Matchless is one of the oldest manufacturers of British motorcycles with their first motorcycles being manufactured at the start of the 20th century. Matchless branded motorcycles were originally produced in Plumstead, London from 1899 to 1966 until the owners dropped the name.
A wide range of motorcycles were produced under the Matchless name that ranged from small two-strokes to large four-stroke twin cylinders of which the most famous early Matchless motorcycles were the Silver Hawk and the Silver Arrow.
Matchless also had a history of racing and on one occasion a Matchless motorcycle was ridden by Charlie R Collier who won the very first single cylinder race in the very first Isle of Man TT which was back in 1907.
In 1931, Colliers bought AJS and by 1938 both Matchless and AJS became part of Associated Motorcycles under which both manufacturers were producing their own motorcycles. During the 1960s amalgamations that occurred in the British motorcycle industry, the Matchless was forced to replace their 4-stroke engine with the Norton twin which ending their long history of independent production.
By 1958 the Matchless and AJS motorcycle lines were joined and began producing a street bike which had a 250 cc engine but by 1960 they had moved up to a 350 cc for their lightweight series of singles.
In 1966, although Matchless and AJS motorcycles produced well-made, reliable and economical motorcycles, for their day, their sales unfortunately was not enough to keep them in business and due to poor sales they became a new company which was called Norton-Villier.
Original Authors: Nicholas
Edit Update Authors: M.A.Harris
Updated On: 03/06/2008