Tuesday, 23 September 2014

The 1927 Olympia Show report

right-mouse click and
'open in new window' to read

-SG- At Kempton Park Autojumble on Saturday I bought a rather sad copy of Motor Cycling  for November 2nd 1927 - the Olympia Show report. The stall holder, who sells only old magazines and motor-cycle books, told me he was leaving early as he had to go and take delivery of a pre-war bike he had recently bought with the proceeds from the sale of his American car. It transpired it was a thirties Model 55 and he was interested to hear about the web site.

But back to the Show number - scans are attached of the Norton section - showing publicity prints which have been used many times over the years. Obviously the Publicity Department was not that fussed about accuracy - the ES2 being shown as having the earlier oil pump fitted and the Model 18 with pre-1926 rockers. In addition, both the CS1 and the ES2 are shown with the original rear brake anchor point, which caused frame bending problems in the TT and was modified on production versions!

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Victor Horsman - 1921‏

Victor Horsman and 1921 Model 16H Norton

-SG- Several years back John in Northern Ireland sent me some interesting photocopies including this slightly murky one (above). At the time it was undated and untitled, and I think neither of us had looked at it very carefully. Had we done so, we would perhaps have identified Victor Horsman as the rider.


The second photo - suffering the effects of time or damp -  from the Bibliothèque nationale de France shows a cheerful Horsman at the 'weigh-in' for the Grand Prix de la Sarthe in July 1921 with his works 16H and I am fairly sure from what one can see of the registration numbers, it is the same bike as the one in John's copy.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Joe Craig ...


-SG- ... perhaps would not have minded this 1924 TT photo. Roger has checked the race report in the MotorCycle and it appears Stanley Woods -  attempting to nip through on the inside - caught Joe's handlebars. What's more, Joe remounted and finished a creditable 12th.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Another three from France ...

M. Barthelemy and his Model 9 Norton

-SG- Here in the UK there have recently been a few articles about Despatch Riders in WW1 in various motor cycling publications and we tend to overlook that the French army also had DRs. The first of the photos attached from the Bibliothèque nationale de France shows M. Barthelemy aboard his single gear Norton (is that a Philipson pulley on the mainshaft?) at Auxerre in May 1920, at a meeting of the Association des Anciens Motocyclistes Militaires (former military motorcyclists' association).

1921 Model 16H and Big Four Norton motorcycles

And the second one shows the French Norton team for the Paris - Nice event in February 1921 at the 'weigh-in' at Neuillly-sur-Seine.  M. Barthelemy is in this photo too, although by now, he has a smart new 16H! To his right, on another 16H, is M. Bastide, who features in the third and final photo in his riding gear - probably at the same event.

M. Bastide and his 1921 Model 16H Norton

Sunday, 14 September 2014

1927 Model 25 Norton

Stanley Woods and the Model 25
pictured in 1989


-JdK- Tino in Italy sent us these pictures of his 1927 Model 25 Norton. He bought it in 1985 in restored condition though he did rebuild the engine himself.

The bike came with old documents, a “Certificato del Registro Italiano” dated 1927 and a “Libretto di Circolazione duplicato” dated 1937. Both documents list the engine- and frame numbers as they are now present on the bike. Unfortunately, the frame and engine number are identical (which is not correct) and Tino informs us that re-numbering of the frame may have been done by the Italian officials when the bike was new.

Tino continues to say he has documents that suggest that this Model 25 participated in the famous “Targa Florio race” in 1927: Sanseverino retired on the second lap while in second position.


Simon checked the engine number against the records and these show: 33XXX Engine Number. 26XXX Frame Number, Model 25.  Magneto Number 11192. Gearbox number 91585. Webb H/W TT forks. Pannier Tanks. Despatched 19/1/27 to the Italian agents Mototecnica.

The M25 probably had a CS gearbox when new. It still carries the CS type gear change mechanism but this can be made to work on an LS box with a few minor changes.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Freddy Frith, 1934 Model 30


-SG- Freddie Frith needs no introduction as a leading works Norton team member in the second half of the thirties. Prior to that, he had won the 1935 Junior MGP, finished second in the '35 Senior, and put up good performances in the MGPs of 1930, 1932,1933 and 1934. I am not that keen on action photos for the site, as they show too little of the actual machine details and this 1934 shot is no exception. But it epitomises Frith's tidy riding style and certainly shows a man in a hurry!

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Model 30 Norton - For sale


-Richard- While Simon was at the Netley Eurojumble I was a few miles along the road at the Beaulieu motor museum for their auto jumble. In the area for business promotions was a well known motorcycle dealer specialing in vintage and veteran machines offering a 1934 Norton International for an asking price of £22.500. On close inspection the only original international components seem to be the engine, carburettor and oil tank.

The engine number looks O.K. for 1934 and although the frame could be from the same year (the number was not visible) it is from an ES2. The front forks are WD16H type as is the gearbox and most probaly the wheels. The petrol tank has been fabricated, I guess, without an original to copy as it's contours are more akin to an ES2 with the filler cap on the wrong side and standard petrol taps. The rest of the components are standard range Norton items or propriety parts, such as the rear mudguard stay/lifting handle.

