Moto Morini was one of the latter, a company that actually began before World War I, then faded after a purchase by Cagiva in the late 1980’s, only to be brought back again during the late 90’s as a sort of brutish Ducati rival, a shame considering their earlier history of making smaller-engined sporting machines. In fact, Morini’s insistence on not catering to the American market by creating larger-displacement bikes may have sealed the company’s doom: the 500 Sport shown here was as big as they got.
But don’t let the relatively small engines fool you: these are serious sporting machines with revvy and sweet v-twins that made useful power and returned excellent fuel mileage, capable of embarrassing much more powerful machines in the corners and on the brakes. With a very rare for the period six-speed gearbox and a compact 72° engine with a rubber belt to drive the cam and Heron heads, Morinis were technologically advanced, brains-over-brawn machines.
Of course, no Italian bike of the period would be complete without some sort of mechanical foible. In Morini’s case, it was the fitting of a kickstart lever as well as a generally useless electric start. While it is possible to find bikes with the electric starter in good working condition, they’re far from reliable and most Morini owners seem to just ignore them when they fail and use the kick start.
From the original eBay listing, which includes more of the seller’s history with the marque than of the bike itself: 1980 Moto Morini 500 Sport for Sale
I was witness to the entire history of this particular machine from when it left Herm Baver’s (Herdan Corp.) Dealer/Distributership to the present time. Sometime in the early eighties I bought my 1980 3 1/2 Sport Morini from my friend Jason who was a real Morini fancier and who had bought a number of machines from Herm. I was living on the Lower East Side of Manhattan at the time and my neighbor Ira, who was riding an old Triumph Bonnie then, liked my 350 Morini enough that he bought this 500 Sport from Jason soon after. Both these Moto Morinis, it should be noted, had only the mileage registered that’s required to ride them from Port Clinton, Pa (the home to this day of Herdan Corp.) to Jason’s house in Greenwood lake, N.Y. They were barely broken in.
Anyway, the city’s a tough place to have a really nice motorcycle and Ira was never comfortable leaving it any- -where so he sold it to an Englishman I’d sold some other bikes to and went back to his old Bonnie. Soon after, John, the Englishman, went back to Jolly Old leaving the bike with me and here it jolly well is(still in Ira’s name) ready for a new “la Strega” transfer (included with the bike) on the saddle tailpiece and probably a set of tires, as the mint originals are maybe getting a bit wooden after 34 years. Aside from that there’s a hairline crack in one of the side covers and a scratch at the back of the tank near the saddle (see photos). Otherwise it’s the thing of beauty “time capsule” you see here.
Funny, I’ve been referring to my Ducati as “la Strega” since I got her. For those of you not fluent in Italian, “Strega” translates directly as “witch”, although my Italian buddy also reliably tells me it’s also used as a synonym for “bitch.” In either case, probably not the best nickname for such a fun little bike! The seller doesn’t include all that much detail regarding the actual maintenance history, but you can probably infer from his background and the cosmetic condition that it’s been pretty well cared for.
These bikes have been climbing in value for a while now: 7 or 8 years ago, when I was bike shopping for budget Italian machines like this, they could be had for $2,500, if you could actually find one. They are typically well-loved, but also generally well-used and patina’d bikes in keeping with their low-cost exotic status. But this may be the very nicest example I’ve seen for sale, although perhaps that’s just the really nice, high-resolution photos talking!
Bidding is active, but the reserve has not been met at just over $4k with about six days to go on the auction.
The Morini name may not have the cache of Ducati or MV Agusta, and their smaller-displacements and slightly forgotten status has kept prices comparatively low. The bikes are reliable, and maintenance parts are generally available for them if you don’t mind doing a bit of research. If you’ve always fancied a classic Italian, but thought they were out of reach, keep an eye on this one!
The British motorcycle industry has had its trying times, and because of this, there were occasions of competitors becoming partners. This was the case for AJS and Matchless, two companies with their own racing history, joining forces to stave off extinction. It didn’t work, but this 1962 Matchless G50 is what is left behind for us to enjoy.
From the seller
1962 Matchless G50 500cc Factory Racer
500cc Single cylinder factory racer with magnesium cases. This motorcycle sports an older restoration and it has been on static display in a private collection. Full service will be required prior to returning competion use. Very rare and desirable post war British racer.
