GoogleCustom Search

Norton Classic Motorcycles

Norton Classic Motorcycles

The greatest name in British motorcycles dates from 1901, when James Lansdowne Norton began building motorcycles with French and Swiss engines. In 1907 Norton won the twin-cylinder class in the first TT race, begining a sporting tradition that went on until the 1960s. J L Norton died in 1925 aged only 56, but he saw his motorcycles win the Senior and sidecar TTs in 1924. Nortons also appealed to ordinary motorcyclists who enjoyed the reliability and performance offered by single-cylinder engines with separate gearboxes. The marque withdrew their teams from racing in 1938 but after the War (when Norton produced more than 100,000 motorcycles for the forces) they returned to the fray with notable success, the names of Geoff Duke, John Surtees and Derek Minter becoming famous. Sadly, Norton epitomised the failure of the British motor cycle industry through the 1960s and 1970s, struggling valiantly but failing to survive.

Like the majority of their contemporaries, Norton relied on the sidevalve engine until the 1920's, when the existing and well-tried 490cc unit was used as a basis for the firm's first overhead-valve design. Penned by James Lansdowne Norton himself, and first seen in prototype form in 1922, the overhead-valve Norton made little impact in that year's Senior TT, though at Brooklands D.R.O' Donovan raised the world 500cc kilometre record to over 89 mph using the new motor. A road-going-version -the Model 18- was catalogued for 1923, quickly establishing a reputation for both speed and reliability when a standard engine assembled from parts was used to set a host of records, including a new 12 hours mark. Racing continued to improve the breed -when Alec Bennet won the Senior TT for Norton- as a direct result of the works team's experiences. Norton motorcycle history.

Bike Image Description
  Ramsey Promenade 1914, IOM TT. Dan O'Donovan, The Braid Brothers & the Nortons with Norton senior sitting inside the sidecar combination.
1920 Norton Model 9 Norton Model 9 At first glance, the unwitting observer could be fooled into thinking that the Model 9 is an early example of the well known 16H. Although using the same engine, the frame differs markedly from that of its contemporary. The belt drive Model 9 is without both a clutch and a gearbox, though it does have a slight variation of drive ratio by means of the automatic Philipson governor pulley on the crankshaft.

Owing to the non-auto carburettor, the throttle and air levers have to be juggled with at the same time when riding! The brakes are of a rudimentary bicycle design. Even in 1920, this machine was well out of date and it was to remain available until 1922.

1924 Norton 18, 500cc 1924 Norton 18, 500cc Norton Model 18 gallery
1926 Norton Model 19 Norton Model 19 The Model 19 was another variation on the Model 18 / ES2 theme, produced mainly with sidecar use in mind and introduced in 1925. The engine was essentially the same as the Model 18 but with the stroke increased from 100mm to 120mm. The post-war models were available as the Model 19R (rigid) and Model 19S (spring) variants.
1927 Norton M 25 1927 Norton M 25 Though it was to later be overshadowed by the achievements of the 'cammy' models of the 1930s and beyond, the Norton tradition for racing excellence was started by pushrod models, which included wins in several of the major races of the day, including Ulster GP and TT triumphs, ridden by riders of the calibre of Alec Bennett, Joe Craig and Jimmy Shaw.
1936 Norton International Model 30 Norton International Norton International gallery
1931 Norton CS1 Norton CS1 More Norton CS1 information
1931 Norton CS1 1931 Norton CS1  
1933 Norton Big Four, 633cc 1927 Norton M 25

The model name Big Four was used from 1907 till 1954, when production of all side valve Nortons stopped. The model was mainly designed as a strong and reliable sidecar machine: in world war one many were supplied to the Russian army, and in world war II the further developed Big Four did excellent service in the British army. Reliability and fuel economy were keywords for this Norton. It had the biggest capacity and the lowest compression ratio in the 1933 range( 1:4.5) Gearbox is Norton's own four speed.

More Norton Big Four information

1937 Norton Manx 500 cc 1937 Norton Manx 500 cc

More Manx Norton info..

