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Restoration 4 - Matchless G3 Panel Tank


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Hi All.

After recently completing my James ML restoration idle hands set in again.

I said to myself no more projects, but after the opportunity of an early Matchless G3 panel tank came up I just could not resist.

I have always had a soft spot for this bike and its fantastic pre war look so when I collected the project a dream came true for me!

Quite possibly the trickiest of my restorations to date, I am sure it will be worth it in the end!

The pace of this restoration will be a little slower so watch this space!









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Thanks Ron! Out of my modest WW2 bike collection this is the bike which is destined to be my ‘daily’ rider.

I have now stripped it down but due to the current condition of it there was a lot of snapped bolts! 

Normally I prep most restorations by hand so it was a bit of a treat to have them blasted.....



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Well spotted Ron. If you could point me in the right direction that would be great, my saddle frame has seen better days too!

I have got a good few coats of primer coats on most parts now.... looking better already!

My aim is to get a rolling chassis as swiftly as possible before the cold weather sets in!

Can I ask which size tyres you G3 owners are using? I was thinking 3.50 front and rear?

secondly can anyone confirm the size and quantity of the bearings used in the headstock, please?

With thanks!




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So here’s the first (of many I am sure) anorak questions. I am given to understand the correct horn for my early panel tank is a Lucas HF180 or HF190? Looking in my Matchless G3 parts list I can see that shortly after the Lucas HF1235 was introduced and found on some later panel tanks? This horn seems a little easier to find! I was given to understand from my research that the war time HF1235 horn had a recessed adjustment screw but post war this recess was deleted (photos attached)?

Does anyone know which date this change took place?




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I haven't deciphered Taff's jottings yet. But here are three WW2 Altette's. As far as I know, they are only dated on the triangle Tufnell plate. First one is 1943, the other two are 44. Apparently the flush screw was post war but they went back to the recessed screw in 51/52.......The Altette range over the years is quite complicated. Ron 

HF1235 2.jpg



Horn restored 001.jpg

Edited by Ron
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Thanks Gents!

Ron my frame number fits in within the numbers you have quoted so it appears the HF1235 is the right horn for my bike!

Horns seem like a bit of a minefield!

This is the one I purchase last week it has the WD body, after checking it’s dated 47, I guess it’s not inconceivable that the Tufnell plate, with the date on it, could be replaced at some point in its life.......


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I disagree Lex. There are definitely a mix of Clearhooters and Lucas on G3L's as seen in these original pictures with Lucas horns

. The G3 parts lists quote the Lucas 1235 (Altette) and then later the HF500 is listed which is the large Clearhooters with 8 screws that Andrew Honychurch has on his. Then we have factory pictures of none panel tank G3's with the Clearhooters HF180 fitted. 

The one you mention on your RE is a Clearhooters HF320 (6 screws) and these are often badged with the Miller logo. There is such a mix up with horns on Matchless's that it's my opinion that they fitted what was the next available from Lucas and Clearhooters. Ron 

Archie Bayne.jpg

Signalman Tom Hoy. (2).jpg

slider frame 6 (2).jpg

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OK, could be, I tried to look it up on Simon's website, but he has taken the parts bit off altogether, so cannot compare all the parts lists real quick.

But I'm not sure if the G3's had Lucas horns, does it state that in the P/L's?

Later G3L's surely did have other types, I never said they didn't.

Pictures of G3WO horns from 1940



1940 G3 IWM Horn Detail.jpg

Factory G3WO Detail Horn.jpg

G3 Valve Lifter cable spring detail.jpg

Edited by welbike
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