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1951 Norton Manx

From the seller

FYI–RACE BIKES NEVER HAD A TITLE!

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This might not be the provenance that you are looking for as you look at this 1951 Norton Manx “Double Knocker”, but it is a likely that a bike imported for a specific race never did make it to the Florida DMV before going to race on the sand. It is surprising that a bidder for a race bike would back out of a deal because there was no title, but who knows what some people think.

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From the seller

1951, EXPORTED TO THE DAYTONA BEACH,FL. INDIAN DEALER IN DEC.1951, FOR THE 1952 DAYTONA 200. HAVE THE DISPATCH SHEET FROM THE ARCHIVES, STATING THIS AND OTHER INTERESTING TALES.

500CC TWIN OVERHEAD CAM, DOUBLE KNOCKER AS THEY SAY! MOTOR# G11M 42044, WHICH MATCHES THE DISPATCH SHEET, TRANY # SN 20316, WHICH DOESN’T, PRESENTLY RUNNING A GARDNER FLAT SLIDE CARB, I DO HAVE THE GP THAT CAME WITH IT, PLUS OTHER SPARES.. NEVER THOUGHT I’D SELL OR OFFER TO SELL, BUT I HAVEN’T DONE ANYTHING WITH IT IN 5-6 YEARS, AND MY INTEREST AND TASTE HAVE CHANGED.

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When I first heard the term “Garden Gate” to explain the rear suspension on British bikes, I could not see the connection. All the garden gates, or back yard gates, or any gate from my childhood was hinged. But once seeing an old British movie when someone went through a gate, I noticed that there was only a spring nailed to the top and bottom of the gate, no hinge. It was not safe, and the gate swung which ever way it wanted to, and this is apparently how the suspension was on this era of bikes. Any Which Way but the right way.

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This Norton Many looks like it is in last raced condition, and the seller points out that that last race was on the ice of Michigan, with a sidecar. It does not have the iconic paint sceme that it had at Daytona, and very little of the tin’s look like they would be original to 1951. But such is the life of a racer.

During the long history of Manx engines, the double over head cams, driven by the bevel gears where a high point. Not so much the open and exposed to the elements rockers. And the butterfly springs were quickly replaced with coil springs as soon as the metals were developed that  could stay together. Can you imagine what your engine would look like after 200 miles over the sand at Daytona with the open valve train?

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This 1951 Daytona raced Norton Manx has lived the life of a racer. There may very well be some Florida Sand still in its cracks and crevasses. The addition of the Gardner Flat Slide indicate that this was a throttle wide open racer (the Gardner wasn’t known to work well unless it was wide open.) The question that will follow this bike after the sale, is weather it will be left as is, sympathetically re-commissioned, or full on Daytona Beach racer restored and put on a pedestal? Will you please tell us your plans after purchase? BB