1951 Norton 490cc Model 18
Registration no. RJO 476
Frame no. G3 41369
Engine no. 41369 G3
Like the majority of its 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 firms first overhead-valve design. After debuting on the racetrack, a road-going version - the Model 18 - was catalogued for 1923, quickly establishing a reputation for both speed and reliability. The range was extensively redesigned in 1931 when dry-sump lubrication and a rear-mounted magneto were standardised. There were numerous improvements made to the engine throughout the 1930s while Norton's own foot-change gearbox replaced the old Sturmey Archer in 1935. Production of an essentially unchanged 1939 model resumed after WW2 and then for 1947 the Model 18 was up-dated with Roadholder telescopic forks in common with the rest of the Norton range.
This particular Model 18 was sold new via Clarks (Oxford) Ltd and has been resident in Oxfordshire for its entire life. Interestingly, RJO 476 has the silver painted fuel tank and red-lined silver wheel rims fitted to some machines in 1951, a result of the nickel shortage caused by the Korean War that forced the temporary abandonment of chromium plating. Its black-painted silencer may well be another factory feature. The current vendor inherited the Model 18 from his father (only its second private owner) in 2010. We are advised that the engine was last started circa 12 months ago. Apparently highly original, the machine comes complete with pillion saddle and Moseley flotation air insert (punctured) and is offered with its original old-style logbook.
- We are pleased to announce this lot is now offered with a V5C registration document.