1962 Matchless G50

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Lot 157
1962 Matchless G50

Sold for US$ 57,500 inc. premium
1962 Matchless G50

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 in international-level road racing in its day, and is still hugely popular in Classic 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.

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 30lb lighter, and so more agile, more than equal in its steering and handling, and far simpler to maintain for the average club racer. The architect of the G50, and the man who would painstakingly wring 0.5 horsepower here, another fraction there, during the five short years of the G50's life, was AMC's legendary development engineer, Jack Williams, whose son Peter would in turn to achieve some of the most remarkable Isle of Man TT performances ever wrought on a single-cylinder racer on the Arter-framed G50 in the early '70s. Yet it was not until 1984 that a Matchless finally won an Isle of Man TT; American Dave Roper won the first Historic TT on his Team Obsolete G50. A testament to the enduring popularity of the Matchless racer is its ongoing production, with replicas continuing to be built in order to pack Classic racing grids around the world. Indeed, after the demise of the AMC factory in 1966, the rights and tooling for the bike were purchased by Colin Seeley, who resumed production of the G50 engine to equip his own good-handling, lightweight frames.

Only around 180 original G50s were built in AMC's East London Plumstead factory during the five years of production, but the bike nonetheless had a remarkable career at all levels of road racing, and indeed in the USA enabled Dick Mann to clinch the 1963 AMA Grand National Championship. The fact that so few examples were built makes a genuine original G50 a prized acquisition today, and the example offered for sale is one of the very last batch of 50 machines built in 1962. It was acquired in 1964 by rising English star Steve Jolly, who in addition to winning many British short circuit races on it, finished 17th in the 1967 IoM Senior TT, before acquiring a lighter, lower, more modern Seeley G50 on which he built a reputation as a GP racer. Jolly retained the original G50 as a spare, though, and after he retired from racing he sold it to racing journalist Alan Cathcart, himself a Matchless G50 rider from 1975 up to the present day. Cathcart sold it in 1985 to our vendor. The bike is understood to be in running order, requiring only re-commissioning, and is completely original apart from the period addition of a cooling ring shrunk around the front brake drum.


  • Offered on a Bill of Sale.
1962 Matchless G50
1962 Matchless G50
1962 Matchless G50
1962 Matchless G50
1962 Matchless G50
1962 Matchless G50
1962 Matchless G50
Auction information

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