Although the bike looks quite appealing, it would be much enhanced by a more authentic tank, an Andre steering damper and a 21 inch rim with a 300x21 section tyre  and mudguard, all of which are available as new parts. Unfortunately, even with these parts fitted I don't think It would justify the asking price.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

1931 Model CS1 Norton - For sale


This is a handsome and very usable machine and Leon, (the seller in Australia) writes :

"Time to sell my friend's last-remaining Norton - his favourite - the 1931 CS1.  It has been in continuous use in vintage rallies since the 1960s. As you (www.vintagenorton.com) pointed out when I asked some time back, it is not to original spec at the moment, but many sporty bits are fitted - Lucas racing magneto, Webb fork, twin float carburettor etc.

You may recall that when I enquired about the bike in July last year, you were able to come up with a December 1930 build date, and the original frame number. The bike currently has a somewhat  later two-stay frame with rather indistinct number stamping, but the original frame number you quoted rang some bells. Sure enough, elsewhere in the shed was a seemingly "plunger Inter" frame carrying exactly that number! When examined closely, the "Inter" frame has witness marks on the seat tube where the original centre stays of the three-stay rigid rear end were connected. Other than this the plunger conversion is so expertly executed that, frame number aside, it looks for all the world like a factory job. When I told my friend the story, he looked at me blankly. Now 90, he has owned the bike - and presumably the plunger frame - for more than 50 years but never dreamed that the plunger "Inter" frame was the original frame from his beloved CS1! The original frame will be included in the sale.'

While I know well that these days we tend to prefer original spec. bikes, this is a case where, to me, the non-original features give it more appeal! As shipped it was fitted with a magdyno and Norton's own forks, and I prefer the racing Lucas magneto, the Webbs and Enfield 8 inch (not wildy efficient!) front brake. I note that the LS gear box is fitted with a Sturmey-Archer footchange, too. Another variation from its 'as despatched' state. We are looking for offers around 30,000 Australian Dollars or above (21.000 Euros)"

Contact Leon directly via his website, http://earlymotor.com/

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Use them!


-Svein in Norway- Here is my 1926 Model 18 and I also like to use it. This photo is from a weekend trip to the excellent Lucas Rally at Evje near Kristiansand this year. My Model 18 was the oldest bike around and it was excellent that weekend with around 780 km on the clock when I returned home.

Monday, 8 September 2014

1932 Model 30 - For sale


-SG- The second machine of note at the 'Eurojumble' is a 1932 Model 30 and the seller, Jerry, has given me his mobile phone number in case anyone is interested. He has a dating certificate from the NOC and the bike was shipped in September 1932 to a dealer in the north of England. I am the first to admit that the finer points of thirties OHC machines are not one of my strengths, but apparently sundry NOC pundits have expressed surprise at its originality - even down to the mudguards (though now painted a less than desirable hue). For myself, I view with slight suspicion the centre stand, which I thought came a bit later in the decade, the rather sumptuous fuel tank and the oil tank which surely is later - it has an ENOTS filler cap. The asking price for this one is also £25.000 ...

We invited Richard to comment on this particular machine and his observations follow:

-Richard- Regrettably, the bike is not totally original with the most notable departure being the front forks which are from sometime between 1935 and '38 and from a non International model. The oil tank, which Simon alluded to, looks like a later replacement as it does not have the large diameter access plug on the off-side of the top. The BTH magneto also looks like a later addition. The mudguards may be replacements and it is missing its original front stays. Simon is correct about the centre stand as they were not listed until 1935 and referred to as prop stands in the brochures, but these are easily fitted to earlier models as they were designed to fit the existing frames. Although the bike was dispatched in September 1932, it looks to be one of the first of the 1933 spec. bikes with the large wheel hubs as the new models were produced in advance of the major motorcycle shows in October.

As the price of these machines continues to increase, any prospective buyer should seek a second opinion as to originality of a bike as after 80 years, there are likely to have been replacements and changes, so as far as originality goes, buyer be very aware!

-Richard in response to some questions-

I feel I did not explain myself very well regarding the 1932 specifications.

Although centre stands were not introduced until 1935 they simply fitted to the bottom cross tube and so they can be easily fitted to earlier machines with no modifications. The works bikes had aluminium centre stands which fitted directly to the bottom gearbox bolt.

The oil tank on this bike is lacking the large access plug on the off-side top of the tank and if you look at all the original photographs the tanks have this fitted. Tanks made later to replace damaged or split originals may not have this plug, even ones made by Nortons themselves.

As far as I am aware all production Inters were fitted with rear-set footrest lugs from the beginning. The defining difference for early Inter frames is an extra lug on the saddle tube below the gearbox top lug but facing forwards. This extra lug was where the footrest threaded rod went through when forward footrests were used but was also a mounting lug for the engine plates. This was fitted for 1932 and '33 only and for 1934 the rod ran through the crankcases as all the later ones did.

The George Dance knee grips were used between 1932 and '34 on production Inters. Bolt through tanks were new for 1934 and made from aluminium and were reserved for the works riders only. The production racers were first fitted with bolt through tanks in 1939 but these were still soldered steel and Manx Nortons had to wait until 1950 before they got aluminium tanks.

The works bikes did have auxiliary check springs in 1932 and these were used on all Inters for '33 and the whole range for 1934.

Many up-dates have occurred to many machines over the years so we must refer to original photos of the bikes when they were new.