Certificate had been issued in 1951, Associated Motor Cycles was the owner.
While in Brians care the Matchless has been ridden by him, with wife Margaret in the chair, on two Pioneer Runs 2001 and 2002 (its last outing) and comes with the relevant event programmes and competitor numbers. Other documentation on file includes four MoT certificates (the most recent valid until March 2004); three old tax discs; a number of expired SORNs; a quantity of photographs; copy and old-style Swansea V5s; current V5C document and a photocopied 1914 Matchless range brochure.
Courtesy of Bonhams and The Sunbeam Motor Cycle Club, complimentary inclusion in the 71st Pioneer Run for Veteran Motorcycles is included with this Lot. The Run takes place on the 22 March 2009.