got a new job. my boss is an old british bike nut, and tells me he has a 1955 G45 basket case, somewhat rusty.
his has been modified somewhat by someone who somehow tried to incorporate a norton P11 interpretation. my boss tells me the bike is mostly there, with the big tank, forks, wheels, and engine. missing a seat, megaphones, and the flyscreen shown above. he says the bottom of the fuel tank is "lacy . . . " with rust. possibly original carbs.
as i understand it, damn few of these things ever came to america. i've asked him to show me some pictures.
my boss is an old british bike nut, and tells me he has a 1955 G45 basket case,
Don't tell your boss, but Martin Redman wrote in the 'Illustrated AJS & Matchless Buyer's Guide' that "Never fully developed, the G45 was neither fast enough nor reliable enough to achieve much." He continued, "A surprising number of G45s have survived and they are seen regularly at Classic events."
Well, in a 1981 issue of "Classic Bike "article on the Matchless G45, former works mechanic, Jim Boughen, recalled being told by Giulio Carcano ( the force behind Guzzi's racing successes during the '50's ) that he thought the G45 was fantastic for what it was.......... a hotted up road bike ! It was estimated that around eighty G45's were produced, plus a few spare engines for sidecar racing, two of the best known exponents being Pip Harris and Ted Davis. Anyway, in my book, the Matchless G45 achieved more during its short epoch in that high level road racing than twin cylinder products from Meridan or Small Heath , at that time !
he thought the G45 was fantastic for what it was.......... a hotted up road bike !
That sounds more than a little like feint praise for a bike competing on the GP circuit. You might have included a few more quotes from that article:
"Nonetheless, the G45 was a lemon, and even the works team had troubles." "We had so many complaints from private owners that the factory actually stopped production in '57 after only four machines had been made from that year's planned batch of 25." "Nobody was buying them, and people were giving G45s away just to be shot of them." "They were very quick in a straight line, but you couldn't get them to stay together."
After all those bad things about the G45 that section of the article ended with the Carcano quote to somewhat balance the scales.
That's not to say I wouldn't love to have a G45 myself, warts and all.
Granted, the reliability problems were mainly due to fierce cam timing, and triple valve springs, which would cause rocker pedestal breakage. Back in the day, a bloke here in Australia ( relatively, quite a few G45's came to Australia and New Zealand ), got his G45 going well with less radical cams and dual valve springs. Another factor was the G45 had a narrow powerband, which required a skilfull rider to get the best from the deal. Yep, pretty good for a lemon to win the '52 Manx GP, with Derek Farrant also breaking the lap record four times ! Also, impetus in developing the G45 pretty much ended with Ike Hatch's death in 1954.
" Matchless- The Complete Story "by Mick Walker says 1953. " Matchless " by Peter Hartley says 1953. " AJS - The History of a Great Motorcycle " by Gregor Grant says 1953. " British Motorcycles Since 1950, Vol 1 " by Steve Wison, says 1952. " Whatever Happened to the British Motorcycle Industry " by Bert Hopwood, says 1952. 1963 was the year Norton Motors moved to Plumstead.
Last edited by Triless; 09/14/176:04 am. Reason: addition
P11 Conversion probably means the AMC engine was replaced with a Norton Atlas engine.
If true that would devalue it by about 75% in the eyes of the Classic racing scene. The special thing about a G45 is pretty much all about the engine. Even if it was a bit fragile.
An acquaintance of mine Neville Wooderson finished 28 th in the IOM 1953 Clubmans Senior on a G45. Neville was back at the Classic Manx this year as the owner of the BSA Goldstar ridden by Chris Swallow who got 7 th place and the first 100 mph race average for a Goldstar. Neville is a bit of a character. He was a plumber and a good friend of Sir Edmund Hillary (of Everest fame). He spent many years in Nepal building schools and hospitals. He was one of those NZers who used to go to Europe to race in the continental circus and I think the bike was semi supported by the factory.
Beautiful bike... I have daydreamed about making a replica from a 500 road twin. Don't tell your boss but... anyone seen the price of a pair of those magnesium wheel hubs lately? Or a set of those forks? Or genuine Dunlop alloy rims? Or a genuine Reynolds 531 racing frame? That rolling frame, wrong motor or not, is very valuable. "Hundreds" were never made, and I bet there were never fifteen in the USA.