1959 MATCHLESS G80 BACKGROUND
As was the case with virtually all Matchless motorcycles, sister-company AJS had a nearly-identical version which they called the Model 18. Matchless had cut its teeth, and built its reputation fielding fast, robust and reliable big singles (ie: 350cc and 500cc). The Matchless G80/AJS Model 18 were pushrod-operated OHV singles with a nearly “square” bore and stroke, unusual in an era dominated by long-stroke (undersquare) designs.
MATCHLESS G80 FROM AMC
Matchless and AJS were part of the (at one time) gigantic AMC empire. AMC, short for Associated Motor Cycles, was formed by the owners of Matchless and AJS in 1938 to hold an expanding stable of British motorcycle brands. These would ultimately include Matchless, AJS, Norton, Sunbeam, James and Francis-Barnett. But by the time this G80 was built, AMC was already in decline. By 1960 they’d dropped everything but Norton and the Matchless/AJS singles, trying to focus their resources. It didn’t help. By 1966 AMC was broke and Matchless went with it. Norton survived a few more years. Pity that.