Matchless had purchased AJS, and other manufactures just before the outbreak of war. When the umbrella name of AMC was coined in 1938, this was the company which produced war ready singles for the British and Commonwealth countries. When the war ended, AMC took AJS and Matchless racing again, and the 7R with the AJS badge was the first to make an impact. Unlike the racing Nortons of the time, the AJS used a chain to drive its OHC instead of the shaft and bevel that the Manx used. It may not have been as technically advanced, but it was also less expensive to produce, and easier to maintain. This made it a favorite of club racers, and lead to the “Boy Racer” moniker.
In 1958, AMC used the knowledge they had learned with the 350cc AJS engine and produced a 500cc engine and gave it the Flying “M” of Matchless. It became the G50, a hint to the 50hp that it developed. With its 496cc and single over head cam, the Matchless was able to reach in excess of 130mph. The extensive use of Magnesium in construction of the engine gave it a significant weight advantage over other racers and this helped to create a more nimble bike. It may not have reached the top step of the podium at the Grand Prix level, but it did fill out the start list.
Though AMC stopped production of the G50 in 1963, an opportunistic Colin Seeley purchased all the dies and tooling from AMC for the G50. Seeley continued to produces some very competitive motorcycles, and Seeley G50′s are as sought after as the original factory efforts. If you pick up this 1962 Matchless G50, and you end up needing spares, don’t worry, because what Mr Seeley started in the late 1960’s continues today under the name TGA Ltd. This will allow you to race your G50 for many years to come. BB
The Norton Manx was a racing motorcycle built from 1947 to 1962. Just think about that for a second: it was a motorcycle that was good enough to be competitive, not just on the street, where that kind of longevity is still fairly uncommon, but in the brutal, cut-and-thrust world of professional racing, during a period of time where motorcycle development in general was rewriting the rules of what could be done every few years…
A hugely impressive feat, and part of what makes these bikes so desirable for collectors. It also helps that this thing looks just about perfect, with proportions, colors, and simple engineering that is aesthetic as it is effective on track.
While Norton officially retired from GP racing in 1954, they continued to sell the bike to individual racers. The light, nimble, and most importantly durable bikes were the perfect privateer bikes, easily adaptable to a variety of tracks and riding styles. They were simple and rugged, with excellent handling that put them ahead of more sophisticated or powerful bikes.
Powered by engines of 350cc or 500cc displacement, they featured reliable and precise tower-shaft and bevel-gear driven overhead cams. The almost square bore and stroke gave a wide, flexible powerband that made the most of the 500’s 50bhp and would push the 300 pound machine to 140mph, very impressive for a single-cylinder motorcycle
The Featherbed frame that gave the bike its winning handling was introduced in 1954 and was welded up without any of the normal mass-produced cast pieces that added weight and could reduce strength. With telescopic forks up front and a swingarm rear suspension, the bikes had forgiving handling that allowed riders to make up time against more powerful motorcycle on many tracks.
Believe it or not, Molnar in the UK will still build you one of these from the original 1961 specs and drawings, as they bought rights to the tooling in 1994.
From the original eBay listing: 1962 Norton Manx 500cc Model 30M
Set up and ready to go for AHRMA Vintage Racing with Norvil close ratio five speed transmission, fresh low end engine rebuild, short course fiberglass gas tank, Mitsubishi magneto, correct four shoe front brake, reverse cone exhaust, numbers matching engine and frame numbers and much more. An excellent investment!
Located in Southern California.
These are hugely iconic bikes and very collectable, and there’s no need to let these sit in garages or under tarps where they slowly decay: organizations like AHRMA allow owners to thrash these things on track with other like-minded folks. I had the opportunity to meet some of the riders and their families down in South Jersey last weekend and found a whole bunch of people who’d traveled from all over to entertain the crowd with some great, on-track action. Hugely recommended, even if you can’t scrape together the cash to buy one of these yourself.
When your dad owns a motorcycle company, you as the children have a very important role in the business. You are to go racing. This is what Percy and Eugene Goodman did for their father, the owner of Velocette. They built an over head cam racing bike, put Alec Bennett, an established racer, on it and went to the Isle of Man. They won in 1926 and the motorcycle they built was the bevel drive, OHC, KTT. K for camshaft, TT for Tourist Trophy, which they won. This 1939 Velocette KTT Mark 8 was the first iteration with a rear swing arm, but also the last version, production would end in 1949.
