Sunday, 31 January 2010

c1934 Model 18

Probably a wartime picture, note the blackout cover on the headlamp and the uniform. It looks like a 490cc Model 18, note the open diamond frame. The front fork does not have the check springs that were introduced on all models in 1934 but is the 8" headlamp not a bit later than that? (Picture from

Friday, 29 January 2010

Tim's 1929 M18 Norton

Another very nice 1929 M18 Norton; this one belongs to Tim from the UK:

"Thought I would send you a few pics of my 1929 Model 18. I've had her for near on 18 years and been all over on her. Its in near original condition apart from the rear mudguard as I had to fit a new one a few years ago when the old one disintegrated as it was full of stress cracks and I had welded it many times. Not too sure about the early amal carb, it could be right as it has no side mounted tickover screw. Gear change altered before I got her but its so easy to change gear with it like that. The Brooklands can is staying as it makes a great sound coming up through my piss pot helmet. Paint work worn through in places but that's how I like them. Came from Bennett's in Southampton and it's history is known from after the war. It's one bike I would never part with."

Interestingly, Tim also owns a Duzmo; follow this link for the complete story.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

R.T. Grogan wins again.

In this picture R.T. Grogan has just won the 1000cc Three Laps Handicap Race at Brooklands on the 18th of August 1923.

The bike is a 490cc Model 18 and appears to be the same motorcycle as he used to win the 200 miles solo race in 1924; he did fit other handlebars though.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

1929 ES2 Norton

Two truly excellent pictures taken from the Vintagebike website ( They show a mr Bullock and his friends in 1937.

The Norton is a 1929 ES2 model. The ES2 shared the cycle parts with the cammy CS1 but this one clearly has a pushrod motor. The pushrod springs appear to be enclosed, identifying the bike as an ES2. The oilpump on the timing chest, though barely visible, looks to be a Best & Lloyd "Mark IV" fitted to the 1929 models. The early ES2 models were quite special and very fast, with engines that clearly differed from the M18s.

Great bike! Nice swimwear and what's the guy with the cigarette in the lower pic doing with his right hand?

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Polo shirts - SOLD

Finally a polo shirt with a picture of a Flat Tank Norton; click this link for details.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Side valve racer

An intriguing photo sent to me by John in the UK;

"I thought that you may be particularly interested in the model shown in the attachment which will be next in line to restore to running order when I have finished those currently on the bench. You will see that it is unusual because, when it was used for racing, it was fitted with Rudge wheels and front forks. I understand that at that time the replacement forks were thought to provide better road holding than the original Druids and the wheels gave better braking. I am currently undecided whether to retain the modifications, as they go back to the early 1920s, or to refit original equipment."

Does anyone know more about the history of this machine?

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

R.T. Grogan winner of the 200 Miles Solo Event

This photo depicts Mr R.T. Grogan on his Model 18 Norton after winning the 1924 200 miles Solo Event at Brooklands. Summarized, he raced a standard looking Model 18 Norton for two and a half hours at an average speed of 80 miles per hour. He won from the famous tuner Victor Horsman (on a Triumph), all of which did not affect his hairdo at all!

A report on the race can be found at page 28 of a Norton's publication entitled 'A Year of Firsts':

"Almost ideal weather attended the 200 miles Solo Motorcycle Races, held at Brooklands, on Saturday, September 6th and some exciting races resulted. Though the entries were comparatively few in the 500 cc class, the only Norton machine taking part - a 490 cc OHV Model ridden by R.T. Grogan - took the lead from the start. The end of the first lap saw Grogan leading with the second man close on his heels, and it was already evident that the race would develop into an exciting duel between these two - Grogan and another well-known racing man, Victor Horsman. The two leaders were both gradually drawing away from the rest of the field and lap after lap saw Grogan still leading with Horsman in close attendance, and by the time 20 laps had been covered excitement ran high. The duel between the two leaders was fast becoming the only thing of interest in the race, and when at 36 laps Grogan drew up at his pit to replenish, Horsman at once took the lead. The feverish haste at which " filling up " was tackled can well be imagined, and after what seemed minutes, but was in reality only seconds, the Norton was once more going - and as consistent as ever. After another six laps - with the Norton a close second - Horsman stopped at his pit and Grogan readjusted the position by again taking the lead - a position he held - and increased - until the end. The finish of this decidedly thrilling race resulted in a win for Norton's. Grogan's time for the 200 miles being 2 hours, 31 minutes, 49 1/5 seconds, an average speed of 79.81 miles per hour, against Horsman's average of 73.24 m.p.h."

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Mirek's CS1 Norton

A few days ago I was contacted by Mirek from the Czech Republik and what follows is his story:

"I'm the owner of the 1929 CS1 Norton in the picture above. The photo was taken in 1937 and came from the grandson of the original owner; the original owner is the man in the light shirt.
The motorcycle was purchased new from Mr. Weigel, the agent for Norton motorcycles in Czechoslovakia in the 1920s and 1930s. His shop was based in the town of Prostejov, 30 miles northeast from Brno where I live.

