c.1907 Norton 6hp V-twin Frame no. 632 Engine no. 16301

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Lot 315
c.1907 Norton 6hp V-twin
Registration no. not registered Frame no. 632 Engine no. 16301

Sold for £ 43,700 (US$ 57,037) inc. premium
c.1907 Norton 6hp V-twin
Registration no. not registered
Frame no. 632
Engine no. 16301
• Exported to Australia
• Present ownership since 1985
• Restored in the 1980s

Having completed an apprenticeship in the jewellery trade, Birmingham-born James Lansdowne Norton founded the Norton Manufacturing Company in 1898, initially to supply components to the bicycle trade. In 1902 he built the first Norton motorcycle using a Clément engine, and for the next few years Norton continued to rely on proprietary engines, its larger models being powered by the Peugeot 6hp v-twin, as seen here. This machine dates from 1907, the first year of the Isle of Man TT races. As every enthusiast knows, that race was won by Norton (in fact, Norton won the Twin-cylinder Class and Matchless the Single-cylinder Class). The winning Norton was powered by a Peugeot engine and its rider was Rem Fowler.

This machine's history can be traced back to 1967 when it was reportedly purchased at the Wagga Vintage and Veteran Vehicle Club rally by VMCC of Victoria member, Guy Leopold. Guy kept a 1917 Norton Big 4 motorcycle combination he had bought at the same time, but sold the un-restored v-twin to fellow VMCC member H Wal Maynard, a long-time acquaintance of the current owner. In April 1985, Wal contacted the current owner and offered to sell him the machine, which he said should go to a Norton enthusiast who would care for it.

As acquired, the machine was essentially complete and the engine had good compression and turned over. It needed to be completely stripped so that the frame and other cycle parts could be repainted. This work was undertaken by the late Ray Reardon, who was able to hand paint the name on the tank, shown in the original 1907 photographs as 'The Norton'. Parts required to be plated were entrusted to Endeavour Plating in Hawthorn, who nickel-plated the handlebars, control levers, hand oil pump, and the brake pedal and rod.

The machine was completed in time to be shown at the Classic Motorcycle Club's 'Motorcycles of the Past Show' at the Box Hill Town Hall in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. A photograph of it was published in the Saturday 14th April 1986 edition of the Sun News Pictorial. From then on the machine has been displayed many times at motorcycle shows, schools, and fêtes, the highlight being its appearance at the opening of the Emerald (Victoria) Anzac Commemoration walk by the Governor General of Australia, Sir Peter Cosgrove, on Anzac Day, 2016.

After many discussions with Peter Rosenthal of Pete's Bikes in Chatteris, Cambridgeshire, the vendor decided to ship the motorcycle back to the UK for eventual sale. The magneto was rebuilt at time of despatch and is sparking well, and since its arrival in this country the machine has been kept in a heated garage. Rebuilt in the past, the engine turns over freely.

Very few Veteran-era Norton motorcycles survive. It is impossible to be definitive about whether this machine fits the exact catalogue specification – or whether all components are original to it – and potential bidders must satisfy themselves as to the level of originality prior to bidding. However it certainly represents a rare opportunity to acquire an example of a motorcycle that is essentially the same type as ridden to victory by Rem Fowler in the inaugural Isle of Man TT.


  • As with all Lots in the Sale, this Lot is sold 'as is/where is' and Bidders must satisfy themselves as to the provenance, condition, age, completeness and originality prior to bidding.

Saleroom notices

  • Inevitably, given its age and history, this ancient motorcycle has acquired some apparently non-Norton parts over the years, including the front brake lever taken from a 1909 Abingdon. Indeed, it cannot be known for certain what parts - if any - left the factory in the same motorcycle, or precisely when the machine came to be assembled in its present form. Asked for his opinion of this machine, respected Veteran and Vintage motorcycling authority Richard Rosenthal had this to say: "The longer I've been involved with Veterans the more I realise its impossible to be definitive about build and makers sticking to catalogue specifications other than to say they didn't. In effect, the proven history of a certain machine is to my mind the most important piece of evidence, but who when repairing or modifying their motorcycles in the Veteran or Vintage period would have recorded what they were doing?" Accordingly, prospective purchased must satisfy themselves with regard to the origins and correctness of this motorcycle's individual components prior to bidding. Please note we have been unable to locate the frame number. The engine number is 19301 and the lot is offered with some related literature.
c.1907 Norton 6hp V-twin Frame no. 632 Engine no. 16301
c.1907 Norton 6hp V-twin Frame no. 632 Engine no. 16301
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