1960 Matchless G50
Chassis no. 1784
Engine no. 1784
Big brother to the AJS 7R, with its roots right back to the 1928 'K7' single overhead camshaft roadster, the Matchless G50 was a machine introduced 'too late' for real Grand Prix laurels or even dare one say it a World Championship title, the 496cc G50 nonetheless had a remarkable career international-level road racing in its day, and is still hugely popular in Vintage racing throughout the world. Graced with only a single camshaft as compared with its chief rival's two (the Norton 'Manx'), the 'flying M' was still a worthy successor and competitor of its equally historically-rooted rival. The introduction of the patented Weller tensioner in the mid-1920s meant a simple chain could connect a crankshaft and camshaft, where previously chain 'whip' over a long run could skip sprocket teeth, with disastrous consequences. AJS, and Italian rival Benelli, took advantage of this new technology to build sporting overhead-camshaft engines which were less technically demanding to build, requiring less skilled labor, and less labor time than shaft-and-bevel OHC designs. A tremendous added benefit was the possibility of critical moving parts encased in tidy, and leak-free, chain cases. Thus the AJS 'K7' and its children, the racing 'R7' and '7R' of prewar days, and the redesigned '7R' of postwar fame, brought relatively inexpensive, simple, and fairly leak-free racing machines within reach of aspiring riders.
When introduced by parent company AMC in 1958, the G50 was immediately popular, and while slightly less sophisticated than its Norton rival, it was nonetheless 30lbs lighter (thus more agile), and far simpler to maintain for the average club racer. A testament to the enduring popularity of the 'last real Matchless' is its incredible lifetime of production, well past the demise of the AMC factory. The rights and tooling for the G50 were purchased by Colin Seeley from the ailing AMC in 1966, and the Matchless G50 has been in continual production ever since.
This genuine 1960 Matchless G50 has matching chassis and engine #s from the AMC factory (#1784), as confirmed by Matchless club records. It has been recently raced, and is an excellent opportunity to acquire one of the 'originals' built in the racing department at the AMC factory on Plumstead Road in London.
- This G50, chassis and engine #s 1784, has an extensive racing history as documented from new. In 1960, it took 5th place in the Manx Grand Prix, with rider C. Huxley. In 1961 Bernard Lund rode to 7th place in the Manx. From 1963-6 the machine was ridden by Stewart Graham, and took 4th in the Dutch Grand Prix, 2nd in the Belgian, and eventually made 4th in the World Championship.
Bernard Lund was reacquainted with this motorcycle in 1967/8, taking 19th and 5th places in the Isle of Man Senior