2,619 miles from new
1957 Norton 490cc International
Frame no. B11 12748
Engine no. B11 12748
Following its successful Senior TT-winning debut in 1927, the overhead-camshaft Norton had enjoyed mixed fortunes in the Isle of Man, and when the engine's designer, Walter Moore, left to join NSU, Arthur Carroll was charged with carrying out an extensive redesign. First seen in the works racers in 1930, the new motor borrowed features from the successful KTT Velocette, contriving to look very different from its predecessor while remaining unmistakably Norton in execution. The Carroll engine retained the classic 79x100mm bore/stroke dimensions and shaft-and-bevels cam drive of the Moore unit but shifted the magneto drive to the right-hand end of the crankshaft where it was enclosed in a distinctive timing case. The new overhead-cam racer was not an immediate success - 1930 was Rudge's year in the Isle of Man - but came good in 1931 when works rider Tim Hunt kick-started a four-year period of Norton TT domination by winning both the Junior and Senior events. Towards the end of 1930, the Carroll-type engine was introduced on the CS and CJ road models, and in 1932 these were joined by a new top-of-the-range sports roadster - the 'International' - that bore a closer resemblance to the works racers and was equally at home on the racetrack.
A 'racer for the road', the top-of-the-range 'Inter' was based on the works machines but could be ordered with refinements such as lights and a kickstart-equipped gearbox. By the time production halted in 1939 the Inter was being built with four-speed foot-change gearbox and plunger rear suspension, reappearing after the war in similar guise save for the adoption of the hydraulically-damped Roadholder front fork which replaced the pre-war girder. The model received Norton's race-developed Featherbed frame for 1953, an alloy cylinder barrel/head and the new 'laid down' gearbox being adopted at the same time. Expensive to make and challenged by cheaper parallel twins of comparable performance, the Inter ceased to be catalogued after 1955 but could still be obtained to special order until 1958, many of the later machines incorporating Manx components.
This wonderfully original 'time warp' Inter was used briefly by Lex's brother Jacques, including some dirt track racing, before being laid up. The matching-numbers machine is offered with a quantity of spares.
- Please note, this vehicle is a 1947 Norton, not a 1957.