From the seller
1939 Velocette KTT Mk VIII
Factory built racer with 350cc single cylinder overhead cam engine. Engine # KTT/1074, Frame # SF/257 Purchased from original owner/racer approximately fifteen years ago out of South Africa. Sporting later year Velocette hydraulic front suspension and full width front brake. Later year rear shocks mounted with original rear “air shocks” present and included in the sale. Very rare and desirable pre war British racer. An excellent investment!
Early in the production of the KTT, Velocette developed the positive stop foot shifter. The Velocette KTT success at Grand Prix racing was helped along by riders like Stanley Wood who gave valuable input into design and performance. It was Stanley’s suggestion to move the engine forward and lower in the frame to improve handling. Over the 8 Mark versions, other improvements included an aluminum cylinder head, enlarged over time for better cooling and therefore more power. In 1937, Velocette designer Harold Willis borrowed air suspension developed for airplane landing gear, and grafted them onto a KTT to create one of the first rear swing arm suspension.
Velocette made motorcycles from 1904 until 1971, but their most successful Grand Prix racer was the KTT produced from 1929-1949. This 1939 Mark 8 KTT is one of those pre-war British racing singles which has had a few alterations over the years. The original ‘oleo pneumatic’ shocks have been replaced, but are included with the bike. Also seen on this KTT is a large for its time front brake, but still with only a single brake shoe. If you want to play L.R.Higgins and become a Private Owner of this KTT, take it to the track, preferably one on an island, and put yourself and this KTT to the test. BB
This Honda CB1100 needs a bit of work, but is rare enough to make it worth while for the right buyer. I try not to post up too many project bikes here, but this one is pretty cool, pretty handsome, and pretty complete. Unfortunately, being rare and collectable, the original parts needed to complete it might cost as much to replace as some really nice aftermarket or custom parts from Sanctuary… I mean, have you seen their custom exhausts?
The Honda CB1100RB was designed as an homolgation special, and just over a thousand were sold in 1981. Powered by a 1062cc version of Honda’s air-cooled four, it made 115hp and weighed a claimed 520lbs dry, so it was no lightweight. But it was dead stable at speed and fast enough to take the fight to Kawasaki and Suzuki on track.
A classic Honda hot rod with tons of upgraded internals, a reinforced frame to counter the usual bendiness of these big bikes, and Honda’s first use of dual-piston calipers to bring the beast to a halt quickly, everything was geared towards endurance racing, so this isn’t simply a bored-out 900 with racy bodywork slapped on.
From the original eBay listing: 1981 Honda CB1100RB for Sale
This bike was imported from France as part of my personal collection currently supplied with import papers a bill of sale and original French documentation, I can provide a new clear registration if required at buyers cost.
There are 64748kms on the bike but it has been relatively well looked after, there are some issues as described below.
The fairing has been modified and as such is incorrect.
The paintwork is good but also incorrect (this was done by a Honda dealership in France!)
The downpipes/headers are original but the silencers are not present.
There are missing fins on the barrels and some screwdriver damage the cylinders and cases (some people!!!!) but these can be repaired.
There is a new battery installed and new rear tyre.
In all I would consider this to be a restoration bike but it is complete, and a good starting point.
There’s also a video of the bike running: Honda CB1100RB start and run.
These were never officially sold in the USA, and this one is hiding up in Canada at the moment. As always, do some research if you plan to register this for road use in the USA. If you’re just fantasizing, don’t worry about it.
As the seller mentions, these are $20,000 bikes when restored. But with the work needed to make it really complete, maybe this would be the perfect opportunity to do a tasteful resto-mod? Honestly, I’d be really tempted to just email Sanctuary and have them send me a complete exhaust for the bike. Once I’d mortgaged my house…
The “Norton Winning Way” was a catch phrase that was used by Norton to sell on Monday after they won on Sunday. One of the most successful Nortons ever was its OHC Manx racer. It was offered in both the Senior 500cc 30M, and the Junior 350cc like this 1952 Norton Manx. The Manx name was a tribute to the Isle of Man and the annual race around it which has tested machine and man since 1907. The first Senior race was won by a motorcycle with Norton painted on the tank, albeit one with another manufactures V-twin cradled in the frame.
