1929 Norton 500cc Model 18
Registration no. RT 6092
Frame no. 41670
Engine no. 48475
A number of Norton's models sustained extraordinarily long lifelines, and the Model 18 (dating from 1922 to 1954) was no exception. Company founder James L Norton personally oversaw this model's introduction, which was the Birmingham company's first ohv machine, and which could definitely be said to have helped Norton become a major force in the racing world in general, and at the Isle of Man in particular. The Model 18 continued as the firm's sportiest overhead valve offering, if rather over-shadowed by - but in parallel with - the CS and International overhead camshaft machines, which reached the showrooms in 1928 and 1932 respectively. Saddle tanks were fitted to Nortons from around 1929 onwards, reminding us just how technically intense that period was, thanks to the invention of positive stop gear boxes, the arrival of chromium plating, and the increasingly wider use of twist grip throttle controls. There was however one constant for Norton; i.e. the distinctive silver and black striped oil and fuel tanks, off-set with a red coach line, a trade mark livery that has endured from Edwardian days to the present!
This Model 18 was acquired by the vendor about ten years ago. Despite that its history is mostly anecdotal, the registration documents confirm that one well known earlier owner was the VMCC's Wally Flew, whose stewardship began in 1983. Although there is no written evidence to support his belief, the present owner states the bike began life as a 600 but, because of contemporary unreliability problems, was returned to the Bracebridge Street factory circa 1933, where it was converted to a sweeter-running 500cc configuration, as, reportedly, were quite a number of other 600cc versions. Within Norton's much-loved, albeit unfathomable, numbering system the 600cc series was of course known as a Model 19. It should be noted that this Norton was catalogued so close to press day that there was insufficient time to check the above information with the Owners Club. The owner is also fairly certain that the forks were probably changed/updated on the same occasion. Since it was acquired the machine has been seldom ridden, not only due to a leisurely programme of selective refurbishment - of which the most visible components are the 'tanks - but because some increasingly stiff joints are, inevitably, now causing starting difficulties. In fact it is only recently that the Norton has once again emerged as a complete entity. Offered with a V5 and V5C, plus green old style copy logbook.