Uncomfortable with swapping between Norton's Featherbed and AJS'7R chassis, Bob Mclntyre designed a frame to accommodate both engines and improve upon their respective chassis. A trio were built, which brought him success, and helped Jack Findlay onto greater things. They still exist and there's even a replica winning races in Australia.
The first man to lap the TT Course at over 10Omph, in 1957, on the works Gilera, Scotland's Bob Mclntyre was a versatile and popular working class hero. After starting racing almost by accident, with a hat-trick of race wins at his very first meeting, on a friend's BSA Gold Star - Mac swiftly rose to prominence in 1950s racing on machinery furnished by his sponsor, Joe Potts.
Potts' premises at Belshill, Glasgow, encompassed car sales, taxi and funeral business, with workshops, which also served Joe's passion for racing - on both two and four wheels. He sponsored Mclntyre on Nortons prepared by mechanics Pim Fleming and Alex Crummie, with such success that Gilera chose Mac to replace the injured Geoff Duke for the 1957 GP season. He repaid them handsomely, not only winning both the Senior and Junior TT, but also helping team mate Liberati regain the 500cc title from their MV Agusta rivals.
Then, having done so, Gilera quit racing, leaving Mclntyre to rejoin the privateer ranks for 1958 aboard Potts' singles. He resumed winning aboard a 7R, and the Norton for the 500cc class. However, Mac disliked switching between the two different chassis, so he persuaded Potts to underwrite the construction of a Mclntyre Special frame design to house both types of engine, which would have the benefit of reducing vibration and improving handling. Though not a priority, a 5lb saving was achieved over the Featherbed and it was stiffer too.
The first Potts-built Mclntyre AJS appeared in late 1959, joined by a 500cc Norton equivalent. Although based on Norton's Featherbed cradle, the Mclntyre chassis differed in several respects. The top rails ran straight back to the upper mounts of the vertically-mounted rear shocks, whose lower mounts were adjacent to the rear axle. A diagonal brace connected the upper mounts to the swinging arm pivot, from which vertical tubes rose to a point two-thirds of the way along the upper rails.
The fuel tank allowed the rider to tuck lower down and, mounted on the left side of the frame, the oil tank had a large heat-dispersing side surface, thus also allowing free space around the carburettor intake, to which cool air was directed via an intake in the fairing. The swinging arm, rear hub and brake were 7R, the forks Roadholders, and the front brake was an ex-Gilera 230mm 4LS drum, sourced from the factory.
Debuting the Potts Norton special at the 1960 Sllverstone Hutchinson 100, Mac won the 500cc race. Both bikes brought him copious success on British circuits, between GP rides for Bianchi and Honda in 1961. He also took second in the Senior TT and third In the Belgian GP and Dutch TT. He continued to race Potts' singles in the UK in 1962, having created an all-new chassis for the 7R engine jointly designed with Alex Crummie. This triangulated duplex cradle was now targeting weight and was two-thirds the weight of a stock 7R.
It was made from smaller 1V* In 17-gauge tube, with wide, twin down tubes running from the Manx steering head to meet a pair of curved horizontal tubes wrapped around the crankcase and gearbox, before reaching a 21/2in swinging arm pivot tube. A pair of straight diagonal tubes directly connected this with the steering head. The engine sat lower and forward, in turn requiring the use of one-inch shorter Roadholders. Fitted with 18in wheels and Norton brakes, it was lower than the first Mclntyre specials.
The rear subframe used smaller-diameter %in tube, with a diagonal brace connecting the upper rear shock mounts to the swinging arm pivot, while the AMC gearbox was carried in an alloy shroud mounted to frame lugs.
Sadly, Bob Mac's other commitments meant that the final Mclntyre AJS saw little action, before his crash at Oulton Park, in August 1962, to which he succumbed nine days later. Greatly affected, Potts withdrew from racing and sold the bikes. The final AJS version went to Aussie Jack Findlay, who had been a GP midfielder until, at the end of 1962, Lew Ellis, the Shell Competitions Manager, brokered the deal. Potts never made customer versions of his frames, such as the later Seeley and Métisse chassis, of which the Mclntyre specials were the forerunners, and thanks to their light weight and advanced geometry, in many ways the first modern British singles.
This acquisition transformed Findlay's career. He became a regular winner on the Mclntyre G50 and was consistently placed in World Championships. He finished third In the 1966 table, fifth the following year (suffering a fractured skull mid-season) and was runner-up in 1968. In 1969, Findlay switched to an Italian Linto twin, which proved a mistake and he reverted to the Mclntyre for the second half of the season, before going two-stroke for the 70s.
