Model X observations

I much enjoyed reading the September issue. What makes me put ‘fingers to keyboard’ is your test on a 1937 Matchless Model X.tcm-oct16-p16

All what you say about the bike is mirrored by my experience when first offered to ride such a machine at the 1989 A&MOC Jampot Rally held in the Clee Hills. The owners were a husband and wife, possessing 1939 model Xs each. Both were in a very striking red colour, not I think a factory colour offered then. The owner wanted to try a G12 CSR I had at the rally (I still have it, lovely bike) and so I said to him to take it for a ride and enjoy himself. He did and sometime later he returned beaming from ear to ear.

He then offered me a ride on his 1939 X which interestingly had Teledraulics fitted, unlike his wife’s X that had girders. It turned out that sometime during the Second World War the machine was involved in an accident and the Woolwich factory replaced the girders with Teledraulics. Thus I took him up on his offer to take his bike for a similar run.


The machine was very well presented though to my eyes I thought the same as you – such as, a staid and gutless side-valve, made for a sidecar. How wrong was I proved. The torque when one opened it up (in any gear) was exhilarating. I became an instant fan of the big V-twin and didn’t want to return it. I then got to ride the girder fork version which was also a great experience, though the Teledraulics gave a much better ride. I have ridden a couple more Xs since and really enjoyed them.

However, it got me thinking as to why the model was discontinued after the war. Perhaps cost of building them compared with the G3L which the factory was geared up to produce in great numbers and had done so during the conflict. Also, why never an ohv engine offered which Plumstead manufactured for Broughs and Morgans during the 1930s? What a machine that would have been.

Great magazine, keep up the good work.


Malcolm Arnold, via email.

Read more letters, opinion, news and views in October’s edition of TCM



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