1931 Matchless 592cc Silver Hawk Frame no. B721 Engine no. B667

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Lot 405
1931 Matchless 592cc Silver Hawk
Registration no. GP 437 Frame no. B721 Engine no. B667

Sold for £ 37,950 (US$ 48,335) inc. premium
1931 Matchless 592cc Silver Hawk
Registration no. GP 437
Frame no. B721
Engine no. B667
• Rare 1930s four-cylinder motorcycle
• Formerly part of the Ivor Halbert Collection
• An older restoration

Reviewing the v-four Silver Hawk at its launch in the autumn of 1930, Motor Cycling stated that this exciting overhead-camshaft model was "designed primarily to give really high speed, and to give this speed with silence and the added safety of a spring frame". The early 1930s was a period of severe economic depression, yet the 1931 Motorcycle Show at Olympia in London witnessed the launch of not one but two four-cylinder models aimed at the very top of the market. The ultimate fates of the two newcomers would turn out to be very different however; Ariel's offering – the Square Four – would enjoy a lengthy production life lasting into the 1950s, whereas the rival Matchless Silver Hawk would be gone within four years.

Matchless had introduced another vee-engined model, the twin-cylinder Silver Arrow, the previous year, and the Silver Hawk's design shared many of the 'Arrow's features, most notably the narrow-included angle of the cylinders: 26 degrees. Displacing a total of 592cc, the cylinders were contained within one casting and topped by a single 'head, just like the Arrow's, but the Hawk was intended to be a luxury sports-tourer and so enjoyed the advantages conferred by overhead-camshaft valve gear. Drive to the upstairs cam was by shaft and bevel gears, and there was no denying that the v-four Silver Hawk's was one impressive looking motor. The frame and cycle parts followed Silver Arrow lines, incorporating cantilever rear suspension broadly similar to that adopted later by Vincent-HRD. Expensive to make and introduced at the wrong time, the Silver Arrow failed to sell despite its mouth-watering specification and was quietly dropped in 1935.

First registered in May 1931, this Silver Hawk was purchased at a UK auction in 2009 having formed part of the Ivor Halbert Collection for many years. An older restoration, the machine is offered from an important UK private collection and will require re-commissioning before returning to the road (the last MoT expired in 1997). Noteworthy features include 12-volt electrics, electronic ignition, and a Smiths 80mph speedometer. The machine is offered with a V5C document and a small quantity of spares.

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

  • Please click the link to view a video of Lot 405, including an interview with Robert Lusk: click here Please click the link to view the walkaround video of Lot 405: click here
Contacts
1931 Matchless 592cc Silver Hawk Frame no. B721 Engine no. B667
1931 Matchless 592cc Silver Hawk Frame no. B721 Engine no. B667
1931 Matchless 592cc Silver Hawk Frame no. B721 Engine no. B667
1931 Matchless 592cc Silver Hawk Frame no. B721 Engine no. B667
1931 Matchless 592cc Silver Hawk Frame no. B721 Engine no. B667
Auction information

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