The sole, genuine Mclntyre G50 was eventually acquired by Mick
Hemmings, who still ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ races it successfully in Above: Mclntyre (left) Historic events today. was years ahead of his time with his frame ideas.
Opposite top: Mick and Angie Hemmings.
^mick hemmings' mcintyre matchless
Mick Hemmings learned of the Mclntyre chassis during a chance conversation with a friend, Bob Harrington. Discussing the merits of certain frame layouts, Harrington mentioned he knew of its whereabouts. Mick was particularly interested, especially when it transpired that it was only a few miles from his Northampton base. It belonged to a gentleman called Bill Gidman, who had bought it from Stan Hudson of Rugby, who in turn had bought it from racer Brian Ball. "It was in a sorry state," Says Mick, "The 7R engine and front wheel had been sold but the Quaife six-speed box and all the other major parts and cycle parts were present. The Manx rear hub had been swapped for a disc which had meant putting a kink into the swinging arm. I picked up a G50 engine but it didn't fit, the engine plates had been kinked and the frame lugs altered to take the long crank 7R. I was so demoralised with it that I put it away until the winter of 1984/5."
Eddie Watson, a pal of Mick's and a college senior lecturer in welding and fabrication, was a Mclntyre fan and he regenerated the project, making plywood patterns and with much cutting, shutting and welding, the chassis returned to what it once was. The engine was entrusted to Ray Cowles, the Welshman being renown for his wizardry on G50 and 7R. Mick recalls "My search for a Manx front hub and brake succeeded when I convinced a customer he didn't need his!" New shorter stanchions were fitted into the original sliders, Hagon refurbished the original Girling rear shocks and all original nuts and bolts were cleaned up and replated where possible.
The original Jakeman fairing was repaired and painted the correct shade of blue, taken from period photographs. "I don't think Mclntyre had the tank sprayed, but Findlay did and so we did it white, only to have to do it again when Dan Shorey's wife Yvonne said it should be ivory," says Mick. The restored machine debuted, aptly, at the Bob Mclntyre memorial meeting on July 1987. Mick recalls "Our reception was fantastic, especially when they realised we were going to race it and not just parade but I soon realised why Findlay swapped the Norton brake for a Fontana! The delight of the day was to have my award presented by Mac's widow and to be kissed by his daughter,"
While the Mclntyre chassis was unique there was another machine like it that was equally authentic if not quite so original, confirmation of which came from Findlay himself. When interviewed in 1992, he said "You could say the Mclntyre Matchless on which
I scored the most success was an imposter. Only the second machine ever had the name Mclntyre Matchless on the tank, in 1965. During the winter of 63/64, Bill Jakeman constructed the replica but with a wider frame loop to accomodate a Shafleitner six-speed box. Except for that and the brakes, it was an exact replica of the original bike, which became a 350 as I was using the six-speeder in the 500. The original narrow frame and the four speeder was then called the Jakeman AJS as thanks to Bill for all the work he'd done. The streamlinings were copied from a 125cc Honda production racer, which fitted the Mclntyre like a glove. During the winter of 65/66 I sold the original Mclntyre complete, less engine, to Brian Ball and this is the machine now owned by Mick Hemmings."
"At the end of 1962 I was really pissed off. My 500 Norton kept dropping exhaust valves, so Lew Ellis suggested I consider a machine built by Mclntyre just prior to his death. I spoke with Bill Jakeman who thought it was a great idea as he knew it. Up to Scotland I went to meet Joe Potts and Pim Fleming, who filled me in on the details before reluctantly helping to load up. I immediately noticed that the oil tank was moulded into the left side of the fairing. It was a beautiful piece of work but gave me nightmares as a Continental Circus rider, working alone and in a rush to change sprockets. I also feared crashing on the left side and dumping a gallon of oil onto the track. Bill later made me an alloy tank for under the seat. This was in time for the Ulster GP where I crashed and destroyed the fairing/oil tank, fortunately then empty. The 18 litre petrol tank was too small and several times I lost places in the closing stages of GPs as fuel ran low, so Bill made a 20 litre tank. Five and six-speed gearboxes were coming in but the Mclntyre frame prohibited the fitting of a wider box. Even the outer cover of the four speeder had to be slimmed to fit within the frame tubes. This is why Bill built the replica frame."
Findlay finished second in 10 world championship races on the 500, peaking with runner-up spot in the world championship In 1968. "I regret selling them,"
Jack said, "but it was clear that two-strokes would soon be winning in the 500 class."
An interesting detail of the bikes performance came during the 1967 Belgium GP when Findlay was timed 139.7mph (225kph). Think about that for a moment - that's 44 years ago on a 496cc, two valve, four-stroke single. Impressive.