From the seller
1952 Norton Manx Engine/Frame #G10M2-46939
This is a rare opportunity to own a legend. The Norton Manx, both 350cc and 500cc were the dominant racing motorcycles of their era, in fact, these motorcycles still dominate the Vintage Motorcycle Racing Circuit today.
This Norton Manx model 40M is authentic in every way
This Manx has a very interesting history. It was last ridden prior to my purchase in the 1993 Isle of Man Lap of Honor by 1948 TT winner of the 350cc junior class Ron Hazelhurst.
The Manx name was first added to the Norton Internationals that had been specially prepared to race at the Isle of Man before WWII, but following the war the racing Nortons were called Manx. From 1947 until the end of production in 1962, the OHC singles were the motorcycles that dominated the start lists, and the podiums of world class racing. If you wanted to go racing, you ordered a Norton Manx, and because of this, apparently lots of people ordered a Manx.
Sometimes it’s who has owned it
With the assistance of Renowned Manx Guru Maurice Candy at the No Nonsense Raceway in 2004, the motorcycle was prepped, started and ridden around the pits. Mr. Hazelhurst had informed the previous owner from whom I purchased the Manx that this Manx had been sold new to the Prince of Singapore. Unfortunately the Royal Family had a dim view of the Prince participating in motorsports. Due to the disapproval of his family, the Prince purchased the motorcycle under the name of the English mechanic he had hired, Palmer Kyle. There is documentation supporting the fact that Palmer Kyle had ordered the motorcycle from Norton and there is no name inserted for the intended rider.
The engine of the Norton Manx was the heart, but over the years, it was the Featherbed frame that was able to keep the heart winning. The McCandless brothers of England had developed a frame which out-classed all other frames. When it was combined with the Norton Manx from 1950 onward, the frame is what was able to carrier the 30 year old engine design onto the podium.
This 1952 Manx Norton was produced 2 years before Norton pulled out of Grand Prix racing, but over a decade before the Norton Manx was offered to the Public. The success of the Manx is still felt today even though Norton, the original one that is, no longer makes Norton Manx race bikes, there is a healthy after market for Manx engines, frames, brakes ect. You will not be hard pressed to find replacements if you were to bend or break something if you go racing, like the Prince did so many years ago. BB
Wow, another RGS for sale, this time in silver!
Laverda’s RGS was basically a set of new clothes and a new mission for their rough-and-ready three cylinder engine. Earlier triples were famed for being brutal, “manly” bikes: some race-prepped examples apparently featured multiple steering dampers to keep them properly under control! Thrown around by the scruff of their neck, the Jotas and 3C’s that ventured onto the race track ground down ancillary covers and generally terrified riders and competitors alike.
But, unable to really keep pace with the merciless progress of the Japanse Big Four, who had begun to put something called “handling” into their street bikes, Laverda headed in a different direction. They capitalized on the perceived style and sophistication and their Italian racing heritage to create a machine that didn’t try to compete directly with the sometimes boring perfection coming from Japan…
I spent the weekend baking in the heat and humidity of South Jersey, watching vintage motorcycle raceing, so I have Laverda on the brain today. I post these up whenever I find them, but they really are actually pretty rare. This one looks very well maintained by a knowledgeable owner: I know there are mechanics out there that can be counted on to do good work on these, but you can’t argue with the Slater name when it comes to Laverda!
From the original eBay listing: 1984 Laverda RGS1000 for Sale
I’ve owned this Laverda for several years, and am unable to give it the riding time it deserves as I have several other motorcycles as well. This motorcycle is currently registered in my name in the state of California. It is really in excellent condition and I cannot find any dents, dings, or scratches. There are no known mechanical issues with the bike.
The following upgrades have been done to this bike that now has 16,181 original miles:
Wolfgang Haerter slip-on mufflers – sounds great! (I have original mufflers)
530 chain and sprocket conversion (have originals)
Stainless steel brake lines
Ikon shocks (have original Koni’s)
Gustafson windscreen (have original)
Odyssey battery always on a tender
Front brake rotors have recently been machined within tolerance and there’s no pulsating.
I have a shop manual for this model, along with the owner’s manual and tool kit.
