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Spare parts Matchless G3L


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Hi all,


I am currently restoring a 1943 Matchless G3L, and I need help locating some spares.


* The central luggage rack that goes on top of the rear mudgard

* The Webbing grips for the handlebars

* The blackout light


I know these parts are on ebay as replica parts but I would prefer originals.


I also tried finding dealers with original parts but I have had not much succes, although I did find some parts by Stuart Bray earlier.



Stef (Belgium)

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Stef, you should have a look at the BSA M20 site which caters for all British WW2 WD bike makes and is frequented by a couple of people who may have the parts you need, although they will not be cheap! There is a forum you can post your query on....or use the For Sale part. They will also be keen to get your bike's details for the WDG3L register. http://www.wdbsa.nl

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  • 2 months later...

Allright, the Matchless is almost finished here is an update.

- We were unable to find original webbing grips so we made them ourselves with some original ww2 webbing I had.

- the glass for the front light, broke a few days after placing it. A new one is on the way but I am still looking for the blackout mask as this is seen on all period pictures!

- the back light is also on the way.

- the logo, C-number and unit sign for on the petroltank have to be painted but I am still unsure which symbols need to be on it to be historical accurate. I am going for the 2nd battalion of the 1st Belgian infantry brigade


sources for this small unit are not easily found but I think this will come on the tank eventually:

- Matchless logo

- C number: can I take a number I see in a period pictures or is this related to the frame number or unit?

- Roundel with Belgian colours

- Red square with 112 on it which should be for the 2nd battalion.


On some other pictures I see there were also markings on the front mudguard, can someone give me more details on this?


In the last picture there is this clip near the kickstart, what purpose has it, I've seen it on a few other WD matchlesses but I am clueless on its purpose.


And one final question, on period pictures you can see a registration plaque on the toolbox. what should be on it and where can I get one? preferably original otherwise replica.


I have choosen for SCC2 brown and I really like the colour!






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Hi Stef.

The C number is related to the frame number. If you post your frame number, one us can usually work it out for you. Unit markings would normally have been applied according to WO directive but often also at the discretion of the CO or where room allowed, tank/mudguard/toolbox etc.


The large brass plate on the toolbox that I'm guessing you have seen is a post war rebuild plate. If they come with the bike, owners often leave them on as part of its history. (I might have a new one if you really want one....If I can remember where it is?).


The spring clip on the gearbox was designed to stop the kick start jumping up and down when bouncing over rough ground. (The Ariel W/NG had a similar clip). It also aids as a back up if your return spring breaks.


You can buy readymade stencils and logos from 'Axholme signs' and the correct transfers from 'Classic Transfers' Just google them. SCC2 Service Brown would be the correct colour.


Also you have Guy to talk to now.



Edited by Ron
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Hello Stef,

regarding the brass plate on the tool box, as Ron says you do see a large rebuild plate (late war or normally postwar), originally there would have been a small contract plate, similar to the type shown below (this one though is mounted on the mudguard or a M20 I think), reproductions do come up on ebay and through your frame number you can work out the contract number to stamp on it.

Regards Gary

contract plate.jpg

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Hello all,


thanks for the fast and usefull replies.


for the C-number:

Frame number: 59026

Engine number: 73013


For the brass plate on the toolbox, I do mean the small brass one.

any ideas where to find an orinial or replica?


For the unit markings i cannot find a constant pattern within the 1st belgian infantry brigade (Also known by the Brigade Piron)

included a couple of period pictures. as you can see several motorcycles where used (Matchless, BSA, Triumph, Ariel)

They also have different markings, but I really like the 3rd picture and I think I will go for this style.






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Nice restoration of the Triumph but are you sure the triangle lionhead was used on the motorcycle?

I know it was used on the bigger vehicles but I cannot find a period picture with a motorcycle with this sign.


Here is the overview of unit markings within the brigade, although I am not sure if this is 100% correct. There are almost no official references for this.


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At the point where they were training in the UK, Brigade Piron should have been complying with standard British practice but it's quite likely that the closer they got to Belgium and certainly once they were there, they began to adapt.