Kiwi Dave Cole, on the Mclntyre Matchless G50 replica, built by sponsor Ross Graham, is the man to beat Down Under, twice defeating Wayne Gardner, on the Walmsley G50, at the 2008 Phillip Island Classic. Cole also smashed Gardner's lap record, leaving it at 1:49.03 - 0.75s.
Graham, 54, pursues his racing in between supervising the maintenance of a 600-strong lorry fleet. He raced for 20 years, but in 2001 decided to let a faster, younger rider take the hot seat for InCA's Australian round at Eastern Creek - and that's how Dave Cole, 40, a four-time NZ champion, swapped his R1 for an older, slower, sklnny-tyred British single, and had his first-ever Classic race.
Cole immediately clicked with old-bike racing, winning on both sides of the Tasman, and was Australian Classic champion first In 2004 on a standard G50. The following year Graham built a replica of Jack Findlay's Mclntyre. "We'd gone as far as we could with the original bike. So we built something lighter that handled better - but It had to be pre-'63, which is the cut off. That ruled out Seeleys, so there was only one option, a Mclntyre frame. We used the same V/* in. 17-gauge tubing as the original that Mick Hemmings runs, but rather than a replica motor, we used the engine from the standard G50 that we'd worked on.
iiiimiiwwiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiniiiiiii uiimiiiiHiii it's still standard bore and stroke and no fancy valve angles, the only mods we've done are to the head and combustion chamber."
Indeed, 54bhp is delivered at 7600 rpm. That's 10 per cent more than a stock G50, at 400 revs higher, albeit down on the 60-odd horses of the modern 'replica' (not!) short-stroke Manx/G50 Supermonos. There's a Newby crank and camshaft, with standard 2in inlet and 1 in exhaust stainless valves. Transmission is a six-speed TTI cluster in a replica Quaife case, with belt primary and an Australian made Scandic speedway clutch.
The Mclntyre replica is the correct tubing, though whether Mac raced with a 24-degree head angle is questionable. A key advantage is weight - 123kg with oil but no fuel. My G50 registers 146kg dry, (with a 230mm 4LS Oldani brake, not permitted under NZ rules. The Mclntyre sports a 7in/178mm Hunt double-sided tls drum, with a rear 8in/200mm Molnar sis drum.
The chance to assess Cole's replica came at Mallory Park last year, during their six-week UK trip. On straddling the Mclntyre, the rear feels high, though overall it feels lower than stock. The difference in steering response is monumental. The riding position is unusual, with footrests high but a long way back compared to a Seeley and it didn't help that Dave is five inches shorter than me, so I was cramped, and couldn't tuck behind the screen. The handlebars are low on the forks, which, with the tall seat and high mcintyre matchless replica g50
Year of construction.
Air-cooled, chain driven sohc single-cylinder our-stroke. CR 12.5:1 on Avgas. 13.5:1 on Methanol. 54 bhp at 7600 rpm (at rear wheel) 90 x 78 mm equating to 496cc 1 x 42mm Dell'Orto SS1 with remote float chamber Wet sump, gear pump MSD electronic CDI with 12v battery Six-speed TTI in replica Quaife housing. Belt primary drive
Tubular chrome-moly duplex cradle. Head angle 24 degrees 1380mm
Front; 35mm Ceriani/GCB forks Rear: Twin adjustable Ohlins shocks Front: 2.75/3.75 x 18 Dunlop KR825 on 2.15in/WM3 Morad alloy rim Rear: 3.50/3.25 x 18 Dunlop KR124A on 2.15in/WM3 Morad 135 mph
2005 to 1961 specification
Ross Graham, New Plymouth, New Zealand pegs results in a stance that loads the front wheel with body weight, not ungainly, but tiring on your wrists.
The front brake has little bite until it's warm, then it grabs and fades progressively. The Molnar rear brake was useless - shame because I always hit this hard on drum-braked Classics racers. I gained no confidence from the Mclntyre's retardation.
The forks are very soft, so there's significant dive -plus me weighing in 22kg more than Dave made it more than ever! Then the geometry becomes even more radical, closing up the head angle further, turning quickly, especially with the skinny front tyre from a 125 racer.
The motor was uncannily smooth thanks to a balance factor of over 70 per cent and the box shifted perfectly, with perfect ratios - I didn't need low bottom gear due to the torque, pulling from 4500rpm, with no megaphonitis from the conical exhaust. The engine is safe to 8000 revs, though it peaks around 7500 rpm.
After 20 laps, I lost drive and coasted to the Paddock with the engine still revving, but no forward motion. Chain and primary were in tact - the rear hub had cracked around the sprocket, which was spinning without driving. A call to Norton specialists Summerfield Engineering meant the team made Cadwell Park three days later, where they took two race wins - AC
Under the skin of classics...'
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