Norton Manx gallery

1938 Ron Harris Works Norton Ron Harris’s 1931 Manx Grand Prix 490cc OHC Works Norton
1938 Norton 16H, 500cc 1938 Norton 16H, 500cc Norton 16H gallery
1938 Racing Rigid ES2 1938 Racing Rigid ES2 Norton ES2 gallery
1938 Norton Big Four Norton Big Four 633cc. The "Big Four" was the bread and butter of the Norton line of motorcycles. Pa Norton, founder of Norton, rode one on a 3000 mile trip across Africa in 1921. Often fitted with a sidecare these were very reliable torque monsters. While the Norton Manx's won virtually every race into the late 1950's The big four paid the bills.
Norton Gardengate 350cc Norton 350cc Gardengate
  • Production - 1947 (long-stroke)
  • Engine - one overhead-cam, single-cylinder four-stroke
  • Bore and Stroke - 71 x 88 mm (1946-1953)
  • Capacity - 350cc
  • Power - 35 bhp @ 7200rpm
  • Top Speed - 100mph
  • 1949 Norton Dominator Model 7 1949 Norton Dominator Model 7 Norton Dominator gallery
    1949 Norton Sidecar 1949 Norton Sidecar
    1949 Norton Model 7 1949 Norton Model 7  
    1950 Norton Big Four 1950 Norton Big Four 600cc side valve single.
    1950 Norton 500T
    Norton 500T 1950 Although various pre-war Nortons had been available to special order in trials specification, or 'Colonial' as they quaintly described them in the '20s, it was not until 1948 that a purpose built machine was offered in the range.

    The new 500T used the engine as fitted to the Model 18 and ES2 and a 16H diamond frame with Roadholder forks up front, these being raked sharply to reduce the wheelbase.

    The engine had an alloy cylinder head and barrel along with lightened parts elsewhere, reducing the overall weight to 300 lbs. Earliest examples had a high level exhaust system, but by late 1949 it had been lowered, with an upswept silencer. The power output is 24 bhp. The 500T was competitive in its day and enjoyed some successes before it was discontinued in late 1954.

    1951 Norton Model 7 1951 Norton Model 7  
    1952 Norton Model 7
    Norton Model 7

    The Norton twin was not introduced until 1948, somewhat behind Triumph's Speed Twin, but it became an immediate success. The earlier 'Dominators' as they became known were built on the single downtube chassis used for the well-proven single cylinder ES2 machines, and so success was to be inevitable. The new twin cylinder motor proved to be robust and it soon gained a following in a market already familiar with the Triumph twin. The early '88' 500cc displacement was soon to be replaced with the more powerful Domi '99' 600cc motor which, in conjunction with the legendry Featherbed frame carried Norton well into the 1960s.

    Image provided by

    1952 Norton Sidecar Outfit 1952 Norton Sidecar
    1954 Norton Racing Special
    Norton Racing Special

    This interesting machine was built by the late Ian Paskin of Birmingham, a former Norton works engineer and a competitive rider in grass track, speedway and road racing.

    The cycle parts are comprised of a "featherbed" frame fitted with a complete "Manx" front end. Alloy rims, a central oil tank and short circuit Manx style tank are fitted, together with a fly-screen, rear-sets and clip-on handlebars. The bike is finished in the traditional Norton silver and black livery and is described as being in "first class" condition throughout.

    Image provided by

    1954 Norton 350 Racing 1954 Norton 350
    1955 Norton Domiracer Norton Domiracer
    1956 Norton Cafe Racer Wideline frame 600c 1956 Norton Cafe Racer Wideline frame 600c

    The famous norton wideline frame , borani alloy rims. Norton 99 engine, numbered 99c 14r  90123, frame 14 700--. Hayward belt drive , twin carb. Electronic ignition and 12 volt electrics. New battery and alternator. Head has had conversion to run on unleaded .

    1956 Norton Model 99 1956 Norton Model 99
    1956 Norton 19S 1956 Norton 19S
    1956 Norton 19S Norton 19S 600cc single
    1957 Norton Triton café racer special 1957 Norton Triton “café racer special”
    1958 Norton Model 50, 350cc 1958 Norton Model 50, 350cc More Norton Model 50 information.
    1958 Norton Model 50 Norton Model 50  
    Norton 1959 Tbird Norton 6T 1959 Tbird

    Triumph 6T 1959 with 750cc Morgo barrels and pistons, twin Amal concentrics of a Bonnie head, belt drive primary,12v electrics with Boyer ignition, much lightened flywheel, rear hub is Triumph conical, front is a Dresda 4 leading shoe brake (I believe 1 of 10 made) all put in a 1961 Norton Featherbed frame with the usual Roadholder forks.