It’s had, within the last 250 miles, a major service done by a mechanic who used to work with Slater’s in England. This included:
Valve adjustment using new shims
Complete rebuilding of carburetors
New cam blocks
New cavis fuel lines
New intake manifolds
New head gasket
New choke cable
The cam chain was checked and found to be well within spec.
This is as close to a new RGS as can be found after 30 years, and truly runs very well. Please pm me if you’d like any additional detailed photos.
Perhaps a bit too subtle for me in what looks like nearly flawless silver, but it’s very classy, has been very well cared-for, and features sensible upgrades that should enhance reliability and long-distance capability. Except for the mufflers: those are, I’m sure, intended as a safety feature…
With most of the places I’d actually want to go on a motorcycle currently at least an hour away, the advantages of sport-touring and grand touring motorcycles are becoming more and more appealing. And you might think that “Italian exotic” and “touring” would be mutually exclusive concepts, but Laverdas typically incorporate the very best components, and are famed for being overbuilt and well-engineered, if slightly heavy.
This durable quality means they were fast and stable, if not particularly nimble when used in anger. The early twins did well in endurance racing, and the SFC of the early 1970′s is one of the most collectible bikes of its era. The triple that followed was originally an unruly beast, with a funky, uneven firing order that made for exciting power and a howling exhaust note, but wasn’t so good for the feeling in your hands and feet, or the fillings in your teeth…
Later Laverdas like this one are considered a bit tame by those standards, but are still far more emotive than glassy-smooth modern triples. The RGS introduced in the early 1980′s was an attempt by Laverda to recast their slightly moribund powerplant as an exclusive gentleman’s grand touring bike. It was really the perfect way to justify a performance deficit when compared to cheaper, newer Japanese bikes: “How fast is it? Well I’ve never felt the need to prove anything to anyone. I’ve certainly never raced it… And anyway, just listen to it!”
From the original eBay listing: 1984 Laverda RGS1000 for Sale
This is a 1984 Laverda RGS 1000 rare motorcycle. The motorcycle runs well, however this classic beauty would be best in the hands of an experienced motorcycle rider who is familiar with this type of bike. The motorcycle is sold as is with a good title and NO RETURNS. There is no warranty and buyer accepts the bike without guarantee. The buyer should know that the motorcycle is intended for motorcycle aficionados familiar with Italian made bikes and in particular Laverda’s.
A starting bid of $10,000 seems about par for the course for these. The price seems fair, but demand for these is limited and the seller may have to wait a while for the right buyer. The paint looks a bit faded, but the images are very washed out, so that may just be poor photography, not a flaw with the bike.
It would, of course, look better in classic Laverda orange.
It may not be as sexy as a 1970′s Laverda, but it’s still very distinctive and usable, both excellent qualities to have in your classic steed.
Norton and their Winning Ways were making a comeback in the 1970’s, and with the backing of John Player Tobacco Company, they were back on the track. The Norton Atlas had grown into the Norton Commando, and with the addition of a rubber isolation system, the vibration was tamed, and with a total of 850cc, the Norton became a Super Bike, again. These two John Player Norton’s may be “paint editions” and not have the twin headlight fairing to emulate the JPN endurance racers, but you are getting possibly the pinnacle and swan song Norton.
For sale is my 1975 Mk.3 Norton Commando John Player paint edition. The bike has had a full engine rebuild with forged JE pistons, Black Diamond valves, Superblend bearings, re-sleeved Amals, Boyer ignition, new camshaft, upgraded starter wiring, and new British made peashooter mufflers.The iso’s were also rebuilt….Bike has new British made stainless steel rims with new spokes in stock size and has new Dunlop Roadholder K81′s with maybe 1000 miles total since I mounted them….The bike was repainted very nicely in it’s stock JPS paint scheme. The seat cover is in nice shape but the foam should at some point be replaced or better yet, upgrade to a Corbin seat.
Both of these bikes offer electric starters. These were first offered in 1975, also introduced in 1975 was something that wasn’t new, but something required by the Design Company that is the United States regulation committee. They said that all motorcycle have to have the brake on the right, and shifters on the left. This Design Company that was the United States ruined a lot of good designs, both motorcycle and automobiles.
