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Part # Year Type of windshield

Manx 1961 Original

90100 Dominator racer Original


Norton History

Norton was a British marque from Birmingham, in 1898 as a manufacturer of cycle

By 1902 they had begun motorcycles with bought-in In 1908 a Norton built was added to the range. This a long series of production of cylinder motorcycles.

They one of the great names of the British industry, producing machines for decades dominated racing highly tuned single engines under the Race supremo Joe Craig.

Postwar a 500 cc cylinder model called the or Model 7 was added to the range for and this evolved into the through 500 cc, to 600 cc, to 650 cc, to 750 cc and to 850 cc models with the 650, Atlas and Commando, all regarded road motorcycles of time.


The original was formed by James Norton as Pa) in Birmingham in 1898. In 1902 began building motorcycles French and Swiss engines. In a Norton ridden by Rem Fowler won the class in the first Isle of Man TT beginning a sporting tradition went on until the 1960s The Isle of Man Senior TT, the most of events, was won by Nortons ten times the wars and then every from 1947 to 1954.

The Norton engines were in 1908, beginning a line of single cylinder engines continued with few changes the late 1950s.

In 1913 the declined, R.T. Shelley Co. the creditors, intervened and saved it. Motors Ltd was formed shortly under joint directorship of Norton and Bob Shelley.

J.L. died in 1925 aged 56, but he saw his motorcycles win the Senior and sidecar TTs in

Designed by Walter Moore, the One (CS1) engine appeared in based closely on the ES2 (pushrod) and using many of its parts. On his to NSU in 1930, an entirely new ohc engine was by Arthur Carroll, which was the for all later ohc and dohc Norton (Moore’s move to NSU prompted to claim that NSU stood for Spares Used) That spawned the Norton racing Of the nine Isle of Man Senior TTs cc) between 1931 and 1939 won seven.

Up to 1934, Norton the excellent Sturmey Archer and clutches. When Sturmey to discontinue production, Norton the design rights, and had them by Burman, a manufacturer of proprietary

Nortons also appealed to motorcyclists who enjoyed the reliability and offered by single-cylinder engines separate gearboxes. The marque their teams from in 1938, but between 1937 and nearly one quarter (Over of all British military motorcycles Nortons, basically the WD 16H (solo) and WD Big outfit (with driven wheel).

After the War, reverted to civilian motorcycle gradually increasing the range. A addition in 1949 was the Dominator, known as the Model 7, a pushrod 500 cc cylinder machine designed by Hopwood. Its chassis was derived the ES2 single, with telescopic and plunger rear suspension, and an version of the gearbox known as the box.

Post war, struggled to reclaim its pre-WWII dominance, since the single machine was facing fierce from the multi-cylinder Italians, and AJS at In the 1949 Grand Prix racing season, the first of the world championship, Norton made fifth place, and AJS

That was before the Norton frame appeared, developed for by the McCandless brothers of Belfast in 1950, used in the legendary Norton, and raced by riders Geoff Duke, John and Derek Minter. Overnight the frame was the benchmark by which all frames were judged. were winners again.

In the Norton Dominator became in export markets as the Model 88 the Featherbed frame. Later, as of this frame increased, it a regular production model, and was in variants for other models, the ohv single cylinder machines.

The successes were transferred to the through Cafe racers, of whom would use the feather bed with an engine from manufacturer to make a hybrid with the best of both The most famous of these Tritons — Triumph engines in a Norton feather-bed


Despite, or perhaps because of the successes, Norton was in financial Reynolds could not make of the highly desired featherbed and customers lost interest in machines with the older In 1953, Norton was sold to Motorcycles (AMC), who also the brands AJS, Matchless, and James.

The Birmingham factory was in 1962 and production was moved to Woolwich factory in Southeast

Under AMC ownership, a much version of the Norton gearbox was to be used on all the larger models the corporation under the AJS, and Norton banners. Again, the changes were for improved selection.

The 1946-1953 Long Stroke Norton was 79.6 mm x 100 mm, initially the dohc engine becoming to favoured racers in 1949. The Stroke model (1953-1962) had and … of 86 mm x 85.6 mm. It used a dry 499 cc single cylinder motor, two valves operated by bevel shaft driven twin camshafts.

