Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Matchless Motorcycle identified

I mentioned in my blog entry about our recent visit to the Military and Flying Machines Show that I had seen an example of a Matchless motorcycle that was built in Plumstead ... which is near to where we live.

Since then Neil Fox (who I have known since we both took part in the famous Madasahatta Campaign back in the early 1980s) has been in contact with some further information. Neil's father is a member of the AJS & Matchless Owner Club, and he was able to identify the particular motorbike model. It is a model G80CS, dating from the mid 1960's, and it was designed for off-road use as well as day-to-day riding. It is powered by a BSA 500cc engine of the same type used in the contemporary BSA GoldStar, and it was regarded as being one of the fastest motorbikes you could buy at that time.

Neil's father also pointed out that Steve McQueen thought very highly of the AMC machines (Associated Motor Cycles (AMC) was formed in 1938, and was the parent company for Matchless and AJS motorcycles), and used them in contemporary off-road competitions in the USA.

Note: In the film THE GREAT ESCAPE Steve McQueen rode another British-built motorcycle – a Triumph TT Special 650 – that was made to look as much like a German motorcycle as possible.


  1. I don't think that is a Gold Star engine, Bob. The magneto and the dynamo, if fitted, were both behind the cylinder block on a Gold Star and BSA and AMC were rival companies.

  2. Bob,

    My late father in law used to ride a Matchless, he used to tell me about it, loved his bikes! He lived in Plumstead when younger so I guess the Matchless was a natural choice, he certainly got around on it. Must have covered much of the UK on it! We saw one once at a bike show, lovely machine.


  3. Nobby,

    I bow to your greater knowledge of motorbikes; I am just passing on what I was told.

    Whichever model it is, it is a classic British motorcycle, isn't it?



  4. Whichever engine, it is a lovely machine :0)

  5. 'Lee,

    Your father-in-law could not have lived in Plumstead and ridden anything other than a Matchless! The locals would have run him out of town for using another manufacturer's machine.

    Seriously, I understand that the Matchless had a devoted following, and that they were regarded as being amongst the best motorcycles in the world.

    All the best,