Matchless 1914 7HP “Model 8B” 992cc MAG IOE V-twin frame# 2729 engine # 2 C IX 34455
The first Matchless motorcycle was made by the Collier brothers in 1899. Manx TT results were very good between 1907 and 1912 for Charlie and Harry Collier and this gave a boost to the popularity of the make. In the 1912 line-up four machines were fitted with JAP single cylinder power sources, but the 1913 catalogue announced only V-twins: “We are convinced that the twin-cylinder engine is far superior to the single-cylinder engine of the same power, and are discontinuing the manufacture of machines fitted with the latter” it was stated. A new model for 1914 was the 8B, fitted with 82x91mm MAG engine but with “Matchless” cast into the crankcase. The catalogue description reads as follows: “The machine illustrated on opposite page is an entirely new production which we have designed to meet the demand for a powerful chain-driven passenger machine. Many months were spent in experimenting and testing before the gear was finally adopted and, in our opinion, the three-speed countershaft gear operated by a gate change and fitted with shock absorber overcomes all the defects which have been found on chain-driven machines in the past. The drive is by silent chain from engine to countershaft and thence by large roller chain to the rear wheel. On the engine shaft a simple and most efficient shock absorber is fitted, which makes the drive as silent, smooth and silky as the belt, with greatly increased reliability. The silent chain has never before been used on motor cycles. A friction clutch is provided on the countershaft, controlled by foot. It is of the metal-to-metal type and consists of two phosphor bronze wedge-shape discs upon which is mounted the countershaft sprocket. These bronze discs are gripped between two V-shaped steel discs by the pressure of six springs, thus providing a very simple form of clutch, with very large contact surfaces. It is well-known that to obtain the best results from a metal-to-metal clutch it is necessary that the contact surfaces be well lubricated; a bypass in the main oil supply to the engine is therefore provided which automatically delivers oil to the interior of the clutch and from thence to the front driving chain. Both chains run in an oil-tight and dust-proof case, on the front of which is the oil connection for the clutch lubrication, described fully and illustrated in instruction book.
A neat and efficient form of kick starter is provided, consisting of a toothed segment, which, when pedal is pressed down, gears into a small pinion on the countershaft. The method of operating the gear is similar to that of the latest motor car, it being most essential to declutch when changing gear. A foot-operated internal expanding brake is provided in the rear hub. This brake gives a very powerful retarding effect, which is perfectly smooth and progressive.”
This mighty Matchless has been part of a private Dutch collection since 1996. Before that she was imported from New Zealand. Since 1996 the machine has been on display and has not been ridden. Some two years ago some maintenance work has been carried out and the engine is running well now. She can be described as a mellowed but sound older restoration. Some sensible modifications have been carried out: the original fairly useless front rim brake has been replaced by a younger Matchless internal expanding brake as used from ca. 1924 and the beaded-edge rims and tyres have been changed for wired-on ones. For easier control of the mixture an Amal carburettor has been fitted. The machine comes with acetylene lighting system and tyre pump.