Saturday, 16 February 2019

Fowler and Bell


-Barry- Just going through some of my duplicate magazines to list on eBay and came across this photo  in a  1949 “Motorcyclist “ magazine ( USA)  thought you might find it interesting.

Saturday, 9 February 2019

Harvey Pilling


-SG- I exchanged several interesting messages with Neil during the latter part of last year - Neil is the current owner of one of the late Ron Beecroft's 1929 CS1s, which was supplied to Pillings of Bury (Lancashire) in June 1929.  Neil has carried out a lot of investigation to try and establish early registration details etc of his machine and these are, I think, still ongoing.

However, in the course of these enquiries he established that Harvey Pilling - one of the sons of the business owner Jack Pilling - rode a dry sump ES2 in the 1929 TT, retiring on his fourth lap.  Thanks to Neil, an action photo is attached and I was fortunate to locate the bike in the records.  It seems to have been rather special, being described as 'Mr Moore's Special for the TT' and was supplied with spare sprockets, spare HC piston, long pipe and was fitted with a twin float Amal carb. (At this juncture - as the type 29 Amal was not yet in general production - this is likely to have been one of the Amal-Binks carbs. which were fitted to various 1929 ES2s and CS1s.)  Harvey Pilling apparently rode twice more in the IOM - finishing 16th in the Junior in 1932 and retiring in the '47 Junior Clubman's event.

More recently, we have been contacted by Paul who, it seems, actually owns Harvey's 1929 mount.  This was owned for some years by the late Wilf Green and was used for Vintage racing by Geoff Pollard in the late seventies/eighties. A shot of it in its then state is also attached from which sundry modifications can be seen. Paul wants to return it to its original specification as far as possible.

Friday, 8 February 2019

Large capacity CS1s

-SG- Roger has done a lot of further digging into this matter following our posting re the 633 Track CS1 being restored by the Bain family.  The first of his two very relevant messages is shown below:    

"I did not doubt that the engine had been used in 633cc form but I did not accept that the Montlhery records were taken with it but in its 588cc form.  However, in the light of the pictures of the frame which must have been part of the team, I decided to do some more digging.

I was puzzled as to why the flywheels would have been marked 633 as they would have been the same for the 588 engine as the only difference would have been the larger bore while the stroke remained the same.  I have now found that there was a 665cc version with an even longer stroke and this would explain why there would be a need to mark the flywheels appropriately.  This led me to look at other possible later events where the engine could have been used and I found that a 633cc Norton was entered by Nigel for Bert to ride in April 1928 meeting postponed to May.  This fits in with the development work for the Montlhery records but as both the 588 and 633 versions were entered.  Bert finished second in two races on a 588 so it appears that that the 633 was not used in 1928 and the 665 was also a non starter.  There was a 633 Norton used for sidecar events which could well have been the CS1. I still don't understand the KENT lettering though!"

Here's an excerpt from the second of Roger's messages. For those not into Brooklands activities in the pre-war era, Parry-Thomas was a successful and innovative driver who lost his life in a world speed record attempt on the Pendine Sands driving his chain driven special 'Babs.' As Roger mentions, he also ran an engineering business at the track.

"I have a possible solution to the KENT stamp on the crankcase of the 633 CS1. Following the death of Parry-Thomas in 1927, Ken Thomson joined with Ken Taylor to take over the running of Thomas Inventions Ltd.  - becoming Thomson and Taylor Ltd.   Nigel Spring's accounts showed that they used Thomas Inventions for a lot of their engineering work which was not surprising as they were based at the track.  It is likely that T&T carried out  machining work on the crankcases of the Bain 633 engine ... The CS1 engine would have been put together in the spring of 1928 when the T&T company name had not been formally established so they were stamped KenT but all in uppercase as lowercase stamps are rare."

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Dr C.

-SG- Richard has sent us the amusing anecdote which follows about his contacts with the late Dr C!

"I had bought his Flat Tank Norton book and that inspired me to get a vintage OHV Norton. This project turned up in the Bonham’s Stafford auction in 2011 and mine was the winning bid. I had hardly put my bidding number down when George rushed up to me and said “you’ll be needing an oil tank for that … and by the way, I have one in my car outside”. So we trotted off outside and, sure enough, he had one. Well I didn’t have on me the few hundred pounds in cash that he was asking so I asked him to “put my name on it” and we could sort out the details later.

At that time, I was doing NSA sprints on a 500cc methanol JAP engined Levis and I was going regularly to Weston Zoyland down in the West Country. It turned out that George didn’t live too far away from Weston Zoyland and, as the sprint meetings were held on both days at weekends, I went over see George on a Sunday and skipped the 2nd day of sprinting. George showed me around his collection and workshop, we “did the deal” on the oiltank and, as I was also missing engine plates, we traced round an engine plate on a piece of cardboard. George then suggested we go to the pub in his car.

