1928 Norton 490cc Model 18 Project
Registration no. VW 4704
Frame no. 29074
Engine no. 36093
Like the majority of their contemporaries, Norton relied on the sidevalve engine until the 1920s, when the existing and well-tried 490cc unit was used as the basis for the firm's first overhead-valve design. Penned by James Lansdowne Norton himself and first seen in prototype form in 1922, the overhead-valve Norton made little impact in that year's Senior TT, though at Brooklands D R O'Donovan raised the world 500cc kilometre record to over 89mph using the new motor. A road-going version - the Model 18 - was catalogued for 1923, quickly establishing a reputation for both speed and reliability when a standard engine assembled from parts was used to set a host of records, including a new 12 hours mark. Alec Bennett won the Senior TT for Norton in 1924 and, demonstrating that racing really did improve the breed, the Model 18 gaining Webb forks and better brakes for 1925 as a direct result of the works team's experiences. The Model 18 retained its essentially vintage characteristics until 1931 when the range was extensively redesigned, the most obvious external alteration in its appearance before then being the adoption of a 'saddle' tank for 1929. Today the Vintage Model 18 enjoys landmark status as Norton's first overhead-valve roadster and is highly prized by discerning enthusiasts. Norton factory records held by the VMCC show that this matching-numbers Model 18 was sent to a dealer in Leytonstone on 18th November 1927 and sold new to a Mr Cox of Chigwell. Owned by the current vendor since 1966, 'VW 4704' is offered for restoration and sold strictly as viewed. This dismantled machine comes with old-style buff logbook (issued 1945) and Swansea V5C.