2021 Shannons Autumn Timed Online Auction
1954 Norton Manx 500cc Solo Motorcycle
|Engine||498cc single cylinder|
This lot is no longer available
The Manx Norton is without doubt its most successful production racing motorcycle. Its first examples were powered by a single overhead camshaft, long-stroke engine designed by Arthur Carroll in 1930. Extensively reworked versions of Walter Moore's original OHC unit retained the same bore and stroke, enabled this legendary engine to power both the touring CS1 and CJ bikes, in addition to the factory racers during the 1930s. A production variant of the latter - the International – was sold to the public from 1932 in two versions, the Model 30 with the 500cc engine and the smaller 350cc Model 40. Many were stripped of their lighting equipment and silencers for track use before the war. Demand for a production racer culminated in the Norton Manx Grand Prix model of the late 1930s that was essentially a works replica aside from the short-stroke engine and twin camshafts. Post-war, Norton sold Manx versions of both variants (catalogued as the Models 30M and 40M) from 1946, in deference to the success enjoyed on the Isle of Man before the war. The all-alloy engine featured a single overhead camshaft driven by a vertical shaft and bevel gears, 'Road holder' telescopic front fork, plunger rear suspension and the signature megaphone exhaust. This frame, pre-dating the 'Featherbed', has come to be known as the 'Garden Gate' and suffered a little in terms of reliability due to stress fractures. Nonetheless, these early Manx Nortons were very rapid and competent machines. Norton began campaigning its bikes in America, with local riders competing in the Daytona 200 in 1948 and success continued into 1949, with Geoff Duke victorious in the Senior Manx Grand Prix that year.