Saturday, 1 November 2014

Simpson, 1934 Model 40


-JdK- Jimmie Simpson and his Model 40 at the 1934 Ulster.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

1926 Model 18 Norton


-JdK- Nick in the UK sent this photos of his very nice 1926 Model 18 Norton; still with Brown and Barlow carburetter and beaded edge tyres.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

More from Moore?


-SG- Those with an interest in the racing versions of the early CS1s will probably have read the two postings about the non-standard racing engine supplied on loan to J H S Gardner in September 1929.  It seems pretty certain that this engine incorporates the changed cylinder head and barrel which resulted in some late season success for the factory. Based on Joe Craig's written comments, these changes were put into effect by him and Arthur Carroll after Walter Moore had departed to NSU.

However, the bottom half alterations of the Gardner unit - with a different oil pump speed, absence of the standard crankcase oil level adjuster knob, and positive oil feed to the barrel base - may date from rather earlier and may perhaps be Moore-inspired alterations. Photos exist of the 1929 works CS1 OF166 (already on the site) and this certainly had no oil level adjuster knob although I cannot make out a barrel feed oil pipe.

The reason for raising this subject yet again is simple: another special engine has come to light in Ireland. This one, with an engine number a bit later than the Gardner unit, formed part of a special spec. machine supplied to Kellys in Dublin but not until May 1930. The all too brief details in the despatch books make no mention of lubrication changes, but state that it was a 1929 version, supplied with a piston for alcohol fuel, TT tanks, TT g/box and clutch, quick-action twist grip, 2.75 ribbed front tyre, and Druid forks with side members. It is my assumption only that the latter may have been the braced enclosed spring Druids, as fitted to Roger's ex Driscoll Brooklands machine, and perhaps the machine was intended for sidecar racing events. Some patient student of Irish racing events in the early thirties might perhaps be able to have a good guess as to who owned it.

This engine has no oil level adjuster knob and the crankshaft worm driving the 22 tooth oil pump gear is three start which I am advised will result in a pump running at about twice the standard speed. Like the Gardner unit, it also has an oil feed to the barrel base but now we can see where it came from (until now this has remained a question mark) - a double outlet banjo on the front of the lower bevel cover, with one pipe going to the cam box as usual and the other going behind the vertical shaft tube to the barrel feed needle valve.

We do not yet know if the crankcase internals are similar to the Gardner engine, but the owner tells me that the top half of the engine appears to be 'normal' CS1 with left hand exhaust port and straight inlet port. As and when further dismantling is carried out, we hope to learn more!

Friday, 24 October 2014

c1927 Model 18 Norton


-Adam in Australia- I have recently came across this photo  of my recently deceased grandfather on his Norton motorcycle. The photo was taken in (I have been told) 1932, in Northam, Western Australia.

-SG- I think I can just see enough to recognise the original bike as a '27 or perhaps early '28 Model 18.  This is because of the oil pump fitted to the magneto drive cover and, just visible, the clamps holding the gear change mechanism to the rear down tube.

Updating the appearance of flat tank bikes by putting more modern tanks on them was quite popular in UK at the time and a few companies made special tanks for the purpose, but this one looks like a regular Norton tank from one of their early thirties range which would not have been easy to fit due to basic frame and tank mounting differences.

Note the home brewed cover for the push rods and the very slick front tyre!

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Norton parts lists 1930s


-SG- I recently had the chance of looking at a collection of these lists, bound into a hard-back book by a former motor cycle dealer in New Zealand. No attempt was made to scan any of the contents in case of damage to the book’s binding but it is clear that, for several years during the thirties, if a new list was not printed, then a supplement of up to four pages was - covering changes to the content of the last full list printed.

With one exception, all the main lists show the usual message on the front page of text ‘Covers models after (for example) 1930.’ It is not suggested that the following list of the book’s contents covers all the spares publications issued but it does seem to cover the majority. A question mark hangs over lists for the 350 models for the early part of the decade. If they existed, they are not in this collection.

1. Blue/Grey Cover.  Covers 1931 models exc. CS1/ES2/22/CJ/JE.
2. Green Cover.  Covers 1931 CS1/ES2/22 only.
3. Brown Cover. Covers 1932 models exc. cradle framed models and 350s.
4. Supplement.  Covers 1933 variations exc. cradle framed models and 350s.
5. Red Cover. Covers 1932 CS1/ES2 and seemingly as an afterthought, models 30/40/CJ.
6. Supplement. Covers 1933 variations, for CS1 and ES2 models only.
7. Cream Cover. Appears to cover 1932  models 50/55.  Not illustrated or dated.
8. Blue Cover.  Covers all models for 1934 inc. 350s.
9. Supplement. Covers 1935 variations for all models.
10. Supplement. Covers 1936 variations for all models.
11. Green Cover.  Covers all models for 1937.
12. Black cover. Incorrectly states that it covers all models for 1937 when in fact, it covers all models for 1938.
13. Supplement. Covers 1939 varations for all models.

I have checked with the VMCC and the Norton Owners’ Club and only one supplement has come to light - the 1939 version. A scan of this has been provided by the NOC Librarian, Chris, for which many thanks.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

The Trade Mark ...


... (-SG-) shown in the photo above appears on numerous Norton components during the late twenties and thirties, ranging from engine plates and steering damper parts to cam followers. But it's not a Norton (or Shelley) trade mark, as far as I can ascertain. So which company was it? Whoever, they were probably based in the general Birmingham area and operated as suppliers of miscellaneous machined and stamped parts to the industry. If anyone has the answer to this small but not very important query, please let us know!