The Norton provided daily transport to the original owner but was also raced in local competitions and therefore fitted with the magnificent Lucas racing magneto that is still with the bike. He finally sold his bike in the early 1950s and it most probably remained unused until found by a next owner in around 1980. The new owner's main interest was in Indians and Harleys and he did not use the CS1 but kept it in his workshop for decoration. Then, in January 1996, he decided to sell and advertised the bike in a local magazine. Just by chance I saw the ad, contacted the owner and collected the Norton the very same night.

At that time I did not know much about this model and started to learn from books and internet. The CS1 was in a well-conserved and oily condition and mostly complete though lights and dynamo were missing by then. A small mystery is the extra frametube that has been fitted between the upper frame rails and the front downtube; you can just make it out behind the front petroltank mountings.

As the years went by I was hesitant to start the restoration as I did not feel like stripping the bike to repaint the parts and polish the aluminum. I decided to preserve the patina as much as possible and in early 2008 did the minimum to make it run. The frame was left well alone to preserve the old paint. The carb and transmission were rebuilt but the engine was not stripped. The wheels had to be rebuild and fresh paint was applied to the tanks. The mudguards are replica, the handlebars came from George Cohen and the exhaust pipe came from Armour Motor Products (Bournemouth) Limited. One day I will need to find original levers for the handlebars but it's OK for now.

In early September 2008 the bike started after only four or five kicks. The engine sounded just fine, so after checking the oil circulation I took it for ride. What an experience! From that day on I use this motorcycle for veteran hill climbs and regularity races. Thanks to Ken McIntosh, who helped me a lot in the beginning and his technical advice probably prevented me from harming the bike while learning to ride it."

Also click this link.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Calum's CS1 Norton

These pics were sent to me by Calum from the UK. His c1928 CS1 has been on display in Murray's Motorcycle at the Isle of Man, and he was able to buy it when the museum closed down. The photos above depict the bike in the museum.

Calum is half way through the restoration and seems to be taking a very thorough approach!

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

1927 Model 34 Norton

One of the more exceptional models produced by Norton. It shares the engine and most of the cycle parts with the 490cc Model 18 but it has a 4-speed gearbox. The gearbox was Norton's own design and primarily developed to be used in a sidecar mount. The box is of the crossover type, the final drive being on the right-hand side of the machine. It has a hand change lever fitted to the tank side.

I've never seen one. Few people may have been convinced that you could do with an extra gear and most of them would have chosen for the Model 18 with the well-proven Sturmey Archer 3-speed gearbox. The Model 18 was less expensive too, at 69 GBP compared to 74 GBP for the Model 34. And frankly, the Model 18 looks better.

This one has seen some serious use. It's covered in oil and muck and two carbide generators were fitted. It was dropped on the road already, the footrest is bent.

Interesting too see how an old sheet was used to provide an even background. Was there anyone not smoking in the 1920s?

Added note:
The vintage Norton 4 speed box was the subject of a patent applied for by the company and, surprisingly, Arthur Carroll. This shows Carroll was working at the factory before Walter Moore joined them in '24. The basic principles used in the box - which was not a howling success except for the racket it reportedly made - were used at the end of the twenties in the development of the four speed Sturmey Archer box.
Cheers S

Monday, 11 January 2010

1915 Model 8 Norton

This picture shows Alexander Lindsay, a doctor in the Royal Army Medical Corps, with the Norton he rode in the August 1915 'All Khaki' Brooklands meeting. This race was for members of the armed forces only. He won the half-mile sprint for machines up to 550cc.

The Norton is a 1915 model as it has the 'Curly N' trademark on the tank, first used in 1915; note that the trademark on the magneto chain cover is still of the plain earlier type. It's a Model 8, also known as the Brooklands Road Special, similar to the Brooklands Special though fitted with a carrier and mudguards. Brookland Specials were not specially built but rather identified; engines would be sent to O'Donovan at Brooklands who would fit them to a frame and test them; Brooklands Specials were fitted with the fastest engines from these batches, guaranteed to do 65 to 75 mph depending on year and model.

Production engines would vary a lot in performance, mostly due to the difficulties of casting the 'blind' cylinder barrels without a detachable head. Sometimes the cylinder head would sink in the casting and you could end up with a very high compression ratio and the perfect shape of the head and ports. These engines would be kept apart and become the record breakers.

Dr. Lindsay extensively modified his machine. He fitted special forks; tiny springs can be seen where you would expect to find the top links. The carburetter is a Binks Mousetrap. He seems to have jammed metal plates between the fins of the cylinder head in an attempt to improve the cooling of the engine. The belt rim looks very shiny and new to me and there is something fitted between the frame rails, on the left, at the rear of the machine; dr. Lindsay's idea of a brake perhaps?

Alexander is holding a wrench in his right hand, ready to change the plug!

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Vintage Norton parts - ALL SOLD

A very nice side valve cylinder; it has a detachable head but there seems to be no provision to fit a cover over the valve springs. It looks rather high (190mm from skirt to top) but the bore is 79 mm. All of this suggests an early-1930s 16H cylinder to me. In quite good condition, no fins missing.

One set of brand new and unmachined aluminium footboards to fit your flat tank Big Four model.

An empty Sturmey Archer gearbox shell: cover and shell are not a matching pair. -GEARBOX SHELL NOW SOLD-

Please make me an offer; interesting vintage Norton spares will be taken in part-exchange.