The beginning (1878)
Henry Herbert Collier founded a company to make bicycles under the Matchless name in Plumstead (London) in 1878.
The first Matchless bicycle
The company rapidly achieved great success selling bicycles .
Charlie & Harry Collier, 1904 indoor track at Olympia
The first Matchless motorcycle was made in 1899, and manufacture began in 1901. All motorcycles were marked by a winged M on the tank, a symbol that shortly became synonymous with quality and a premium riding experience.
Harry Collier and a racing twin
Riding his Matchless, Charlie Collier, Henry's son, won the first Tourist Trophy in 1907, the mythical motorcycle race, that still run today on the Isle of Man. Harry went on to win the race in 1909 and 1910.
The stamp for the victory of Charlie Collier in the Tourist Trophy
Thanks to the foresight of its enterpreneurs, Matchless was the first motorcycle company to work on rider safety, creating a department of studies where clothing was designed to protect the motorcyclist (clothing was then tested by the best riders of the time).
The first motorcycle exclusively designed for ladies
Advertisement had an impact in the 1930s as well
The production factory in Plumstead Road grew quickly thanks to the huge manufactured motorcycles success. Beside the factory was opened a store that became a mythical place of reference for every motorcyclist.
Factory in Plumstead, London
Partial view of the factory in Plumstead Road - London - and technical wear store
Among the most famous pre-war models, there were the Silver Arrow and the Silver Hawk, top motorcycles of the period (respectively two and four cylinders).
In 1931, Matchless acquired AJS, Sunbeam and Norton and established AMC (Associated Motorcycles Companies). Over the same period Matchless started supplying engines to Brough Superior (those engines were made to the specifications of Brough Superior).
George Brough on his Brough Superior, "The Rolls Royce of Motorcycles" with Matchless engine
During the same period, Matchless developed a deep know-how of leather clothing, with specialities in clothing for motocycle racing.
1927 Matchless Wear Catalogue
1928 Matchless Wear Catalogue
1928 Matchless Wear Catalogue
Post War 1945-1955
In the post-war period, Matchless started the production of the single-cylinder 350cc and G80 500cc. These models, developed from the G3 model produced for the British army, gained great success in the market as to be considered the most performing and elegant motorcycles of the period.
A truly gentleman riding a 350cc G3L Matchless
Truly ladies wore and rode Matchless
In 1958, the road bikes were joined by a 250cc and 350cc for a lightweight series. Matchless produced racing motorcycles with winners in all classes. Matchless G50 and G45 were the most widespread among riders and gained many victories. In 1959 the G50 single-cylinder racer was made available for privateers.
At the end of the 60s, Matchless detaches itself from Norton and continues its production in its London plant in Plumstead road.
Matchless factory in the '50s
Factory testers riding Matchless with Norton engine
Matchless advertising until the 30s, shows for the first time the link between motorcycle and elegance