Matchless G3L – 350cc – 1947


The Matchless G3L is a significant motorcycle in the history of British motorcycling, especially known for its use during and after World War II. Here’s an overview of its specifications, manufacturer design, legacy, and interesting facts, focusing on the 1947 model:


  • Engine: 348cc, single-cylinder, four-stroke, overhead valve (OHV)
  • Bore and Stroke: 69mm x 93mm
  • Compression Ratio: Approximately 5.9:1
  • Power Output: Around 16 horsepower at 5,000 rpm
  • Transmission: Four-speed gearbox with chain final drive
  • Top Speed: Approximately 70 mph (113 km/h)
  • Frame: Steel tubular frame
  • Suspension:
    • Front: Teledraulic telescopic forks (the G3L was one of the first to use this technology)
    • Rear: Rigid (plunger suspension was introduced later)
  • Brakes:
    • Front: Drum brake
    • Rear: Drum brake
  • Fuel Capacity: Approximately 3.5 gallons (16 liters)
  • Weight: Around 330 pounds (150 kg)

Manufacturer Design:

  • Designer: The Matchless G3L was designed and manufactured by Associated Motor Cycles (AMC), a British company known for producing several well-regarded motorcycle brands.
  • Aesthetic: The G3L features classic post-war British motorcycle styling with a simple, utilitarian design, a black finish, and minimalistic bodywork.
  • Purpose: Initially designed for military use during World War II, the G3L was built to be rugged, reliable, and easy to maintain. Post-war versions were adapted for civilian use.
  • Build Quality: Known for its robustness and durability, the G3L was built to withstand harsh conditions, making it a favorite among both military personnel and civilian riders.


  • Military Service: The Matchless G3L was widely used by the British Army during World War II, serving as a reliable dispatch rider’s bike and general-purpose vehicle.
  • Post-War Popularity: After the war, many surplus G3Ls were sold to civilians, where they gained popularity for their reliability and ease of use.
  • Technological Innovation: The introduction of teledraulic forks on the G3L was a significant innovation, offering improved front suspension performance compared to older designs.

Interesting and Important Facts:

  • First with Teledraulic Forks: The G3L was one of the first motorcycles to be fitted with teledraulic telescopic forks, which greatly improved ride comfort and handling.
  • Versatile Use: The G3L was used for a variety of purposes, including military operations, commuting, and competitive trials riding, showcasing its versatility.
  • Collector’s Item: Today, the Matchless G3L is a prized collector’s item among vintage motorcycle enthusiasts, with well-preserved models and restorations fetching high prices.
  • Durability: The G3L’s design emphasized durability and ease of maintenance, which were critical features for military applications and appealing to civilian users in the post-war era.
  • Influence: The success of the G3L influenced the design of subsequent Matchless and AJS motorcycles, cementing AMC’s reputation for producing reliable and innovative motorcycles.

Conclusion:The Matchless G3L – 350cc – 1947 is a notable motorcycle in both military and civilian history. Its introduction of teledraulic forks, robust design, and post-war adaptability have made it an enduring symbol of British engineering excellence. Whether used in wartime or for civilian purposes, the G3L remains a celebrated model among motorcycle historians and collectors alike.


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