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Manx Norton

The Manx Norton story started in 1927, when Walter Moore (formerly the Douglas chief designer) created the first Norton overhead camshaft engine with bore and stroke dimensions of 79x100 mm, giving 490 cc capacity. Straight from the drawing board it provided Alec Bennett with a TT victory in 1927. Known as the CS 1 (Camshaft Senior one) it was listed as a production machine for the 1928 season. The smaller 348 cc version ( 71x85 mm) was known as the CJ (Camshaft Junior).

By 1930 Moore had left to work for NSU in Germany and for the TT that year Arthur Carroll, his successor at Bracebridge Street, redesigned the camshaft engine. The 1930s were truly fantastic years for the Norton racing department: from 1931 till 1939 Nortons won all Manx TTs in both 350 and 500 cc classes, with the exception of the 1935 Senior and the 1938 Junior events. During this period the Norton racers acquired hairpin valve springs (in 1934), a megaphone exhaust(1935), plunger rear springing(1936), twin overhead camshafts (1937) and telescopic front forks in 1938.

In 1938 bore and stroke on both models were revised and the 498 cc model could reach a top speed of 120 mph. The first post-war over-the-counter racers were made available for the 1947 season. They were standard equipped with magnesium crankcases and aluminium-alloy cylinder barrels. For the 1954 season short stroke engines were listed: the dimensions were almost square now. Development went on till 1962: in early January 1963 the doors in Bracebridge Street closed and Norton production was transferred to the Associated Motor Cycles premises in Plumstead. This move marked the end of Manx production. The Japanese racers took over for a number of years, but in the early eighties Classic Racing really got off the ground, and this revived the interest in Manx Nortons immensely. Everything about Norton Manx can be found in Mick Walker's Book Norton Manx, ISBN 0-946627-36-3.


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