Well, I had no idea he had this Brasier with a huge v8 Hispano Suiza aero engine with each bank poking out each side of the car and external chain drive to the rear wheels. The starting procedure involved me squirting 'easystart' into the intake manifold – with my hand just about touching the massive flywheel, while George cranked it over on the starter. Anyway, it soon fired up and off we set to the pub. George did not drive slowly! It really was a 'Toad-of-Toad Hall' scene. George in his characteristic flat cap hunched over the wheel, a massive brass rev counter in front (this engine peaked at about 2000 rpm), brakes only on the back wheels and the road from George's house barely wide enough for one car. I was hanging on like grim death (you don’t really sit “in” the car, more “on” it) and trying to avoid dangling my left arm over the side to avoid the chain … when another car driven by a young lady appeared at the bottom of the lane. There was no way in the world George was going to stop, even if he could, and this young lady, luckily in a small modern “something”, literally drove off the road and somehow managed to get her car up the verge sufficiently for George to steam past. I’ll never forget the look of fright/surprise on that poor girl's face.

Anyway, after that I got to know George better and visited him a few times for bits and pieces; he was always helpful with his practical knowledge of early Nortons. Something must have rubbed off as I ‘m nearly completion of my 3rd Model 18 restoration!"

Friday, 1 February 2019

Early Norton Inter


-SG- Tom has sent us this nice period photo from Spain. As he writes... 'There are interesting travellers on board this old car. One Norton on the outer running board, maybe two more inside where the rear seat used to be.'

The model on the running board seems to be an early thirties International - still with Sturmey Archer footchange gear box and Dance knee grips on the tank.

Several people have commented (and many thanks for that) that this is the Spanish rider Fernando Aranda on the way to the Italian GP. Inside the car is a KTT MK IV. He won in Italy with the 350 cc race with the Velocette. The next race was the German GP in Sachsenring where was seriously injured. After 8 month in German hospital he had to finish his career.

Sunday, 27 January 2019

George Cohen's website


-JdK- George Cohen certainly was a skilled engineer; and he made quite a mess of his website which disappeared soon after he sadly passed away.

We rescued his (unfinished) tuning notes for OHC Nortons which can be found in our archives following this link and we are happy to see that Sheldon's EMU has somehow rescued most of his very entertaining and useful website which can now be found following this link.

Saturday, 26 January 2019

Compression taps


-JdK- Last August, Martin contacted Juris for an original 1920s Norton ‘compression tap’ which is illustrated in the 1921 sales catalogue. Juris did indeed possess such a thing and lent it to Martin so he could make an accurate copy for his belt drive Model 9.

Martin: "It’s not hard to understand why it wasn’t made for very long, as it’s a very complex solution to a simple problem. I wondered if other vintage Norton enthusiasts would like to get one. These will not be cheap as they are made from unplated high grade steel like the sample.  Anyone interested in obtaining one should contact me via this website. They are going to cost about £100 including UK postage, and more for overseas destinations."

Dave Moffat has fitted one of the replica taps to his Model 9 and he reports that it only needs half a turn open for the bike to push along easily. No need to remove the belt or hold the valve lifter open. The photo above shows one of the taps installed in his Model 9.

Sunday, 20 January 2019

The 1935 Instruction Manual


-SGAnother instruction manual from Ian's collection.  This appears to be around 1935 as the sideways view of the Model 18  on page 7 shows a Norton gearbox rather than S/Archer and the exhaust pipe is on the right.  Many thanks to Ian for the loan.

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

1938 documentation


-SG- We already have the 1939 Instruction Manual on the site and thanks to Ian, here's the 1938 version. The main illustration shows the 'new for 1938' engine layout with angled push rod tubes and well known silencer shape.


The final full pre-war parts list in Ian's collection is that covering the 1938 range (click this link).  The introductory paragraph on page 2 incorrectly states that it is for models subsequent to 1936  (should be 1937) so someone in the relevant department at the Works dropped a mild clanger!

Note that while we are all familiar with the abundantly available WD16H engine, this motor had been completely updated for the 1938 season. Apparantly the army stuck with the older model as they had a few thousand of these older machines already and did not want the complexity of stocking an additional set of spare parts for the newer model. Thanks for the loan, Ian!

Sunday, 23 December 2018

A modified 1926 Model 18 Norton


-JdK- Markus contributes this post: "In Switzerland, close to where I live, I found an interesting Norton. It shows a heavily modified Model 18, which was first registered on 13.03.1926 (original documentation still available). Presumably, the owner made the conversion in the late 1940s and transformed the motorcycle with a rear swing arm. Also noteworthy is the covered girder fork with sheet metal, the self-made fuel tank and oil tank. Whether the lubrication really worked, I do not know."