1959 Matchless G3/L

One of 457 Royal Auxiliary Fire Service G3s, Rare CS Tank, Matching Numbers


This 1959 Matchless G3 is a great rider with some pretty rare and unique features. It is a well sorted example of the classic Matchless 350CC thumper.  The G3 was first produced for the british military in World War Two. It was actually an evolution of the pre-war G3 but massively improved, lightened, and fitted with teledraulic oil damping forks, the first motorcycle to introduce the fork technology that is still the basis for all modern fork designs. This G3 also happens to be one of 457 G3s ordered for the Royal British Auxuliary Fire Service.

Here's the email I got from the Auxilary Fire Service registrar, David Stapleton:

Hi Angus

You are not going to believe this...

Your Matchless IS an ex AFS (Auxiliary Fire Service) Matchless motorcycle.  Your frame number confirms this and I can tell you from the records that your engine number should be 59/G3 38383, am I correct? {he was}

So there you are, it's always worth a long shot, and my hunch paid off.

Anyway, about your Matchless, we have it in the AFS Matchless Database and I can tell you the following about it:

It’s original British Registration Number was WXR 589 (my own 1959 AFS Matchless is WXR 594 from the same batch).

It was built as part of the third Home Office/Ministry of Supply contract for 50 AFS motorcycles in 1959 – WXR 551 to WXR 600.

It would have been painted in Home Office specification Deep Bronze Green.

It was despatched from the Matchless factory to the Home Office on the 16th July 1959.

After being delivered to the Home Office it was issued to the Yorkshire West Riding Fire Brigade and was station at Royston (Royston is 17 miles from where I now live).

When the AFS was disbanded in 1968 your Matchless was returned to the Home Office and it was placed for sale at a Ministry of Supply auction at MoS Ruddington in Nottinghamshire in Sale Number 100 on the 30th April 1969 as Lot No. 1005.  I have a copy of the original sale catalogue and will send you scan of the relevant page showing your Matchless for sale.

This bike was restored some years ago and fitted with a CS tank. I am told these tanks are very difficult to come by and are worth quite a bit in their own right.

We just had the following work completed on it:

  • Rebuilt front forks: new seals, spacers and fork oil
  • Refit charging system. Replace damaged stator with used item. Install spacer on stator to take up excess space. Install bushing and seal power lead exit from primary case. 
  • Manually time ignition maximum advance to 39° BTDC with dial indicator and degree wheel. 
  • Install Boyer electronic ignition. Wire into wiring harness.
  • Install new ignition switch. Wire in charging system, Re- mount battery. Install rubber hold down, Install new fuel lines, flush and refit gas tank, seat etc. Fabricate shouldered front brake pivot bolt 
  • Re-fit exhaust system to clear kick starter. 
  • Hardware, new Front axle nut, 3 qts Motorcycle oil, Primary oil, Wire, shrink wrap etc. 

Riding the bike you get the quintessential british bike experience. Controls on the wrong side, beautiful sound, and epic looks. The drum brakes are working well, the clutch uptake is smooth, and the Amal carb well tuned. Matchless motors are tend to be pretty bulletproof- that's why they were pretty much the only bike the British military used during WWII. The bike does have some nice patina to it as well as a few touchups on the tank and the frame. The transmission is a Norton unit, which shifts easily and precisely. You can see from the video below that the bike will start on one or two kicks from cold.

G3s do not often come up for sale on this side of the pond.  An ex-AFS bike with a CS tank is a real piece of history, and we are extremely proud to offer it.

Please use the contact box below for any questions, call 631-318-0155 or simply email info@northeast-sportscar.com

Please click the pictures below for an enlarged version of each. 

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