1953 Matchless 498cc G45 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. G45 129 Engine no. G45 129

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Lot 427
1953 Matchless 498cc G45 Racing Motorcycle
Registration no. ESL 578 Frame no. G45 129 Engine no. G45 129

£ 28,000 - 36,000
US$ 37,000 - 47,000
Amended
1953 Matchless 498cc G45 Racing Motorcycle
Registration no. ESL 578
Frame no. G45 129
Engine no. G45 129
• One of circa 80 made
• Last run in 2010

One of the oldest of British motorcycle manufacturers, Matchless pursued a vigorous competition policy in its early years, founder's son Charlie Collier winning the inaugural Isle of Man TT (single-cylinder) race of 1907 and repeating the feat in 1910, brother Harry having brought home the honours in 1909. However, by the 1930s Matchless had ceased to be thought of as a racing marque and after WW2 the firm, by now reconstituted as Associated Motor Cycles having acquired AJS, chose the latter's badge for its competition machines. In this context the arrival of a new Matchless racing motorcycle in 1951 caused something of a stir.

The prototype of what would become the G45 first appeared at the '51 Manx Grand Prix with Robin Sherry in the saddle, eventually finishing 4th after a promising debut. In fact the machine was not an entirely new design but essentially a hybrid comprised of AJS 7R-based cycle parts into which was installed a tuned Matchless G9 roadster engine. The engine's bottom-end remained more-or-less stock G9 and retained AMC's unique centre-bearing crankshaft, but above the crankcase there was a new aluminium-alloy cylinder barrel and 'head, the latter sporting distinctively finned exhaust rocker boxes. Fuel was supplied by a single Amal TT carburettor and exhausted via short, megaphone-ended pipes.

In 1952 the prototype G45 garnered much valuable publicity and not a little controversy when Derek Farrant - later an AJS works rider on both Porcupine and 7R3 - won the Senior Manx Grand Prix after leading from start to finish. Strictly speaking, a works prototype had no business running in an event for amateurs riding over-the-counter machines, but AMC quickly announced that a production G45 would be available for 1953. Although still based on that of the G9, the production version's engine incorporated a different camshaft, which opened the valves via roller-ended followers, and breathed via a pair of Amal GP carburettors mounted either side of a central float chamber. Claimed power output was 48bhp at 7,200rpm, increasing on later models to 54bhp at 7,400 revs.

Apart from revised valve gear and the eventual adoption of a forged crankshaft, the G45 changed little over the course of its life and what developments there were did not keep pace with the opposition. At the end of the 1954 season, AMC announced a cutback in its racing programme, which meant the end for the Porcupine and the 7R3, though the G45 and 7R continued to be developed and raced. Production of the G45 ceased in 1957 after around 80 machines had been built, of which approximately half are believed to survive worldwide today. Before then, the works team's best result at international level with the G45 had been Rod Coleman's 2nd place in the 1954 Ulster Grand Prix.

Previously road-registered in Austria, this rare Matchless G45 has been registered in the UK since 1999 - incorrectly - as '750cc' and '1956'. However, the vendor has uncovered the Reynolds Tube Company stamping on the frame indicating that it is in fact of 1953 manufacture. It should be noted; the front brake hub displays a minor crack/fracture and prospective bidders should satisfy themselves as to the machines condition prior to bidding. Last run at Cadwell Park in 2010, the machine will require re-commissioning to a greater or lesser extent before further use. A rare opportunity to acquire one of the most beautiful and desirable British racing motorcycles ever made.

Footnotes

  • 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.

Saleroom notices

  • The frame number is 129. The machine is offered with a CRMC Certificate.
Contacts
1953 Matchless 498cc G45 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. G45 129 Engine no. G45 129
1953 Matchless 498cc G45 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. G45 129 Engine no. G45 129
1953 Matchless 498cc G45 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. G45 129 Engine no. G45 129
1953 Matchless 498cc G45 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. G45 129 Engine no. G45 129
1953 Matchless 498cc G45 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. G45 129 Engine no. G45 129
1953 Matchless 498cc G45 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. G45 129 Engine no. G45 129
1953 Matchless 498cc G45 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. G45 129 Engine no. G45 129
1953 Matchless 498cc G45 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. G45 129 Engine no. G45 129
1953 Matchless 498cc G45 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. G45 129 Engine no. G45 129
1953 Matchless 498cc G45 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. G45 129 Engine no. G45 129
1953 Matchless 498cc G45 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. G45 129 Engine no. G45 129
1953 Matchless 498cc G45 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. G45 129 Engine no. G45 129
1953 Matchless 498cc G45 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. G45 129 Engine no. G45 129
1953 Matchless 498cc G45 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. G45 129 Engine no. G45 129
1953 Matchless 498cc G45 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. G45 129 Engine no. G45 129
1953 Matchless 498cc G45 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. G45 129 Engine no. G45 129
1953 Matchless 498cc G45 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. G45 129 Engine no. G45 129
1953 Matchless 498cc G45 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. G45 129 Engine no. G45 129
1953 Matchless 498cc G45 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. G45 129 Engine no. G45 129
1953 Matchless 498cc G45 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. G45 129 Engine no. G45 129
1953 Matchless 498cc G45 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. G45 129 Engine no. G45 129
1953 Matchless 498cc G45 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. G45 129 Engine no. G45 129
1953 Matchless 498cc G45 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. G45 129 Engine no. G45 129
1953 Matchless 498cc G45 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. G45 129 Engine no. G45 129
1953 Matchless 498cc G45 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. G45 129 Engine no. G45 129
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