Friday, 26 August 2016

Early numbers

-SG- The existing Norton despatch books begin in 1922 with engine number 4200. The frame number relating to this engine was 4297S and the bike (a 16H) was despatched in November. Due to Norton's rather strange  numbering system, the next entry - 4201 - had frame number 7050S, and the one after that, 4210, had frame 6820S. At this distance in time, logical it's not!

There has been considerable debate over the years as to engine and frame numbers used prior to 4200 and Mike has taken a particular interest in the earlier bikes for a very long time. He has collated date/number information along the way. This is now incorporated in a the chart above - for which thanks are due.  He stresses that it is no more than a rough guide and any information to make it more accurate will be much appreciated.

To be complete the 1923 to 1939 numbers are provided below.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Model 18 - 16H rear carrier

-SG- The NOC has had a few rear carriers made for '24/25 Model 18s/16Hs, copying an original. The tubing is of the correct gauge and a carrier is shown fitted in one of the pictures attached. The carriers are available via The NOC shop on the Norton Owners Club website. There are just four left of the recent batch made and I am told the basic cost is £85 apiece. There are no plans to commission any more at present but if they sell as a consequence of going on the site, it may provide justification for the NOC to underwrite the production of some other rare/hard to find parts.

You could off course also make one yourself using these drawings.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Engine sprockets ...

-SG- Those with a passing interest in the works racing machines of the later thirties may have noticed the hub affair on the engine mainshaft carrying the sprocket. (see recent posting showing Daniell on the 1938 Works Senior bike).

It was news to me that this is actually incorporates a rubber shock absorber and further, that it was found to be so effective the factory continued using it until after the war. Thanks to Ken McIntosh (McIntosh Racing, New Zealand) for the photos attached, showing the internals!  The rubbers are spherical and the hub will apparently fit both Inter and later (to '54) Manx mainshafts.

Friday, 19 August 2016

Unknown spanner

-SG- Arne has sent us photos of the C spanner he has which is marked up 'Norton Rockerbox'.  In addition it bears the trade mark we have discussed on the web site before.  He suggests that it may be intended for use on the Moore CS1 cam boxes - which seems quite possible to me, although I no longer have one of them to do some checking.  Any other suggestions will be welcome, of course.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Harold Daniell

-SG- Harold Daniell needs little introduction to pre-war Norton enthusiasts. He started in the MGP on his privately owned CS1 in the early thirties (he won the 1933 Senior MGP) and then had a spell riding works AJS machines in 1934 - 1936, with only moderate results. His fortunes changed in 1937 when he rode Steve Lancefield's Nortons in both the 350 and 500 TTs, finishing fifth in both. For 1938 he had a works ride and became a legend with his 91mph lap in the Senior, which he won at a race record of 89.11 mph. The two first two photos above, showing his 1938 Senior works machine, come from a Castrol publication of 1967, while the third - rather fuzzy - shot below shows him on his Junior mount on which he finished fifth.

Speaking nearly thirty years later, Harold was not that complimentary about the 1938 works machines, saying that they were very heavy and the undamped telescopic forks did little to aid the 'unapproachable' image. While it may be a touch embroidered, I was told by H H Beach back in the early sixties (the Norton agent in Great Portland Street, London who was much involved in Norton's track activities in the early twenties)  that he obtained a set of BMW telescopic forks at Norton's request in 1937, on the basis of which Norton's own telescopics were produced ...

