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Lot 518A: 1953 Norton Manx Rolling Chassis

Collectors' Motorcycles, Bonhams (24 April 2005)

Norton used the ‘Manx Grand Prix’ model name for its over-the-counter racer in 1939, and when production resumed post-war, what would become the best-known racing motorcycle of all time had become simply the ‘Manx’. The 1946 bikes were much as their pre-war counterparts, with single-overhead-camshaft engine, ‘square’ cylinder head finning, upright gearbox, and plunger-suspended ‘garden gate’ frames. Only the presence of the Roadholder telescopic front fork readily distinguished them from the ’39 machines. 1949 brought the first significant change in engine specification, the Manx gaining a double-overhead-camshaft ‘head like that enjoyed by the works bikes for many years, but the major development was the arrival of the Featherbed frame for 1951. The works’ adoption of the McCandless-designed duplex loop swinging-arm chassis the previous year had given the Nortons a welcome lease of life in Grand Prix racing, and Geoff Duke duly took both the 350 and 500cc world titles in 1951.
Built in 1953, the last year of long-stroke Manx production, this rolling chassis was acquired by the vendor in 1986 and has not been used since. It features various modifications carried out by the famous Norton tuner/entrant Ray Petty - best known for tuning multiple British Championship-winner Derek Minter’s bikes - including the integral oil tank and modified rear hub with opposite-side brake/sprocket. In addition, we understand that the steering head angle has been altered to works specification, while the after-market twin-leading-shoe front brake is another noteworthy feature. The gearbox is Norton roadster type, correct for the period but incomplete. A small quantity of spares - mainly suspension and gearbox components - accompanies this lot which is sold strictly as viewed. Offered without reserve.

Lot Details
Auction Collectors' Motorcycles
Bonhams, International Classic Motorcycle Show, Stafford
TypeMotorcycle
Lot Number518A
Estimate£2500-£3000
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£1100
Hammer Price (inc premium)£1265
Year1953
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