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

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Lot 397
1953 Matchless 498cc G45 Racing Motorcycle
Registration no. ESL 578 Frame no. G45 129 Engine no. G45 129

£ 28,000 - 38,000
US$ 37,000 - 50,000
1953 Matchless 498cc G45 Racing Motorcycle
Registration no. ESL 578
Frame no. G45 129
Engine no. G45 129
• One of the most beautiful and desirable British racing motorcycles ever made
• One of circa 80 made
• Last run in 2010

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.

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. Len Haggis had brought the Matchless back to the UK in 1998/1999 having purchased it in Austria from collector Gerhard Tempel. The G45 had been delivered new from Matchless to an Austrian buyer and was actively campaigned on circuits throughout Europe, where the G45 was a popular mount in period (riders unknown).

On repatriation, the Matchless was sold to a Mr Maslen of Horley, Surrey, who road registered the machine with the first MoT issued on 5th August 1999. At some point it was sold on to a Mr Searle of Loughton, Essex and later on was re-acquired by Mr Maslen. The current vendor, a prominent UK-based private collector and classic racer, purchased the machine from Verrall's of Handcross in 2010. The Matchless is now CRMCC registered (no.110454).

The original magnesium front hub having cracked, a new front wheel has been built by Conway's using a new Molnar hub, brake, rim and spokes (the original wheel is included in the sale). 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.
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
Auction information

LIVE AND ONLINE AUCTION
Please note that whilst viewing is available by appointment, the auction itself will be conducted from a remote saleroom, behind closed doors without public access, in accordance with the current government guidelines.

Bidding Notices

VIEWING
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VIEWING TIMES
Wednesday 12 August 1pm to 5pm
Thursday 13 August 9am to 5pm
Friday 14 August 9am to 5pm
Saturday 15 August 9am to 5pm (Lots 501-704 only)

SALE TIMES
Friday 14 August Spares & Memorabilia (Lot 1 - 212) 10am
Saturday 15 August Motorcycles (Lot 301 - 462) 10am
Sunday 16 August Motorcycles (Morbidelli) (Lot 501 - 704) 10am

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Buyer's Premium Rates
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25% of the hammer price of amounts in excess of £2,500 up to and including £300,000;
20% of the hammer price of amounts in excess of £300,000 up to and including £3,000,000;
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