Compression ratio was It had an Amal GP carburettor, and a Lucas magneto. The 1962 500 cc Manx produced 47 bhp (35 kW) at 6500 rpm, 142 kg (313 lb), and had a top speed of 209 (130 mph).[5] The new price was 440

Manx Nortons also a significant role in the development of war car racing. At the end of 1950, the English 500 cc regulations were adopted as the new 3. The JAP Speedway engine had dominated the initially but the Manx was capable of significantly more power and the engine of choice. Many motorcycles were bought in to strip the engine for 500 cc car racing, as would not sell separate

Manx rolling chassis frequently resold, and equipped Triumph engines. These were known as Tritons.

In a new version of the featherbed frame was with the upper frame bent inwards to reduce the between the rider’s knees for comfort. The move was also to the shorter rider, as the wide made it difficult to reach the This frame was made by AMC, and is known as the ‘slimline’ — the earlier frames became known as the ‘wideline’.

The Manx Nortons were in 1963. Even though had pulled out of racing in 1954, the had become the backbone of privateer and even today are quite after.

In January 1961 a new Manxman 650c was launched for the market only and one year a Norton 650SS appeared,for the UK along with the Norton 750 in 1962, for the American market as wanted more power, using featherbed frames, but the to the vertical twins engine had caused a vibration problem at rpm, A 500 cc vertical twin is than a single cylinder, but if you the vertical twin’s capacity, increases. The 750 Norton Atlas too expensive, and costs were not to be reduced. Financial problems

There was an export bike for use as a desert racer, sold up 1969 as a Norton P11,[7] AJS 33, and as a Matchless G15, which the Norton Atlas engine in a Matchless G85CS scrambler with Norton wheels and forks. This bike was to vibrate less than the frame model. AMC singles also sold with badging in this era.


By the late 1960s from Japan and a rapidly home market had driven the British motorcycle industry a precipitous decline. In 1966 AMC and was reformed as Norton-Villiers part of Bronze.

The 750 Norton Atlas, was for its vibration. Rather than engines, Norton decided to the frame, and the isolastic-framed Norton 750 was the result.

In 1969 the Commando was its styling, innovative isolastic and powerful engine made it an package. Despite different and respectable sales, the company and would go into liquidation in

The isolastic frame used bushings to keep the engine and from direct contact the frame duplex, forks, and thus damping contact the rider and engine vibration. worked as long as the bushings kept set to tolerances, and were before becoming hard or If kept maintained, the system

The ‘Combat’ engine was released in 1972, with a twin bearing crank, 10:1 and making 65 bhp (48.5 kW) at 6,500 Reliability immediately proved a (Older engines had used one bearing main, and one roller main.) This fragility did not up well, especially when to the reliability of the Japanese bikes.


In 1972, the former of British motorcycle manufacturing BSA was in trouble. It was given government on the condition that it merged Norton-Villiers, and in 1973 the new Norton-Villiers-Triumph was formed. The Triumph Motorcycles came from BSA’s subsidiary.

In April 1973 an compression 828 cc 850 engine was released German SuperBlend bearings, made 51 bhp (38 kW) at 6,250 rpm however the power does not give a picture of the engine performance increased torque seemed to up for the lower horsepower.

In 1974, the government withdrew the subsidies, the incoming government restored after the election. Rationalisation of the sites to Wolverhampton and Birmingham Small Heath site) caused industrial disputes at Coventry site; Triumph go on as a workers cooperative alone.

mounting losses, 1974 saw the of the ‘828 Roadster’, ‘Mark 2 Hi ‘JPN Replica’ (John Norton) and ‘Mk.2a Interstate’. In this was down to just two the ‘Mark 3 Interstate’ and the ‘Roadster’, but the Government asked for a repayment of its and refused export credits, damaging the company’s ability to abroad. Production of the two lone still made was ended and dwindled.

Wankel engine

In the 1980s, the went through several — mainly because, the name was popular, and now owned by parties: in liquidation from the global rights were between (at least) Norton UK, America and Rest of the World.

Norton Rotary F2
Norton Rotary F2

The was relaunched on an ambitious scale in in 1988. The new models have on the race track — the Senior TT in 1992 — but have moved rather slowly in the commercial market. The company had some success the Wankel-engined Interpol 2 motorcycle for and military police forces and the

This led to a civilian model in called the Classic. Subsequent Wankels were water-cooled. The was launched in 1988 and was followed by the F1.

This model was a replica of RCW588 factory racing which won many races the 1992 Isle of Man TT. The F1 was succeeded by the and slightly less expensive F1

At this point the Department of and Industry stepped in to investigate in the investment web of financier Philippe and his associates.] LeRoux resigned his as Chief Executive.