    1959 Norton Model 50 Norton Model 50 Wideline frame.
    1960 Norton Domie Deluxe Norton Domie Deluxe
    1960 Norton Triton 500 1960 Norton Triton 500
    1960 Potts-McIntyre Norton Special 1960 Potts-McIntyre Norton Special
    1961 Norton Jubilee Norton Jubilee


    Norton Jubilee gallery

    1961 Norton Navigator Deluxe Norton Navigator Deluxe 350cc. Norton Navigator gallery
    1961 Norton Manxman 650 cc twin Norton Manxman Fairly complete Manxman restoration project. I bought this years ago and it is now clear that I won't get around to restoring it. The Manxman was an export model made in small quantities. This bike left the factory November 1 1960. Engine frame and gearbox number match the factory records. The bike has the correct twin carbs, appears to have the stock exhaust (dented pipes, magneto (unknown condition).
    1962 650 Norton Sports Special 650 Norton Sports Special
    1963 Norton 650SS 1963 Norton 650SS A further enlargement of the Dominator engine, the Model 650SS had twin carburettors, downdraught head, splayed exhaust ports, hot camshaft and high compression pistons. The silencer was the same as for the Model 99, but the exhaust pipes were of a smaller bore. The 650SS was always finished in black, with a silver grey petrol tank.

    The 650cc engine was first introduced into the export only Manxman and then for a very brief time only into the short lived 650 Standard and 650 De Luxe models. The 650SS had a production life from 1962 to 1968 and was a popular choice for production machine class racing, winning the important Thruxton 500 mile event in three consecutive years. As a road machine, it was highly rated for its performance, combined with the fine handling Featherbed frame.

    It received very little in the way of modifications during its life span, the most notable being 12V electrics in 1964 and Amal Concentric carburettors in 1966, with the magneto being replaced by capacitative discharge in 1967 until the last machines were produced.

    1963 Norton Electra Norton Electra

    This bike started life in Florida in 1963 and has matching frame and engine numbers EL865. One of the first to be exported and maybe the oldest survivor. It has Dominator front forks, front and rear brakes and front and rear wheels.

    Norton Electra gallery

    1965 Norton P800 1965 Norton P800
    1965 Norton N15CS 1965 Norton N15CS Approximately 2500 N.15 C.S. machines were manufactured, some of them again in the Matchless form as G.15 C.S.

    Closely based on its predecessor, the Atlas Scrambler, the N.15 C.S. had a modified front fork action, rubber gaiters, and a stronger cylinder head steady. The frame was still the bolt-on rear G12 type. A slimmer seat was fitted, which necessitated moving the oil tank inwards a little.

    The petrol tank was altered, and instead of the Norton transfer used on the Atlas Scramblers, now had the round plastic badge. The standard colour was Candy Apple Red, a different red to that used on the Atlas Scramblers, although a blue and a green were available.

    The mudguards were smaller than on its predecessor and the exhaust system was now fitted with standard Norton silencers. This model was fitted with Norton brakes whereas some of the other hybrids had the Matchless components. The Matchless alloy primary chaincase must have been an improvement over the dreadful pressed tin Norton affair.

    1966 Norton Model 50 MkII 350cc 1966 Norton Model 50 MkII 350cc  
    Norton Commando Norton Commando

    One of the first great British 750 twins.....maybe the best

  • Engine - air-cooled 745cc OHV vertical twin
  • Horsepower - 58bhp @ 7000rpm
  • Top Speed - 110-120 mph
  • Brakes - drum/drum (later disc/disc)
  • Frame - tubular steel cradle, Isolastic engine mounts
  • Transmission - 4 speed
  • Launched - 1967-1976
  • Picture kindly provided by