Saturday, 13 August 2016

VMCC Founder's day 2016

-SG- This event took place last month and there was a sprinkling of pre-war Nortons for sale on various stands. One I did not photograph - which I thought reasonable value compared to the others - was a ca.1937 16H.  It may be a WD machine (it certainly had a WD engine and forks) but if so, is now in very tidy civilian guise at £5000. As to the others ... Stephen Griffith (Racing and Investment Motorcycles) had a Moore CS1 on his stand. He assures me it is in good mechanical order and has lots of documentation with it - but from the information provided it is not a matching numbers machine: indeed the frame seems to have started life as part of a '28 ES2 while the present engine shows up in the records as being mid '28 and part of a bike exported down under. Be that as it may, in my biassed view, the restorer has wasted money on such things as plating the brake back-plates, fitting wrong tool boxes and has seemingly used chrome plate throughout. He has not bothered to source correct control levers, the correct steering damper knob, or the correct carburettor. So these down points - plus the numbers problem if that is a matter of concern - make it jolly expensive at £29500 and I would have thought the 'low twenties' would have been nearer the mark.

Then there were a couple of '20s Nortons on the Classic Motorcycles Ltd stand.  One of them on display - incorrectly dated as 1928 - is basically a late twenties Model 18 bitza - '29 frame and cylinder head, '27 bottom half, pre '29 gearbox and gearchange, later Amal carb., 1931 steering damper knob etc etc. Would doubtless make a useful bike to use on a regular basis but, again, overpriced in my view at around £20k.

Model 18 Norton

-JdK- Mark sent this photo of his dad on a Norton. Here's Mark's story: "This photo was taken at the garage which my father Rex Allinson founded after the war at his family home in Newbiggin near Stainton Cumberland. After surviving the last year of WW2 as a flight engineer on a Lancaster, he sadly died from cancer in 1966 at only 40 years young. I don't remember this bike but do recall a Manx Norton he had in the cellar. He started it up for me one Sunday (maybe 1961), my mum went crazy, and I think it was sold not long after that ..."

-SG- This Model 18 could be 1928, or even earlier, fitted with a modernising saddle tank at some stage in its life. The magneto platform and front engine plates look right for earlier years than '29.  It also has what looks to be a 1925 or earlier clutch and primary chain cover, and of course, some nifty pipe work to get the exhaust pipe to exit on the right

Bennett - 1924 TT

-SG- The 1924 Senior TT was won by Alec Bennett on a racing version of the Model 18 and various images exist of him on the bike - mostly after the end of the race.  Here's one taken during the re-fuelling stop which shows that none other than Walter Moore was acting as pit attendant. Although the photo is a bit fuzzy, one can clearly make out the large oil tank with supplementary chain oil tank on the front - and the 8" rear brake, which, at this stage, was apparently a drum from a Model T  Ford grafted onto the Enfield hub. Fifty years back I had one of these drums complete with mounting studs but did not realise what it was ...

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Cam followers and scrap yards ...

-SG- Back in the sixties a useful source of Vintage bits and pieces in the UK were the local scrap yards. I bought a 1927 588 engine from a yard in Hounslow for the massive sum of £2 and a Model 18 of slightly later vintage from Fosters, in Chertsey, for even less - I think £1.50.  So what, I can hear you saying!  Well, the 588 was nothing special having started life in a Model 19 delivered to Pikes, in the West Country and the Model 18 also showed no signs of being anything special externally but ... within, I found one racing exhaust cam in good order and two rather special cam followers, which had been lightened and of which the foot profile had been made considerably flatter than the original. It would be nice to think these parts had spent some time at Brooklands - about five miles away - but that is just an over-active imagination!  I used the cam followers and cam  (with another racing inlet cam I had acquired) for some years in my somewhat feeble efforts at Vintage racing but I can't truthfully remember what difference the followers made. Photos of the cam followers and a typical 1929 version are attached.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

1907 (?) Norton

-SG- In December last year we carried a posting of a possibly rather dubious and claimed 1907 machine for sale in South America. This bike was puchased by Sammy Miller and is in the process of re-creation. Initially I heard that he was rather dis-satisfied with his acquisition but, none the less, work is proceeding on the bike as recent photos from the hallowed sanctum of his workshop at New Milton show (courtesy of Alan). I notice that, laying on the bench under the bike, is a copy of the well known 1907 photo of Rem Fowler and his bike, taken in the IOM, but hopefully, we are not going to finish up with another Fowler replica to add to the one in the NMM!