Craigslist Find: A Matchless Fixer Upper

Always Wanted a Vintage British Thumper Dirt Bike? You’re in Luck!

Rare Matchless found on Craigslist
1951 AJS/Matchless 500cc Single on Craigslist©Motorcyclist

California is often praised as motorcycling heaven, with good roads and good weather spawning a huge culture of two-wheeled activity from chopper shops to dirt bikes in the dunes. It can be easy to forget that this is not a new phenomenon. Not only is California a great place to ride right now, but it's steeped in motorcycling history. (Heck, Motorcyclist itself started out as Pacific Moto-cycling back in 1912.)

Craigslist Find: 1951 Matchless
Any takers? CLICK HERE to see the original Craigslist ad (until it expires, of course).©Motorcyclist

Sure, this vintage British thumper could just as easily been found in Pennsylvania or Alabama, but it makes sense that it turned up on the west coast. I like to think whomever bought this bike new used it to cruise up and down the Pacific Coast Highway, thundering past station wagons full of beach-going families. Maybe the history isn’t that interesting, but that’s the cool thing about vintage bikes—each one has a story, and if you buy it you become part of that story.

So, any takers? Just three grand for what appears to be a pretty complete slice of motorcycling history. It looks to me like a Matchless G80 (or perhaps an AJS Model 18), but something tells me there's a Motorcyclist reader out there who can tell us part of that story...