c.1965 Matchless 500cc G85CS type Scrambles
Frame no. TBA
Engine no. TBA
It could be said in today's vibrant classic scene that AJS and Matchless are sometimes overshadowed by all the attention and focus on BSA, Triumph, and Norton. It would also be unfair and, if we measure the column inches AMC achieve in the classic press, it would be untrue. In pre-war days the London firm's policy was to use AJS for competition and racing purposes, as well as for highway models, while the Matchless label was exclusively used on road bikes. However, when production resumed in 1946, and respective ranges were by now almost identical, both marques listed trials, scrambles and racing models, albeit Ajay had to "make do" with a 350, the 7R, while Matchless filled the more prestigious 500 Class with the G45; in this instance AJS getting the better bargain! Both brands fostered their fair share of off-road "aces": Hugh Viney, Geoff Ward, and Gordon Jackson are but three on the AJS side, while Matchless signings included the Ratcliffe brothers, Basil Hall, Brian Stonebridge and Dave Curtis. The firm's beautifully constructed "works" machines bore only cosmetic resemblance to their over-the-counter offerings; hand-built in the comp shop at Plumstead Road the team machines incorporated many special parts, and had motors that were the envy of main rivals BSA. Nevertheless an AMC "works" scrambler didn't suit everyone; looking back only three riders were fully capable of harnessing these machines, namely Ward, Stonebridge, and Curtis, for even the factory bikes retained the less than perfect handling characteristics of the standard G80CS-series production machine. It goes without saying that all three members of AMC's factory Scrambles Team were immensely strong! As sold to the public the stock model G80CS was very overweight compared with a "works" bike, or a standard Gold Star, nor did it handle as well but they were reasonably quick and reliable. Factory bosses unfortunately were so remote from press and customer criticism inasmuch the G80CS continued in production from 1956 to 1965, during which time it received a minimum of modifications and/or improvements.
Finally in 1966, and believed to have been triggered by the popularity of BBC TV's Grandstand Scrambles, the penny dropped. In what was an unprecedented reaction AMC introduced the G85CS, a genuinely new model with a purpose-designed frame, alloy fuel tank, ultra light hubs, and a set of cycle parts requiring no further modifications. Less than 200 were built for sale, but thus mounted, Vic Eastwood, Chris Horsfield, and Dave Nicol enjoyed many successes. The red and silver G85CS type has been assembled by vendor Dave Curtis, who stresses that the machine is a built-up collection of parts, and is not a genuine ex production line machine. Amongst the items he is anxious to pinpoint are: the street model front hub, a T120 alloy tapered rear, glass fibre fuel tank, P11 frame and, most importantly, that the engine is a speedway spec motor [identified by the truncated fins] that he purchased, unused, without any accompanying history. The machine has not been started during his ownership and will require a comprehensive mechanical check before starting. Offered without documentation.