1912 Matchless 8hp Model 7
Registration no. CE 5510 (see text)
Frame no. A768
Engine no. 12181
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 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. 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 Model 7 would have been equipped with pedalling gear and a two-speed VS rear hub originally but the frame has been stretched to accommodate the countershaft gearbox currently installed, and the silencer shifted from in front of the engine to behind it. 'CE 5510' was owned from 1977 to 2003 by Anthony E Silvey of Rampton, Cambridgeshire, whose name appears on the accompanying Pioneer Certificate. The current vendor acquired the machine in 2003. We are advised that the Matchless was restored in 2004 while more recent refurbishment has included a repaint, nickel plating of brightwork, fitting new tyres and sealing the fuel tank. The provision of a three-speed gearbox is the only notified deviation from factory specification. Described by the private vendor as in generally very good condition, the machine is offered with Certificate of Permanent Export and old-style continuation logbook (issued 1977). The latter records the date of first registration as 18th January 1921, this being shortly after the introduction of the Roads Act of 1920, which required local councils to register all vehicles at the time of licensing and to allocate a separate number to each. (Many vehicles, although in existence for several years in some cases, were only registered for the first time after the Act's passing). 'CE 5510' is listed in DVLA records, enabling it to be issued with a V5C registration document on the completion and submission of Form V62.
- For the new owner to retain the Pioneer certificate the motorcycle will need to be returned to its 2 speed VS rear hub configuration.