Over on the auction site, I had the pleasure of writing up a motorcycle I had never encountered before. I love that kind of thing, and I figured there was a good chance some of you hadn’t heard of it before either so…come learn about the Condor that’s not a bike for the Swiss Army. Also known as the Golden Eagle due to the color of the magnesium engine cases, the Matchless G50 was a racer that evolved from the AJS 7R (the Boy Racer). Matchless, as part of Associated Motorcycles (AMC) went out of business in ’63, but Colin Seeley bought all the tooling and spares in 1966. He then took the famed Golden Eagle and built custom frames to create Seeley G50 specials.
Classic Bike Guide has a wonderful history on Seeley’s efforts with the G50 – they note that the timing of Colin’s race success dovetailed with the cafe racer boom in the US, so it made sense to build a road bike as well. Colin debuted a prototype at the 1971 London Olympia show. “Converting a road bike into a competitive racer means throwing away everything that is not needed to cut weight and get the maximum performance. Building a roadster from a racer is much more difficult. So much needed to be added or altered – lights, charging system, primary chaincase, dualseat, pillion footrests, speedometer, a stand and of course a kickstarter as nobody wants to bump start a road bike.”
Production bikes obviously traded a little bit of reliability and noise management for outright power, making 45 horsepower compared to the 51 of the race bike. They also utilized a five speed transmission and the visually-striking lack of downtubes on the frame. I highly recommend you check out the Classic Bike Guide story for the full history, but in it Colin notes that “we only sold seven complete motorcycles and three rolling chassis so that people could fit their own engine.”
This example is VIN: MK3C5224R. The seller acquired in 1995 from Team Obsolete in New York. During his ownership, the seller has covered 10 miles. The odometer shows 59 miles, however true mileage is unknown.
The sale includes a valuation appraisal from Rob Iannucci (President of Team Obsolete and founder of the American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association) dated March 12, 1999. In the letter, Rob notes that “this is one of only seven such motorcycles. Each was hand built. At time of manufacture, the selling price was equal to a good car. This motorcycle has been fully rebuilt and restored. Based on recent sales of one identical example and several similar models, this example is worth at least $35,000.”
Find this Condor G50 for sale in Greenwich, Connecticut with an opening bid of $1,000 and the reserve not yet met here on Iconic Motorbike Auctions.
Disclosure: Bike-urious is a partner in Iconic Motorbike Auctions.