Well, probably more of an ‘old shed find’ really. My Matchless Silver Arrow was part of a large collection of bikes that had been languishing in an old leaky shed, somewhere near East Grinstead. That’s ‘darn sarf’ in England for my foreign visitors and those from Scotland.

Inside the shed…almost cleared

I have an original buff continuation logbook, the V5 that came after it and a couple of old MOT certificates…in addition to the three old tax discs from the mid 1950s. It seems that the bike was last MOTed in June 1995; so that the original registration number could be transferred to another vehicle. I have proof of the old registration number and will try to get it back, but the bike has a perfectly good age related number plate on it. Whatever the original registration was transferred to, isn’t showing up on the DVLA check; all I get is ‘registration not found’.

Andy Tiernan, a classic bike dealer in Suffolk, acquired the bike in late 2021 and it was sold soon afterwards to the chap I bought it from, just over a year later. It had been ‘resting’ in the shed for around 26 years. Judging by its appearance ‘fresh from the shed’, the dealer’s team had done quite a bit of work on the bike before my previous owner bought it; you’ll see what I mean from the photos. One thing they didn’t do, was to rectify the ‘stuck’ engine. If engines stand for a long time, the oil, old petrol and other gunge tends to solidify, in the piston ring grooves and cylinder bores. My bike was like this and my previous owner freed the engine over two weeks using release oil and no physical force…all good. There is good compression in one cylinder, but not the other; I suspect the ring(s) may be stuck in their grooves.

Fresh from the shed

I watched a recent episode of Bangers and Cash, series 7 episode 4, and Mathewsons Auctions had a similar collection which they put through their salerooms last year I believe. I wonder how many more collections are gradually deteriorating in sheds and garages in the UK? I know my Dad had one, which was rescued way back in 1991.

Here’s my bike, ‘fresh from the shed’ and ready to be loaded up and transported back to the dealer’s workshop. It’s survived for 93 years and I intend to have it running before the end of 2023.

I must thank Andy Tiernan himself, for being very forthcoming and helpful with information and photos of my bike when it was extracted from the shed. If you’re looking for a classic bike, give him a call or visit his website here. He’s well respected in the classic bike world.