Unique V-Twin Brooklands/TT Works Racer
Matchless had enjoyed considerable success using the JAP-engines with numerous Isle of Man TT wins and podium places between 1907 and 1909 ridden by Charlie and Harry Collier, sons of the company founder Henry Collier.
Despite this success, in 1913 the family switched to engines supplied by the Swiss Motosacoche (meaning engine-in-a bag) factory whose proprietary engines were distributed under the MAG name. These 496cc semi-hemispherical units were advanced and solidly built, but were strictly works specials that were never offered for general sale.
In the 1913 TT two of the new Matchless/MAG V-twin works racers entered by the Collier brothers suffered broken valve gear and a puncture respectively. However, the next month, Harry Collier rode to four wins at the famous Brooklands circuit with a fastest lap of 65.22mph. For 1914 the team was strengthened by the inclusion of Bert Colver who enjoyed considerable success both at home and at various European events.
Originally fitted with an Armstrong 3-speed hub, this was found to be the machines “weak link” as stripped pinions and slippage from gear when applying power were common faults. The machine was later fitted with the more robust Royal Enfield 3 speed unit. Indeed, there is actually very little “Matchless” making up the machine apart from forks, tank and handle bars. The frame is actually a Royal Enfield design of the kind supplied to Motosoacoche during that period.
Only around half a dozen of these works racers were ever made in the period before WW1 and this is the only surviving example. Restored between 2015-2018 by our chief restorer, Colin Wall, who declared it “the most difficult restoration I have ever attempted”
|Engine:||496cc (64 x 77mm) air-cooled overhead-valve V-twin, Amac carburettor, Bosch magneto ignition.|
|Transmission:||Chain primary drive, multi plate clutch, Royal Enfield three-speed gearbox, chain final drive.|
|Chassis:||Tubular frame, girder fork front suspension, stirrup brakes.|