Thursday, December 17, 2009


A friend who is deeply and professionally involved with motorcycles has been looking for a good, unmolested Norton Manx for a couple of years now, and his search has yielded results beyond my imagining.

The machine is a matching numbers, barely used 1962 Manx 30M, the last year of full production at the factory, with the best equipment of this long-lived series. Double-overhead camshafts, rotating-magnet racing magneto, fabulous double-sided four-leading shoe magnesium front brake, long-range (Isle of Man) petrol tank, and the list goes on.. it even sits on the original triangular Dunlop racing tires.

As you can see from the photos, there is a hint of corrosion on the cadmium-plated (or is it satin chrome?) nuts and bolts, and the paint has oxidized a bit, but those are necessary clues to the bike's originality, strictly as per factory catalogue.

My friend says he'll replace the perished fuel lines, but that's about all - it's perfect as it sits.


Brian B said...

Could the number of "how you find them"'s be going up? Are those who have had them needed to reevaluate "having" them? There are plenty of reasons to have and the same number of reasons to let go.
I have been able to find and purchase a couple of parts that once seemed to be made from "unobtainium" (SSFF flanged Dell'orto's), but as you say, know what you want and have the cash on hand to grab them. You may never see them again.
I don't want to think that this has been a form of taking advantage , but you have to take the advantage when you can.

Don O'Reilly said...

Unbelievable! makes my po' heart skip a beat! I don't suppose he'd want to trade for a commando....

YJH said...

Yes we all want more Histoires d'O
(I had to do that one before the end of 09)
Happy Holidays

Anonymous said...

HHi Paul
Just a short note to say how much I appreciate your Vintagent website.
I love motorcycles and especially the type you show. I've had Commandos
Triumph, Honda, Yamahas and H-D too over my 30 years of biking.
Currently I own a Triumph Scrambler '06 and a '81 Yamaha XT500.
Both are great fun but when I dream a bit they should ideally be joined
by an old British thumper, preferably a Velo. Or a Norton, and maybe a...
So I'll keep visiting your website to see the stuff that dreams are made off!
Best regards and Merry X-mas!
Mats Ohlander

Bill said...

I have an unmolested Manx 500 also. Serial number 102816, from the last batch made in January 1963. They made them in batches, no particular year. I have a listing of about the last 50 made, and where they were shipped from the factory, if your friend is interested. And I have some other stuff – tuning sheets, factory letters. The fasteners are satin chrome plated. Durable and cleans up easily. Your friend’s bike is missing the foam strip on the gas tank strap – a chin pad.

Anonymous said...

I guess he told you who found it for him ;-) .
Allegedly only had one hour on it.

david said...

Hopefully, He won't ride much on those original tires..
they must be as hard as rocks by now.

Bill said...

Regarding the tires: I got my Manx came absolutely original. The tires in 1962-63 were Avons, the front a rib and the rear a 'GT'. The Dunlop triangulars weren't made until about 1969. There were some triangulars made in modern soft compounds in the late 1980's. All these were 19 inch. The guys racing a Manx today use 18 inch, mostly Avons.

Bill said...

Mistake in my previous comment. The original Manx rear tires were Avon GP not GT. The Dunlop ‘triangulars’ were probably being used by the factory racers maybe from about 1964 on, when at about the same time Avon quit supplying race tires. The triangulars for production bikes, the Dunlop K81, probably were first used on the 1969 Triumph. I had 1968, 1969, and 1970 Norton Commandos which came new with Avons.

The original Manx tires were Avon Speedmaster (rib) 3.00 x 19 front, Avon GP 3.50 x 19 rear. I have the original Avons that my bike was delivered with. The Dunlop 'triangulars' race tires came later, and were the KR76 3.00 x 19 front and KR73 3.50 x 19 rear. I bought a few sets of these Dunlops in the mid-1980's when they were reproduced in a modern soft compound. Riding 'triangulars' is a strange experience. You either ride straight up or flopped all the way over. No transition. Not really a good racing tire unless everyone else is on them too, which was the case back then.

bill phelps said...

You're breaking my heart with this...

The Vintagent said...

Ah, we all have a bike we regret selling... mine is a 1929 Norton ES2 with Zeppelin sidecar. Damn!