No-one would have noticed a Belgian roundel or formation sign in Western France but there would have been a certain cachet in entering a Belgian village on a motorcycle so-marked, not to mention increased access to fruit, beer and most importantly madamoiselles / meisjes !


My view when undertaking this sort of impression is that you need to take a really narrow view on the moment in time being portrayed and then back it up with photographic evidence. There is a world of difference between Southern England in June 1944 and Brussels in May 1945.

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Nice restoration of the Triumph but are you sure the triangle lionhead was used on the motorcycle?

I know it was used on the bigger vehicles but I cannot find a period picture with a motorcycle with this sign.


Here is the overview of unit markings within the brigade, although I am not sure if this is 100% correct. There are almost no official references for this.



You are right that the triangle lion head was used on bigger vehicles (that's from where are sample came).

Moist of the mechanical work was done by me and the owner Marnic did the paintwork and the signs on the bike .

If you pm my I can bring you in contact with Marnic as he has a bit more information about the Belgian Brigade.


Here are some extra pictures of are bikes , all two are Triumph 3HW models.

Normandie 2014 063.jpg

Normandie 2014 029.jpg

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Frame number 59026 is the 1957th bike from contract S2604 which was for 7000 machines in 1943. I calculate your census number to be C5479326. Your engine 73013 was from the same contract. The engine numbers sequence were running 15,000 ahead of the frame numbers. So if the engines were being fitted in numerical sequence, I make it your bike would have been fitted with engine 74025. But since they weren't matching numbers it's more than possible that the engines were fitted at random. (but who knows??) Ron

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Thanks Ron, that will be the Census number coming on the bike in the future.

The engine did not came with this bike, but was bought separately. I like it is from the same contract so that is a good enough match for me


Guy, I will sent you a PM


79x100, I agree that the time setting has an impact on what will be painted.

This picture was taken in early september 1944 I believe somewhere between the liberation of Brussels and the campaign of limburg.


This one taken in Maaseik during the campaign of Limburg in september 1944, I believe it is a Triumph? But as you can see the insignia is totally different.



the timeframe I want for my bike is september 1944, because it was arround this time they iberated my vilage.

unfortunately I have not seen any pictures from Bree where you can see motorcycles of the brigade. But Maaseik is next to Bree and was only liberated 1 or 2 days later.


I found this ebay advert for replica contract plates, does anybody know if they can be found original somewhere?



I also noticed someone selling these tank protectors, where they used in ww2?



also sources for the blackout light mask and a luggage rack for the rear mudguard are welcome!

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Those Indian made contract plates are not the right size/shape and you would be very lucky indeed to find an original with your contract number (not totally impossible) I don't think I've ever seen a blank. There's a bloke in Spain who makes very good repros if you can find him. Otherwise, call Rob Miller on the BSA WM20 forum who also made some good repros.


A wartime picture appeared some years ago of a 16H with a roughly cut piece of canvas laid around the filler neck to mop up the petrol spills. A few of us used artistic license and made a neater round variation. Any idea that they were produced and dated is pure fiction. Ron

M20 062.jpg

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Staf, you also perhaps need to bear in mind that there may have been a difference between No.1 and No.2 Companies. Just because Brigade wanted it done in a certain way doesn't necessarily mean that all subordinate units interpreted the instructions identically.


In general, there shouldn't have been a formation sign on motorcycles but over on the M20 forum, they've just posted a picture of a Guards Armoured provost entering a Dutch town with the 'All Seeing Eye' on his M20...If the Brigade of Guards could get away with it, who's to say ?


The BSA in the earlier picture has what look to be a quite hastily painted serial. maybe a replacement machine and painted by the section fitter ?


I often think that less is more when it comes to markings and accessories but there is no doubt that in some circumstances (such as Belgian markings in a Belgian location) it will be much easier to engage with the casual observer and perhaps access some of those fast-disappearing living witnesses. It's only paint anyway and if you decide after a couple of years that you don't like it, an authentic overpaint will only add to the patina !

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