Friday, April 11, 2008


John sent these photos of a ca. 1951 Norton Manx:

"Look at these pics! A DOHC [double overhead camshaft] Manx, supposedly raced in Canada. I saw it in a shed in Belgium, while buying a Model 18 Norton for a friend. Perhaps a bit modern, but really awesome looking."

I would agree, except, it's not too modern for my taste! A Manx is always a welcome guest, the top of the line for 1951, the best one could buy if you wanted to go racing. Dick Klamforth won the Daytona 200 race that year on a Norton very similar to this one (and won the next two years as well). The 'works' engines, such as Klamforth raced, had magnesium engine cases, cambox, gearbox shell, and bevel drive housings, etc, and will be painted black (or oxidized very dark grey). [According to Paul Adams, there are at least 6 'genuine' Klamforth '51 Daytona winners out there - the confusion has arisen due to a lack of accurate engine and frame records from the races.]

The engine closeup shows the direct lineage from the 1930 'Carrol' redesign (of the original 'Moore' CS1 engine) - not a lot changed actually, but the barrel and head have become aluminum, and of course the production Manx was now available with the dohc engine. Previously only the 'works' racing engines had this cambox, which gives more positive valve control, as the distance between the valve stem and cam is very short indeed. The cam doesn't act directly on the valve, but has a short intermediary 'pusher' to give more surface rubbing area for the cam (which reduces wear on the cam face), and no rotational push on the valve stem end, which might rock the valve and create rapid guide wear.

This machine looks remarkably original, with an Amal RN ('remote needle' - the needle has a separate chamber beside the slide) carb, magnesium wheel hubs, and large tanks (sorry no drive side shots to see the extra-long 'Daytona' oil tank filler neck). The extra large airscoop on the front brake isn't original, but looks right....perfect patina on the whole machine. I don't know if John made an offer, but I would have!

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