1934 Matchless Silver Hawk Frame no. 982 Engine no. TBC
Lot 303
1934 Matchless 592cc Silver Hawk Frame no. 982 Engine no. B1878
Sold for £35,600 (US$ 59,837) inc. premium
Lot Details
1934 Matchless 592cc Silver Hawk
Registration no. DW 8743
Frame no. 982
Engine no. B1878
The early 1930s was a period of severe economic depression, yet the 1931 Motorcycle Show at Olympia, London witnessed the launch of not one but two four-cylinder models aimed at the very top of the market. The ultimate fates of the two newcomers would turn out to be very different however. Ariel's offering – the Square Four – would enjoy a lengthy production life lasting into the 1950s, whereas the rival Matchless Silver Hawk would be gone within four years.

Matchless had introduced another vee-engined model, the twin-cylinder Silver Arrow, the previous year, and the Silver Hawk's design shared many of the 'Arrow's features, most notably the narrow included angle of the cylinders: 26 degrees. Displacing a total of 592cc, the latter were contained within one casting and topped by a single 'head, just like the Arrow's, but the Hawk was intended to be a luxury sports-tourer and so enjoyed the advantages conferred by overhead-camshaft valve gear. Drive to the upstairs cam was by shaft and bevel gears, and there was no denying that the v-four Silver Hawk's was one impressive-looking motor. The frame and cycle parts followed Silver Arrow lines, incorporating cantilever rear suspension broadly similar to that adopted later by Vincent-HRD. Expensive to make and introduced at the wrong time, the Silver Arrow failed to sell despite its mouth-watering specification and was quietly dropped in 1935.

This stunning example was totally restored in 2008 - with no expense spared - by the Sammy Miller Museum's own workshops to their customary impeccable standard. Described as totally original and running like a dream, the machine is offered with sundry restoration invoices, old-style continuation logbook, current MoT and Swansea V5 document.

Saleroom notices

  • The engine number is B 801.