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

1929 Model CS1 Norton - For sale


-JdK- Nick in the UK is selling this 1929 Model CS1 Norton for an old friend. Nick: "Here are some pictures of a 1929 CS1, engine number 410XX and frame number 344XX. The date in the brown log book is 25/5/29. It currently has a later Inter gearbox and forks but it comes with the correct Sturmey Archer gearbox and most of a brass carburettor is there. It has not moved for the last 20-plus years but it runs. There's a nicely fitted extra front down tube (which can easily be removed if you must), braced brake cam and so on. It has a V5C"


Simon had a look in the records and the frame and engine number match up and it was indeed despatched in May 1929 to Yorkshire dealer Dan Bradbury. Seems to have been a standard bike with a dynamo.

Nick is looking for  £17.500; please contact us for Nick's email address when you are interested.

Monday, 20 October 2014

How to remove an Inter oilpump

1936 Model CJ cases;
note the big hole where the pump used to sit
The pump

-JdK- I have been struggling for a few nights trying to remove the oilpump from the engine of my 1936 Model CJ Norton. Like in all Carroll OHC engines, the pump is shrunk into the crankcases. Every manual and expert will tell you to heat the cases and pull the pump out using two studs screwed into the holes of the pump and a sturdy piece of steel across the bevel chamber. I managed to get it out but it took a lot of WD40, sweat and considerable force and you don't want to break the pump or cases. I discussed all this with Ian Bennett who contacted me last night with the answer:

"Yesterday I was talking to a clever old guy, Julian Harvey, who has worked on Manx engines all his life and he happened to comment on new oil pumps being made of brass. He told me the original  oil pumps made of Mazac (a zinc-like metal) have a large "coefficient of expansion" so that when the engine gets hot the oil pump gets tighter in the crankcase. I have just checked and have listed the coefficient of linear expansion of several metals below:

steel and iron: 12x10-6 m/moK
aluminium: 23x10-6 m/moK
magnesium: 26x10-6 m/moK
brass: 19x10-6 m/moK
zinc: 34x10-6 m/moK

So if you, like me, have always heated the crankcase up to remove the oil pump, you were wrong. When you heat the crankcase up with an original oil pump it gets tighter in the cases because the Mazac (zinc) expands more than the aluminium crankcases. So put the cases in the freezer to remove the Mazac pump and heat the cases up to fit it! Be aware that the new brass ones will get looser when heated! We keep learning ... "

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Bert Greeves and Nortons!

Bert Greeves and his CS1:
he obviously liked to see where he was going!

-SG- Bert Greeves is of course associated with the range of Villiers powered lightweights produced at the Thundersley factory from around 1953 to 1978. He was in his late forties at the time production began but was certainly no newcomer to motorcycles – he got his first driving licence in 1919 – and needless to say (otherwise why mention him on this site!) his motor cycling activities in the late twenties and early thirties were centred on a Norton - a CS1 to be exact. This machine appears to have been used for quite a few competitive events as well as everyday transport and some photos of him with it are attached. It suffered a front down tube breakage early in the thirties, which was repaired, and then a major engine blow-up in 1936 apparently resulted in it being scrapped.


But the CS1 was not his only association with Nortons. In the thirties, he built and ran a garage in Surbiton, Surrey and during the war years acquired from one of his employees a non-running 1930 Model 18. This long suffering machine was used post-war as a test bed for the innovative Greeves forks – the initial version being trailing, rather than leading, link. It was again employed, still with the trailing link forks in place, in the early fifties, to test Greeves’ sidecar chassis design – also with rubber suspension.

Bert Greeves and his chaps testing the sidecar chassis in '52

Various action photos exist of it in this state with Bert at the helm and a couple of his employees in the box on the sidecar chassis – taken on the Greeves test track at Thundersley. They all look as if they are thoroughly enjoying themselves! In the event, Greeves decided not to market the chair chassis but retained the Model 18 in his collection.

The massive rear sprocket
came from a concrete mixer!
The Norton as acquired
by Andrew King in 1996

After his retirement, this collection was sold in the late seventies to Don Hitchcock, in Folkestone. And the Model 18? That was sold on by Hitchcock in 1996 to leading horologist and Greeves enthusiast Andrew King – still in ‘as last used’ condition, with the prototype forks on the front end. Andrew, in turn, exchanged it a few years back for another Greeves belonging to Ken, a friend of mine who lives about 20 miles away. Although he is retaining the original and rather weighty Greeves forks, Ken plans to fit correct Webb forks and gearbox which have been obtained. A rebuild will follow of this humble machine, which nevertheless played an important role in the Greeves story and the development of the forks which became a symbol of the make.


All the photos used have been provided from Ken’s file for which for which many thanks are due!

postscript "Andrew King has just advised that, in fact the Greeves sidecar chassis was put into production in 1952 but very few were made - the one known survivor also being now owned by Ken.  There were apparently problems over the enormous number of fittings needed for it and also threats of patent infringement. When motor cycle manufacture was started towards the end of 1953, production of the chassis was dropped."

Friday, 17 October 2014

ON7170 again


-JdK- Now on YouTube; a British Pathé movie covering the 1926 TT with a few great shots of Stanley Woods and his 1926 mount; this machine featured on this site before.

Below two screenshots from the movie. The first one shows Stanley at the start. At 0:27 there is another Norton in view; a flat tank dry sump machine with racing number 5; is this Joe Craig?