Sunday, 13 October 2019

The 1919 Brochure

-SG- Greatly indebted to David for this scan of the 1919 Brochure - note price list inside front cover and the fact that no less than three single speed models are listed.

Saturday, 12 October 2019

Model 20 head for sale

-JdK-  Richard has what appears to be a '31-'36 Model 20 cylinder head for sale. Contact him on

Friday, 11 October 2019

Bob Spreadbrow's Cup

-SG- Back in May we had a posting about Bob and his Brooklands activities aboard his Model 30.  Graham has now kindly sent a photo of his silver cup and also his flying kilometer speed certificate from April 1935.  Many thanks!

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

ML Magnetos

-SG- The round ML magnetos were fitted extensively to Nortons in the twenties - initially just to the SV models (OHV models being fitted with the CAV) but with the re-organisation of the company after James Norton's death in 1925, it seems that the ML was fitted across the range on all the diamond framed models. The cradle framed models which came along at the end of 1927 and later - CS1/ES2/CJ and I think JE - were fitted with the racing Lucas KR1. I have been told that the CAV magneto was used by the company for the good and simple reason that C A Vandervell was a major shareholder early in the decade but this ceased with the formation of Norton Motors (1926) Ltd.  I do not know if this is correct or not but I guess it makes sense.

This September 1925 Instruction booklet covers  the CMA and CMAK models which were fitted with an enclosed advance and retard mechanism. The end housings were made of cast Mazak and many of these have broken over the years and are virtually irreparable.  A few replicas in cast aluminium have been made but I am not sure of present day sources.  Incidentally, the 1929 and 1930 version utilised a different HT pick-up secured by two set screws rather than the screw-in pick up shown in this booklet.

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Bonham B... S... - at it again!

-SG- Our attention has been drawn by Stephen in Australia to the write-up in Bonhams' up-coming Stafford sale, relating to an entirely standard Model 18  from 1927. The Bonhams script writers have spent thirteeen lines of an eighteen line screed woffling on about D R O'Donovan - to whose Norton dealership in London this bike was originally despatched in  May 1927.  It was passed on to the end-user later that month - regrettably name and address illegible in the records.  The bike is described by Bonhams as a Model 18 Racing Motorcycle Project, presumably because, when it was last registered for road use in 1961, the applicant stated that it had not been registered before as it was used as a racing machine prior to that date! Yeah, right!  Having been around at the time, I am well aware that this was an excuse sometimes used by those wishing to register a bike which had no existing log book or registration number! Not sure the vehicle registration authorities would accept such an excuse these days ...

All this apart, the machine has matching frame and engine numbers, correct hubs (though re-rimmed), incorrect forks (Druids instead of Webbs) and is apparently missing sundry other items.  But, with a guide price of £5000 to £7000, it would not be a bad starting point for someone wishing to embark on a Norton flat-tank journey! Lot number, by the way, is 424!

Saturday, 28 September 2019

Vintage Magdynos

-SG- In 1929 and 1930 many standard 'non-cradle framed' Nortons were supplied fitted with Lucas electric lights and MDB1 magdynos. Indeed, my 1930 Model 18 was so equipped when I first bought it in 1956. Although the magneto part functioned well enough when I got the bike on the road a couple of years later, the dynamo gave periodic problems. I did not have access to Lucas's period instruction book which might have helped ... Thanks to Ian, a scan of this publication is now available.  Much appreciated as always!

Thursday, 26 September 2019

New Model 18 exhaust pipes

-JdK- Gilbert found someone in Belgium who can make new exhaust pipes for 1920s Model 18 Nortons. The pipes are made from OD 45mm tube, which is slightly different from original but they are said to fit well; see the pics attached. To order, please contact Guy via email at:

Monday, 23 September 2019

Money, money, money!

-SG- I am indebted to David Crawford for this interesting scan from Stanley Woods' records, of the income arising from his 1926 TT win.  Using the information available on the Internet, the total sum involved  - £1631.00 -  amounts to no less that £98.000 in today's money!  And when you bear in mind that the average weekly wage for skilled chaps in the UK in the mid twenties was only about £4 (which I understand included a half day on Saturdays), then Stanley's 'one race' earnings are truly astonishing.

By all accounts, professional riders' pay sank dramatically during the thirties and the Norton management was far from generous, resorting to money saving ideas like sharing winning prize money among team members!  And in all probability, the bonus payments from the likes of KLG plugs, Castrol oil, Dunlop tyres, Carburettor manufacturers etc. were also greatly reduced or simply ceased, following the major economic depression at the beginning of the decade.

Sunday, 22 September 2019

Norton Pushrod Adjusters

-JdK- When David makes parts for a project he tries to make a few extra for other Norton enthusiasts. He has just completed 1926 to 1929 Norton Push Rod Adjusters and locking nuts. The adjusters are the correct 9/32" x 26 tpi, are made from 4140, and are nitride hardened. The locking nuts are mild steel and are black oxided. The price for a pair is NZ$53 plus postage.​ Please contact him on

Saturday, 21 September 2019

The First TT

-SG- Many thanks to Alan for this copy of the first TT programme from May 1907 (via this link).  Of course, the redoubtable Mr Fowler is mentioned along with seven others in the twin cylinder class.  He is shown as one of three private entrants although he apparently had considerable help from J L Norton. Alan has also drawn my attention to a relevant section of Don Morley's Norton History (published by Osprey 1991). Don has kindly given us permission to use it, and it is attached. Altogether interesting pieces of history!