Lot 347 - 1961 Norton Manx 500cc
|Odometer reading||0 miles|
|Estimate||£16,000 - £19,000|
Norton's first use of the name 'Manx' was applied to the 'Manx Grand Prix' model available from 1936-1940, a special racing version of their 'International' roadster, featuring double overhead camshafts, magnesium crankcases and cambox, telescopic forks and plunger rear suspension. After WWII, the 'Grand Prix' title was dropped and Norton named their 1947 racing model simply the 'Manx'. It was essentially the same as the pre-war machines and was available, in either single or double overhead camshaft form, as the 500cc Model 30 or 350cc Model 40. In 1950 the Manx was fitted with the McCandless brothers' revolutionary 'featherbed' frame which immediately became the benchmark for steering and handling, enabling the 'Manx' Norton to become, for many, the machine of choice with which to go motorcycle racing over the next decade and beyond.
The 'featherbed' frame was widely considered to be the greatest single step forward in racing design since the foot change gearbox and with it, Geoff Duke was to win the 1950 Senior TT at a record average speed of 92.27 mph. Gone was the old fashioned lug and tube 'garden gate' design, to be replaced by an all welded, full duplex cradle with two tubes forming continuous loops on each side of the engine and gearbox with the ends crossed to brace the steering head. There was a bolted on rear subframe to anchor the suspension units attached to the swinging arm. Works rider, Harold Daniell, described the new bike as having "a featherbed ride" and the name stuck.
The 'Manx' Norton offered here is the result of one man's dedication, over a period of sixteen years, in collecting various 'Manx' parts, modifying and assembling them to create what is a most desirable road registered Norton. The frame is from a 1961 'Manx' fitted with a John Tickle swing arm, while the bottom half of the long stroke engine is from a 1957 International and is topped with a 'bronze skull' cylinder head dating from 1949. Other genuine 'Manx' parts include the petrol and oil tanks and fork top yolk. A TT9 carburettor is fitted as well as a BTH KC1 competition magneto and an impressive four-leading shoe front brake. The gearbox is of the correct close ratio 'laydown' type but fitted with a kickstart lever to facilitate being ridden on the road.
The engine has been rebuilt by specialist Ron Lewis, with a new piston and cylinder barrel having been fitted. The bike is neatly finished off with alloy wheel rims, stainless steel spokes, exposed fork springs, a replica 'Manx' seat and chronometric rev counter and speedometer housed behind a neat screen.
The Norton comes with a V5C registration document, a VMCC Dating Certificate and a quantity of bills. Beautifully constructed, this is possibly the ultimate café racer and a rare chance to enjoy an example of the most famous of all British racing motorcycles on the road.
Previous lotLot 346 - 'The Batcycle' 1967 250 YDS5E
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