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AJS & Matchless

1952 AJS Motorcycle

One of the earliest motorcycle manufacturers in the UK was the Matchless Motorcycle Company. Founded in 1899, the firm enjoyed immediate success. Much valued publicity was gained for the firm with brothers Harry and Charley Collier’s racing success, which emphasized the speed, power and reliability of the Matchless machines.

In 1931, Matchless purchased rival AJS and in 1938, they purchased Sunbeam. All three companies were combined as Associated Motorcycles (AMC). By mid-century, Matchless and AJS Motorcycles were virtually the same machine which includes parallel 500 and 600 cc Twins. The 1952 AJS and the Matchless Model G9 of the same year were nearly identical with the exception of the name plate. Powered by a 500 cc Twin Engine, the AJS Model 18’s and the Matchless G9 were practically the same machine.

Matchless produced G3 and G3L Models for the armed forces during WWII. After the war, a great number of these machines became available to the public, providing a welcome utilitarian source of transportation during a time of scarce availability and high cost of petrol.

The AJS 1952 7R3 Model is one of the rarest of motorcycles since only four were built for the AJS Works Team. The machines were revamped two years later, fitted with Pannier fuel tanks and featuring a lower frame. Similarly the 1952 Matchless G80 and the 1952 AJS Model 18 four-stroke pushrod singles were the same machines sans name plates.

Made in the same facility, the forward positioning of the magnetos relative to the cylinder was the same on the Matchless and AJS Models. The only apparent difference was in the style covers