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A Closer Look at the 1949 Matchless G3 350

1949 Matchless G3 350

The 1949 Matchless G3 350 motorcycle was manufactured by the company brand – Matchless as part of its G3 series that includes motorbikes of different displacements. This was the first sports model of the Matchless G3 350 generation to be released to the market in 1949. Although this bike is around two years older than the 1951 Matchless 350cc bike, it comes with more superior features, including; a single-cylinder engine, a four-stroke engine with a kick start, and a maximum power output of 13.1 kW, 18hp @ 5750 rpm. Moreover, the Matchless 350cc bike comes with a carburetor by Amal, which is rarely sensitive to either wear or adjustment and usually improves the overall engine performance. In this guide, we will take a closer look at the 1949 Matchless G3 350 motorbike.


Unlike the 1951 Matchless G3 bike that has a “jampot” rear suspension, the 1949 Matchless G3 350cc bike has no rear suspension but has a single saddle-type seat. The G3 bike features an excellent shiny black paint job and has an impressive handling and control feature. The Matchless G3L bike was initially developed for use by the British Army during the Second World War. The motorcycle later became one of the most popular bikes used during the war due to its excellent off-road performance and lightweight nature. The Matchless G3L bike was among the first bikes to feature “Teledraulic” forks, which was an idea that later became a standard feature in the motorbikes to come. In 1940, the British War Office decided to replace the Dunkirk with the available Matchless G3L 350cc motorbikes. The ‘L’ in the G3L stands for ‘Lightweight’ in response to the British Army’s requirement for a motorcycle that is best suited for off-road use. After exhaustive military testing, the Matchless G3L’s vertical V-Twin four-stroke engine was able to produce maximum speeds of over 70mph and weighed approximately 110 kg (240 pounds). Production of the Matchless G3L 350cc engine first began in late 1941, but a series of improvements and modifications were later introduced by the military service to improve the overall performance of the bike. Despite it being a 72-year bike, the 1949 Matchless G3 350cc bike was very reliable and durable as it was used by the British Ministry of Defense for another 15 years.


According to Matchlessclueless, below are some of the most noteworthy features of the Matchless G3L 350c bike:

  • Make: Matchless
  • Model: G3 350cc, 1949
  • Category: Sport
  • Engine Type: 4-stroke, single-cylinder engine
  • Engine Displacement: 21.17 ci (347.00cc)
  • Bore x Stroke: 2.7 x 3.7 inches (69.0 x 93.0 mm)
  • Transmission: 4-gear transmission
  • Intake: Amal carburetor intake
  • Maximum Power: 18.00 hp (13.1 kW) @ 5750 pm
  • Front Suspension: Telescopic
  • Brakes (Front/Rear): Drum 178mm (7.0 inches)
  • Maximum Speed: 80.2 mph (129 km/hr.)
  • Engine starter: Kick start
  • Seat: Tandem seat
  • Average weight: 110 kg (240lbs.)

Engine and Transmission

The 1949 Matchless G3L bike comes with a single standard 350cc engine that provides an output of 18 horsepower and can reach maximum speeds of up to 80.2 miles per hour (129 km/hr.) The bike’s construction is made suitable for long, tedious trips due to its impressive durability and reliability. The Matchless 350 cc side-valve vertical V-Twin engine produces a maximum power output of 13.1 kW at 5740 rotations per minute. When it comes to the Matchless G3L gear transmission, it features a Four-speed gear transmission with a final chain drive. This plays a vital role in the bike’s overall off-road performance. When starting the engine, correctly set up the kick-ignition starter mechanism before pushing down the kick-starter crank pedal. After the engine has started, slowly open the air level until it runs evenly. Then set the throttle so that the engine runs at a moderate speed and allow for the engine to warm up. To stop the Matchless 350cc V-Twin engine, close the throttle and raise the valve lever as you maintain this position until the engine is powered off. Furthermore, the lightweight nature of the Matchless 350cc vertical V-Twin engine played a significant role in the bike becoming a favorite mode of transport among the British Army back in 1949.


The Matchless G3L 350cc bike was the first Matchless Sporty model to include a Telescopic front fork suspension gear and the overhead-valve engine that operated through a four-speed gear transmission. According to Classic-motorbikes, the Telescopic front fork suspension does not require any lubrication, but it is often advisable to check the oil content regularly. In 1949, the Matchless 350cc motorbike was fitted with numerous upgrades, including stronger main bearings and a swing arm rear suspension fork. These swing arm rear suspension forks were later available for export, but only in the UK from the late 1950. Moreover, the Telescopic front suspension forks were also upgraded to improve the overall handling of the bike.

Braking System

When It comes to the braking system of the Matchless GL3 350cc motorbike, it comes with two full-width alloy drums measuring 7.0 inches (178mm). The original brakes that came with the bike lasted until 1963. It was until late 1956 when some incremental improvements were included in the Matchless brakes. AMC introduced ‘interim” brake hubs that looked both great and worked effectively to ensure the safety of the rider.

Other features

In addition to the above-listed specs, the 1949 Matchless GL3 350cc motorcycle incorporates the following amazing features:

  • Lubrication: Dry sump
  • Clutch: Wet, multi-plate
  • Cooling system: Air-cooled
  • Exhaust: Single, Chrome Silencer
  • Electrical system: 6V Lucas Dynamo, Magneto Ignition
  • Frame: Single down tub
  • Final Drive: Chain
  • Fuel Capacity: 4.5 US gal/ 17L

Price and Availability

According to Bike-urious, the 1949 Matchless G3L 350cc bike is sold at an average market price of 6,400USD, and only 80,000 types of this bike were produced. The Matchless bike is usually available in a really nice black paint color as it was originally produced for civilian and military purposes back in the Second World War.

Final Thoughts

The Matchless G3L 350cc bike was first produced for the British Army during World War 11. The motorcycle boasts of unique features, including a four-gear speed transmission, telescopic front suspension fork, engine kick start, and many others. Get started today and get yourself the 1949 Matchless G3L 350cc motorbike for only $6,400.

Benjamin Smith

Written by Benjamin Smith

Benjamin Smith is one of the managing editors of Moneyinc. Ben's been focusing on the auto and motorcycle sector since 2005. He's written over 1000 articles in the space and continues to learn about it each day. His favorite car is "any Bugatti" and he's a die hard Harley Davidson fan.

Read more posts by Benjamin Smith

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