In June 1950 a pair of enthusiasts from England set off on two of Plumstead’s finest, bound for Israel.
W A Ingram and his cousin Ken set off from Newcastle headed for Israel, on two practically new rigid-frame 500cc Matchless G80 singles; the motorcycles were largely standard, apart from the additions of windscreens, air filters and pannier frames.
The machines were well-laden, carrying all of their luggage, including tents. Apparently, they ‘stopped the traffic’ in Paris, where they’d paused to ask directions.
They rode across Europe and into the French Alps, thence along Lake Geneva and on through Lichtenstein, over the Arlberg Pass (at that time still surfaced with dirt and loose gravel) and into the Austrian Tyrol. For 10 days the Matchlesses were given a rest as the two travellers enjoyed walking the peaks of the Oetztaler Alps. Back on the road, they went into Italy via Innsbruck and the Brenner Pass, then along Lake Garda, a route which boasted 73 tunnels. They stopped for sight-seeing in Florence, Rome and Naples.
Read more in January’s issue of TCM
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