Norton is now a entity dealing with the 1000 Norton Rotary and from their website the results of the end of Norton’s debt early 1990s asset and the production run of the F1 Sport:

The end result was a that sold on a subscription every single one being up immediately, and the last one (No.66) being built in Germany new parts, as the factory in Shenstone had run The F1 Sports or TT is now considered to be the best and desirable model of all Rotary if not off all rotary engined motorcycles.

The thing was, that motorcycles were only as an exercise to use up unshiftable parts bought in for F1 production- thus Midlands Bank some money, but never with the [sic] intention to make any after the original stash of was used up. This was not aparent to the directors of Norton Motors nor to their trade customers, it was too late, i.e. after the bike had been produced.

In to explain the inexplicably low retail at the time- in fact a price was not only far too low, but also for as all bikes sold instantly-, were placed with the that as parts dried up the original left-over high-price (PVM wheels, Brembo White Power supension components), these were to be by cheaper Yamaha-sourced items. this was then faithfully and still is in all publications about ever since (The F1 was built with cheaper etc), this was, in never done, the only using these FZR1000-sourced components being the non-functional F2

Replica revival

During the Kenny Dreer of Oregon from restoring and upgrading to producing whole machines. He the design and in the early 2000s into series production, but suspended operations in April

In the UK a number of firms such as the of the Shenstone Norton factory, Unity Equipe and Norman [12] (a former team and mechanic) supply parts for generations of Norton motorcycles.

The of the Norton Commando can be traced to the late 1940s when the Norton Model 7 Twin, by Bert Hopwood and initially an only model. The twin design evolved into the Norton Dominator and 750cc Atlas before being as the 750cc Commando in 1967.

The part of the Commando compared to Norton models was the frame by former Rolls Royce Dr. Stefan Bauer. Bauer the classic Norton Featherbed design went against all principles, so designed his frame a single 2.25 top tube.

To try to the Commando from classic vibration problems, which had increased as the capacity of the basic expanded from 500cc of Turner’s 1938 Triumph Twin. Bauer, with Villiers Chief Engineer Hooper and assistant Bob Trigg, that the engine, gearbox and assembly were to be bolted and isolated from the frame by rubber mountings.

This the extreme vibration problems were apparent in other in the range, as it effectively separated the from the engine. Named the anti-vibration system, with listed as the lead inventor on the patent document. Although the system did reduce vibration, the required free play in the mountings at the correct level was to its success.

Too little play the vibration back; too much, and the was interesting handling.

The police showing a lot of interest in the Commando and so Shilton was recruited from to produce a Commando to police The end result was the ‘Interpol’ machine, sold well to police both at home and abroad. The was powered by a 750 cc.

O.H.V. engine and panniers, top box, fairing, and had for a radio and auxiliary equipment.

Right from the beginning the took part in racing After successes in 1969 by entered machines like Smart’s second and Mick 4th places in the Isle of Man TT Production and a win in the Hutchinson 100 Production Class by Andrew on the Gus Kuhn entered and 4th by Peter Williams’ Arter machine, the company decided to a racing model — the developed S and Yellow Peril

In partnership with John Special cigarettes from the 1970s, Norton went racing[6]. Early entries based on the Commando, and in 1973 Williams won the 1973 Formula 750 of Man TT, with Mick Grant

Racing continued until the of Norton Villiers into BSA in 1973, and did not return until the Nortons of the 1980s.


In light of its last of the classic twins tag, and the fact many of the trade marks disputed and patents expired, a of new Norton companies began to These were based on of new parts sourced from manufacturers, and the legal battle the Norton name between (whose Norton was based on the 650cc engine that the smaller BMW motorcycles), Canada and America. Many used the name for their lead or included the prospect of a Commando at a later date.

However, the interesting development for original fans was the development of re-manufactured motorcycles. These mainly from Norvil in the UK and two companies in the States, Colorado Norton and Kenny Dreer’s Vintage based in Portland, Oregon. 1995 onwards Vintage began restoring vintage and Italian motorcycles, with showing a new Commando based VR880 Sprint Special in with newly cast and parts, but using a bored out twin engine with modern developments.

Dreer’s has since continued production of the but also got caught up in the Norton mark dispute following a to develop a new Commando, scheduled for after the $10 million for production is

Norton Rotary F2
Norton Rotary F2
Norton Rotary F2

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