Matchless Makto

War Motorcycles - Matchless G3L

Matchless G3 and G3L were first designed and manufactured for use by the British Army during the second world war. These motorcycles continued to be produced after the war for both civilian and military use up until the 60s. The Matchless in the picture is a 1950 G3L that belongs to Kalyan Kishen Singh. The G3L is actually a military driven upgrade to the G3 that came with a lighter body, and the then cutting edge Teledraulic suspension for rugged terrains. Kalyan’s grandfather, R Balaji Singh served as a Lance Naik in the British Indian Army and was part of military campaigns in South East Asia during the second world war. He was also a recipient of the Burma Star for his contribution to the Burma Campaign (1941-45). Kalyan was deeply inspired by his grandfather to join the army, but life  chose a more interesting path for him. Nevertheless, he wanted to use his passion for automobiles and connect to the incredible era that his grandfather was part of.  And so he went on a hunt for a G3L. After a relentless search that spanned several cities and over three years, Kalyan found the connection in a UP registered G3L in Salem. If you ask Kalyan about his experiences,  he’d say that he feels really free and transported back in time when he’s riding the Matchless. He also believes that they share a relationship that is based on absolute-understanding like that of Jake Sully and Toruk in the movie Avatar.

1971 Ambassador Mark 2

A curator of automobile heritage of sorts, Kalyan also has several die cast models of cars, the oldest one being a 1919 Cadillac Convertible. Ironically the Mercedes Benz 770 that was used by Hitler is also part of his collection. Recently, he rescued a severely handicapped Lambretta LD from the 50s and is in the process of making detailed restoration plans for it. Also under his care is a 1986 Fiat Premier Padmini and a 1971 Ambassador Mark 2. Kalyan had an interesting story to tell about his Mark 2. During the December 2015 floods in Chennai, three quarters of the Mark 2 was submerged in the flood waters. Unlike other modern cars in the apartment building that were partially floating on the water, Kalyan’s Mark 2 had a solid footing and prevented the floating cars behind it from being carried away by the flood waters. All Kalyan had to do after the floods, to get the Mark 2 back to life, was a thorough clean up and an oil change – yet another example of how simple analogue tech never lets you down. It may trouble you now and then, but never lets you down.

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