1938 Matchless 982cc Model X Frame no. 651 Engine no. 38/X 5363

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Lot 326* N
1938 Matchless 982cc Model X
Registration no. not UK registered Frame no. 651 Engine no. 38/X 5363

Sold for £ 31,050 (US$ 40,788) inc. premium
1938 Matchless 982cc Model X
Registration no. not UK registered
Frame no. 651
Engine no. 38/X 5363
• Charismatic 1930s v-twin
• Offered from a private collection
• Recent extensive refurbishment

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. Both Colliers would be on the start-line for the inaugural Isle of Man TT race in 1907, with Charlie winning the event's single-cylinder class, an achievement that brought Matchless worldwide recognition. Further TT wins followed in 1909 and 1910, cementing the marque's reputation for sporting prowess.

These early Matchless motorcycles 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. Matchless had offered v-twin sidecar tugs from its earliest days, and by 1913 there were no fewer than six different models on offer ranging from 3½hp to 8hp in nominal rating. These included 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.

Production of these MAG-engined models resumed after The Great War and continued into the 1920s despite the presence of a more modern Matchless-engined rival in the range. Designated 'X/2' on its launch in 1925, this 982cc sidevalve v-twin would remain in production until the outbreak of WW2, its engine being supplied to Brough Superior for use in the SS80 from 1935 onwards. While lesser models came and went, the stately Model X remained a fixture of the range, progressively updated, until 1940. The most significant upgrades along the way were introduced for 1937 when the Model X adopted a shorter frame, restyled fuel tank, and front-mounted magneto.

Offered from a private collection, this Model X benefits from significant recent refurbishment. Works undertaken include re-chroming and painting the fuel tank, re-chroming the exhaust pipes, and rebuilding the wheels using new Devon stainless steel rims, the latter centre-lined and shod with new Avon Speedmaster MkII tyres. The electrical system has been converted to 12-volt operation and uses an LED headlamp bulb. It should be noted that the dynamo is not in use and thus the electrics are 'total loss'. Last started in September 2019, the engine is said to run smoothly, while the gears engage easily. There are no documents with this Lot.

Footnotes

  • Should the vehicle remain in Europe, import VAT of 5% will be added to the Hammer Price and Buyer's Premium.

    As with all Lots in the Sale, this Lot is sold 'as is/where is' and Bidders must satisfy themselves as to the provenance, condition, age, completeness and originality prior to bidding.
Contacts
1938 Matchless 982cc Model X Frame no. 651 Engine no. 38/X 5363
1938 Matchless 982cc Model X Frame no. 651 Engine no. 38/X 5363
1938 Matchless 982cc Model X Frame no. 651 Engine no. 38/X 5363
1938 Matchless 982cc Model X Frame no. 651 Engine no. 38/X 5363
1938 Matchless 982cc Model X Frame no. 651 Engine no. 38/X 5363
1938 Matchless 982cc Model X Frame no. 651 Engine no. 38/X 5363
1938 Matchless 982cc Model X Frame no. 651 Engine no. 38/X 5363
1938 Matchless 982cc Model X Frame no. 651 Engine no. 38/X 5363
1938 Matchless 982cc Model X Frame no. 651 Engine no. 38/X 5363
1938 Matchless 982cc Model X Frame no. 651 Engine no. 38/X 5363
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* Import low rate

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N NOVA declaration

If purchased by a UK resident, this machine is subject to a NOVA declaration, undertaken by Bonhams upon a successful sale, to facilitate the registration of the machine here in the UK.