    Norton Commando Mk1

    Norton Commando gallery

    1967 Norton P11 1967 Norton P11 Norton P11 gallery
    1967 Norton Atlas 1967 Norton Atlas Norton Atlas gallery
    1967 Norton N-15 Norton N-15
    1968 Norton N15 CS Norton N15 CS
    1968 John Tickle Norton 1968 John Tickle Norton
    Norton 650SS Norton 650SS
  • Engine - air-cooled 647cc OHV vertical twin
  • Horsepower - 49bhp @ 6800rpm
  • Top Speed - 115mph
  • Brakes - drum/drum
  • Transmission - 4 speed
  • Frame - Featherbed duplex steel cradle
  • 1968 Norton 650SS Norton 650SS Paul Dunstall Norton, totally orignal, 64bhp , 134mph.
    1969 Dunstall Norton 1969 Dunstall Norton
    1969 Norton Dunstall 1969 Norton Dunstall
    1971 Norton S 750 Norton S 750
    1972 JPS Norton 1972 JPS Norton
    1973 Pegasus-Norton Top Fuel Drag Bike 1973 Pegasus-Norton Top Fuel Drag Bike
    1974 Norton John Player Special 1974 Norton John Player Special The John Player Norton was produced in limited numbers over a span of some two years, around 200 machines being made. It took its styling and its name from the successful factory racing machines sponsored by the tobacco company. Although it looks super fast with its racing fairing, twin headlamps, rearset footrests and single seat, underneath the fairing was a completely standard Commando engine which prompted some unkind person to once describe it as a sheep in wolf's clothing. For people who really wanted to go racing however, the factory did produce a very small number of ready-to-race short stroke 750cc engines with a bore of 77mm and stroke of 80.4mm. Today, these are naturally even scarcer than the road going JPN, itself something of a rarity. With far more people liking the styling of the machine than available examples, it is perhaps not surprising that many have undertaken to convert their standard Commando via the fitting of the readily available special parts needed. The outcome of this is that there are probably now more copies about than genuine articles.
    1975 Norton John Player Special Norton John Player Special
    1974 Norton 850 Roadster 1974 Norton 850 Roadster
    1974 Norton 850 mark 2A 1974 Norton 850 mark 2A
    1975 Norton Drag Bike 1975 Norton Drag Bike
    1986 Norton Interpol 2 1986 Norton Interpol 2 588cc, 80 Bhp. This machine was first supplied to Durham Constabulary.

    Norton did not sell the Interpol 2 to the general public. Sales were restricted to fleet customers: civilian police forces, military police forces (particularly the RAF Police), and the RAC.

    Towards the end of the production run a few machines were built with a new water-cooled version of Norton's twin-rotor Wankel engine. These machines were designated Interpol 2A. When production of the Interpol 2 and 2A ceased they were succeeded by the P52 version of the Norton Commander.

    1988 Norton Classic P43 Rotary 1988 Norton Classic P43 Rotary

    Norton built the Classic as a Special edition of just 100 machines. Only one livery was offered: the traditional Norton colours of silver-grey with black graphics and black and red lining.

    1988 Norton Rotary Classic 1988 Norton Rotary Classic 588cc.
    1988 Norton Classic P43 Rotary 1988 Norton Classic P43 Rotary Only 101 built.
    1989 JPS Norton 1989 JPS Norton
    JPS Norton F1 JPS Norton F1
  • Engine - 588cc nominal, liquid cooled, twin chamber rotary
  • Bore x Stroke - Not applicable (compression ratio 9:1)
  • Final Drive - roller chain
  • Wheelbase - 1440mm (56.7)
  • Top Speed - 155mph (248kph)
  • Maximum Power - 94bhp @ 9500bhp
  • Dry Weight - 192kg (423 lb)
  • Standing Quarter Mile Time - 11.5sec
  • Launched - 1989
  • Fuel Consumption - 40mpg
  • 1989 Norton Commander P53 1989 Norton Commander P53 The civilian model Norton Rotary Commander (British police used this model) fitted with a liquid cooled rotary engine.
    1992 F1 Norton 1992 F1 Norton The F1 (P55) was a super sports development, being a road going version of the successful RCW 588 racing machine with many of its components race developed in the finest Norton tradition. Only 140 were ever made.

    With some 95 b.h.p. on tap, combined with light weight, performance is well into the super sports class. The upside down forks feature adjustable damping, while the brakes are twin 320mm Brembo at the front and single 230mm at the rear. The frame is an aluminium alloy twin spar, combining strength with low weight. The clutch is hydraulic and the Yamaha FZR1000 gearbox 5 speeds, constant mesh. Stainless steel is used for the exhaust system. The engine is mounted the other way round to the previous rotary models and so rotates in the opposite direction. The UK price tag at launch was £12,000 and well beyond the pocket of all but the most affluent motorcyclist.

    1991 Duckhams Crighton Norton 1991 Duckhams Crighton Norton
    Norton 500T Trials (Replica) Norton 500T Trials (Replica)
    Steve Hislop's NRS 588 Rotary Steve Hislop's NRS 588 Rotary Norton
    Norton Special Norton Special

    Please e-mail the webmaster if you have a picture worth adding to our database, e-mail: