2022 Shannons Summer Timed Online Auction

1928 Matchless LR2 350 Race Bike



Passed In


Engine 347cc OHC single
Gearbox Three-speed manual
Colour Black/white
Trim Black
Wheels Wire-spoked
Brakes Drum/drum


This lot is no longer available

Matchless was a name which first appeared in the 1890s on cycles manufactured by H H Collier, whose sons Charlie and Harry later joined him in the business. The firm’s first – experimental – motorcycle appeared in 1899 and its first production model in 1902. After World War I, Matchless restarted motorcycle production with its Model H, with an air-cooled V-twin, supplied with either a 976cc JAP sidevalve engine or a 996cc MAG head/sidevalve engine. The Model J was then produced in 1922 and 1923, with the same engines, as sports motorcycles. In 1923 Matchless also developed the 350cc Model L/2. This was a light, simple machine powered by a Blackburne 2¼HP sidevalve engine. The L/2 still had a flat tank, a three-speed gearbox and was delivered as standard without lighting, but with a kick starter. It also had drum brakes all around, but still an old-fashioned total loss lubrication system with an oil reservoir in the fuel tank and a hand pump for the ("drip feed") lubrication. By then Harry and Charlie Collier had also begun work on a 350cc racer for the 1923 Man TT with an engine of their own design, which turned out to be an overhead valve unit with a detachable cylinder head and an overhead camshaft driven by a king-shaft positioned behind the cylinder. However, the engine was not ready in time and as a stopgap measure, Blackburne engines were used in the 1923 event, without success. In 1924 Matchless brought the machine to market as the Model L/R2. Like the racer, this sports machine had a wet-sump lubrication system, which continued to cause problems. The lubrication system was complex and when it proved insufficient at speeds above 4000 rpm, an extra lubrication line with a tap was added. Also, the intake for the carburettor pointed slightly forward which was an invitation for moisture and dirt to come in unfiltered. Its brakes were also said to need better efficiency for sporty riders.