Tagged: Manx

Perfect Recreation: 1961 Norton Manx Replica for Sale

1961 Norton Manx Replica R Front

For many vintage motorcycle enthusiasts, the Commando is what first springs to mind when you mention Norton. But while that bike was stunning to look at and fast, its design wasn’t really cutting-edge, even when new. For vintage racing fans however, the name Norton probably conjures up images of this bike, the Norton Manx, a bike whose technical specification set the standard for privateer racing in a career that spanned 20 years, an almost impossible-to-imagine longevity in a sport where last year’s bike isn’t a classic, it’s just slow.

1961 Norton Manx Replica R Side Rear

The single-cylinder engine came in two flavors: 500 and 350cc’s. Both used reliable and precise bevel drive and tower shafts to work the dual overhead cams. But while the engine was sophisticated and reasonably powerful, it was just part of the picture and far from the bike’s defining characteristic. Instead, it was the bike’s “featherbed” frame that was the standout feature. The innovative frame was lightweight, stiff, and featured a swingarm rear for excellent roadholding that allowed it to compete against much more powerful machines.

1961 Norton Manx Replica Dash

Christened the Featherbed frame by racer Harold Daniel who described the experience of racing the bike like “riding on a featherbed.” That’s obviously a far cry from the “riding on a bedframe” experience of most motorcycles built when motorcycle frame technology was still in its infancy. But amazingly, the Manx was still winning races almost ten years later…

1961 Norton Manx Replica L Side Engine

So the bikes were stone-axe reliable, nimble, and made decent power, making them hugely versatile tools for the wide variety of events held during that period. In fact, the folks at Molnar will still be happy to build you a perfect replica of the original Manx today, if you have the cash…

From the original eBay listing: 1961 Norton Manx Replica for Sale

I have for sale here a “new” Norton Manx Replica.  This bike was built in the image of a 1961 Manx.  The bike is a re-creation, built to modern standards.  I am relisting the motorcycle with lower Buy It Now and lower reserve.  It was previously listed as a 1962 Manx Replica but Andy Molnar pointed out the single-sided brake is proper for 1961 and earlier, not 1962.

The bike’s features are:

  • New, never run, Molnar Precision Limited 500 cc. DOHC motor.  I have a copy of the original build sheet.
  • Believed new Mick Hemmings Quaife 5 spd. transmission.
  • New Molnar Precision Lightweight beltdrive
  • New Featherbed frame produced by Andover Norton
  • Newly strung alloy wheels, built by Buchanan on proper period magnesium hubs, all new bearings/axles
  • New Ken McIntosh oil and fuel tanks
  • New tachometer 
  • New Amal GP carburetor and Matchbox floatbowl
  • New controls including levers, throttle, rearsets and all cables
  • New seat
  • New exhaust pipe and megaphone
  • Number plates are alloy, not plastic, and new
  • All new nuts and bolts, proper Manx rifle-drilled where appropriate.  The number plate and fender bolts are aerodynamic stainless from Racing Norton
  • Rebuilt, period correct Featherbed forks, new internals, new rear suspension units
  • New alloy fenders
  • New fairing and windscreen

This bike has recently been professionally completed and as noted, has not been run, in respect for its “new” condition.  The Molnar motor was factory equipped with a PVL electronic racing ignition hidden in the stock magneto housing, and initial timing was set at the factory.  (NOTE:  If you intend to purchase this motorcycle to race in a class that prohibits electronic ignitions, I do have a newly rebuilt Lucas magneto that is available separately.)

Andy Molnar is well aware of this motor and will be pleased to discuss it with a purchaser.  The initial cost of the motor is roughly half the Buy It Now price.

An individual purchasing this motorcycle to display will be pleased with the beauty of the bike and the quality of construction and the fact that there has never been petrol or oil in the tanks (I believe this makes international shipping easier as well).  A racer acquiring the bike to compete will need to safety-wire as required by sanctioning bodies.

1961 Norton Manx Replica Shifter

Keep in mind that, in this case, “replica” is underselling it a bit. Molnar makes what are basically recreations of the original Manx bikes, similar to “continuation” Cobras. They’re the real deal in every way, except that they weren’t built fifty years ago. In many ways, this is actually more desirable to anyone who wants to use the bike in anger, since they won’t be risking an irreplaceable piece of racing history and will get a very authentic experience racing one of the most perfectly designed and executed motorcycles of all time.

-tad

1961 Norton Manx Replica L Side

1962 Norton Manx Race Bike for Sale

1962 Norton Manx R Side

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…

1962 Norton Manx L Side Engine

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.

1962 Norton Manx Dash

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.

1962 Norton Manx Rear Wheel

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

1962 Norton Manx R Side Engine

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.

-tad

1962 Norton Manx L Side

1965 Norton Atlas for Sale

The Norton Atlas was a development of the Dominator and was originally designed for export to the US to sate our hunger for bigger engines and moar power.  Featuring a bored-out, low-compression version of the 500cc Dominator motor and fed by a single Amal carb, the big-bore version produced a healthy 55hp but vibrated excessively when rigidly mounted in the frame.  This vibration was a serious problem and led to the development of the “isolastic” mounting system of the Commando that used a series of elastic rubber bushes to isolate the big parallel twin’s significant vibration.

Click the link to see the original eBay listing: 1965 Norton Atlas for Sale.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This bike is decked out in a beautiful silver and black paint scheme intended to evoke the earlier Norton Manx single-cylinder race bikes and the effect is very flattering.  The owner is clearly an enthusiast and the original add includes a comprehensive list of parts and work that has been done:

Alternator, Exhaust Pipes, Custom footpegs.

New handlebars, headlamp,  Custom Mudguards(front and rear)

Custom alloy oil tank and custom alloy Gas tank(all Alloy parts custom hand made in Atlanta)

New rear lamp and new rear suspension units.

Custom seat(Alloy again) in Manx style.

New speedometer(shows 0 miles, but rebuilt engine has been run in before the speedo was installed, so she is good to ride straight off)

New switches and wiring.

Throttle cable and throttle new.

Headlamp holder(brackets).

Custom Alloy instrument brackets.

New mufflers(bike sounds great, listen to the bike in one of the videos)

New tires(front is a Barracuda and back is a Dunlap)

Carbs have been rebuilt as have the front forks and magneto(bike does not use a battery)

Frame and many other parts have been powdercoated(really adds to the neat overall appearance of the bike)

4 speed transmission was found to be in good nick and it shifts well.

This has got to be one of the coolest bikes on Ebay.  It’s worth it for the custom alloy parts and the slimline Featherbed frame alone !

 

 

 

 

 

 

He’s also included several nice video clips of the bike starting and running:

Norton Start From Cold

Norton Idle and Rev

At the time of this writing, there are no bids on this bike, but I’d expect that to change: this is an extremely classy bike, ready to vibrate its adoring new owner’s hands into glorious numbness!

-tad