1975 Norton Commando John Player Edition. Numbers Matching, Excellent original condition, down to the black cap silencers and very well maintained. Includes detailed service records since new. I purchased this from the original owner who bought the bike new from the Norton Dealer in MN. The mileage and paint is original with service records to back it up. Starts and runs excellent, doesn’t smoke and the carb is tuned to idle at that perfect Norton low rumble. The electric starter has been rebuilt and upgraded to the 4-brush starter, it works great (it will also start first kick, if you prefer to kick start it). The original air box, tool kit and service manual will be included in the final sale. I put about 400 trouble free miles on it last year.
Now it was difficult to get a sense of the difference between the full fairing JPN replica racers and the John Player paint edition, but I was able to find the below numbers for performance. The key may be in that the JPN full fairing seems to have been offered for 1974-75, and the electric start from 1975-78. The Tobacco Company left the Norton racing effort rather quickly and it would make sense that they would not want to advertise a sponsor that was no longer sponsoring Norton. Something else that these two auctions might give is a sense of how much buyers value original pain. At the time of this writing the first Norton John player with its re-paint has 9 bids up to $5700. The second Norton John Player with its original paint has 30 bidders up to $10,000. BB
John Player Norton Commando
Years produced: 1974
Total production: 200 (est.)
Claimed power: 50hp @ 5,900rpm
Top speed: 115mph (est.)
Engine type: 828cc air-cooled OHV parallel twin
Weight (dry): 435lb (198kg)
Price then: $2,995
The same year that Honda introduced the CB750, Kawasaki gave the world something as special, but with a little more blue stroke. Offered from 1969 until 1975 the Kawasaki H1 gave the rider lots of power, but lacked the frame design to keep the power to the ground in the safest way; it was described as “the triple with a ripple.” In 1970, Kawasaki took the H1R racing and with rider Ginger Molloy aboard, they were able to gather enough points to come second to Giacomo “Ago” Agostini and his MV Augusta. This 1974 Kawasaki H1 is dressed up to look like the H1R.
From the seller
From the serial numbers on the motor, it looks to be a 1975 H1 motor. The motor is brand new. I pulled off a cylinder and looked at the piston to check. It does not have the stock carbs and although I am not sure what size they are, they do look brand new. If I were to guess, I would say it has 32 or 34 Mikuni carbs. The cylinders are also ported. The right side head has a broken fin. Look at the pictures to see. I pulled the right head off of this to show the brand new piston. This motor is clean enough to eat off of. There is not a speck of grease, oil, or dirt on it anywhere. The aluminum is perfect. There is no oxidation or weathering on the aluminum cases. They look close to new. This bike does not have the dry clutch kit.
The way the seller describes the bike, it seems like they had recently purchased it. They give the best, vaguest description of a bike that I have read in a while. They state that it appears no oil has seen the inside of the oil tank. The seller has not started it up, or appears to know if it would start up. Read the complete description to understand what you might be getting.
More from the seller
This bike has custom chambers. It is safety wired as well. It has DID aluminum rims, 17 front and rear. The front is 2.5 by 17 and the rear is 3 by 17. The bike has Marzocchi rear shocks. If I were to keep it, I would probably put a better set of pipes on it as these pipes look like they are reworks factory pipe products. All bolts look new, no oxidation on any of the bolts or aluminum. There are a couple of small little scratches on the gas tank just from being moved around. The bodywork and paint are close to mint. No scrapes or scratches. This is done up in the right color of Kawi green.
I was able to find some power numbers on a racing H1R from 1972, the last year that it was campaigned. 75hp at 9000rpm, with its 5 speed gear box it was good in excess of 160mph depending on gearing. The major visual and performance difference between the replica for sale and the as-raced H1R is the front break. Because 2-strokes offer no engine braking, the biggest and best brake was needed to insure that the rider was able to slow for the first corner of the course. The original H1R used huge Four Leading Shoe drum brakes because at the time, were more advanced then disk brakes. The replica offered has the advantage of dual disk.
Internal performance differences can only be guessed at, but numbers I was able to find for an original 1974 H1 were 59hp at 8000rpm with fuel/air duties being handled by 28mm Mikuni’s. With my eye calipers, it looks like this replica may have added a few mm to the bank of carbs, the seller guesses 32 or 34. To handle the exhaust, the money shot shows that something more then stock was used. So if you are to pick up this 1974 Kawasaki H1R replica, you might have to spend some time sorting, but the end result should be very rewarding. BB