AFS Matchless Colours

Research has revealed that the initial eight evaluation Matchless motorcycles in the LYO series were finished in Matt Green, the motorcycles in the NYV and WXR series were finished in gloss Deep Bronze Green and the later ALD and BGJ series were finished in a NATO green.  Most machines were built and painted to order but a small number, mainly in the the early contract builds, were taken out of factory stock and over-painted from black to green.  The machines received the green finish on all cycles parts including the frames, forks and all associated fittings, all bodywork – petrol tanks, mudguards etc. and rear suspension unit covers, chain guards, tool boxes and oil tanks.  All aluminium parts, such as the engine, gearbox and lower front fork sliders were left in their natural aluminium finish.  Handlebars, top fork nuts, fork seal holders, headlamp rim and wheels rims were chromed.

It is assumed that the distinctive red AFS petrol tank badges were applied by the individual Brigades following delivery of the machines.  The colour red used for these badges is officially Post Office Red.  There also appears to have been a few different styles of font used for these badges, below are a few types we have come across.  It is possible that different areas or counties had differing interpretations on the style of font used for the badge.  Also shown are the Mobile Fire Column and FSTC (Fire Service Training Centre) badges applied to some machine, it was also noted after studying a number of original period photographs that not all AFS motorcycles had these tank badges applied to them.

                         Screen shot 2012-04-27 at 11.46.11-filtered Screen shot 2012-04-27 at 11.46.57 Screen shot 2012-04-27 at 11.49.11-filtered Screen shot 2012-04-27 at 11.50.57-filtered Screen shot 2012-04-27 at 12.01.39

The motorcycles also had a Home Office transfer applied to the front mudguards, a period photograph shows these applied in two different positions depending on the type of mudguard fitted.  They were either on left side of rear part of the front mudguard or on the left side of the front part of the mudguard – see below.  The transfer reads: ‘This Vehicle is the Property of the Home Office’.  Motorcycles issued to Brigades or the Civil Defence Corps in Scotland had a slightly different transfer applied which read ‘This Vehicle is the Property of the Scottish Home Department’.  The lettering on this transfer was Deep Cream.

Details of the front mudguard transfer – the official font used was ‘Transport Heavy’. The height of the lettering is 12mm and the thickness if the lettering is 2mm

Colour Code Information

The exact colours and colour codes of the various series of AFS Matchless motorcycles is not as straight forward as it first seems.  The initial eight LYO series motorcycles were painted Matt Green however, the exact colour and code is not known at this time.  The WXR series are confirmed as being gloss Deep Bronze Green BS 381C Tint 224.  The NYV and XYM series are also believed to have been painted the same gloss Deep Bronze Green BS 381C Tint 224 however, this is to be confirmed.  Some of the later ALD, BGJ and BYV series are believed to have been painted a NATO Green but again the exact colour and code is not know at this time.  However, at least one ALD machine is confirmed as being painted gloss Deep Bronze Green so the possible change to a NATO Green may well have taken place part way through a contract run.   Research on this subject is ongoing and this page will be updated as and when information becomes available.

With reference to my own WXR series Matchless, I recently discovered a nicely preserved area of original paint on the inside of one of the engine plates, when I contacted a leading classic Land Rover specialist near to me he advised me that there were two versions of Deep Bronze Green – ‘Deep Bronze Green Colour Code BS 381C Tint 224’ and ‘Land Rover Deep Bronze Green Colour Code LRC1’.  When we compared the paint on the engine plate to a sample of ‘BS 381C Tint 224 Deep Bronze Green’ it is a perfect match.  Comparing it to a sample of ‘Land Rover Deep Bronze Green’ there was a noticeable difference in the colour, the Land Rover colour is lighter, confirming that the original paint used on this series was not a Land Rover colour.

Lettering Details

Red AFS petrol tank emblems colour code:  Post Office Red   BS381C  538

‘This Vehicle is the Property of the Home Office’ transfer lettering colour code:  Deep Cream  BS 381C  353