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Lot 378: 1933 Matchless 500cc Model D5

Sale of Collectors' Motorcycles, Bonhams & Butterfields (12 November 2005)

Unlike the vast majority of Britain’s motorcycle manufacturers, which were located in the Birmingham and Coventry areas, Matchless were based in Plumstead, South London. Early ‘Matchboxes’ were JAP powered, but in 1912 the firm introduced a 500cc single of its own design. Nevertheless, within a short time it had gone, along with all the other singles, and for the next several years Matchless built only v-twins. Singles were reintroduced in the mid-1920s, the 250cc Model R sidevalve being the company’s first model to feature the gold-lined black tank that would characterise many later offerings. For 1931 a quartet of singles featuring the then fashionable inclined cylinders was added to the range, to which the D/5 sidevalve was a later addition. The latter was a ‘Light 500’ devised to take advantage of lower road tax for machines weighing less than 200lbs, yet came fully equipped with electric lighting. For 1933 a sturdier (and heavier) equivalent - the D5 - arrived and later that year the ‘Light 500’ was dropped. This incomplete D5 is offered for restoration.

Lot Details
Auction Sale of Collectors' Motorcycles
Bonhams & Butterfields, Petersen Museum, Los Angeles, CA
Lot Number378
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price$2000
Hammer Price (inc premium)$2300
Condition rating
Registration number
Chassis number
Engine number33/D5/2867
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors