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Lot 147: Norton 500cc Model 30 Manx Racing Motorcycle

Important Collectors' Motorcars & Motorcycles, Bonhams (16 June 2012)

Dubbed 'Manx Grand Prix' in 1939, what would become the best-known racing motorcycle of all time had become simply 'Manx' when production resumed in 1946. Norton's over-the-counter Manx racers 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. The cycle parts remained essentially unchanged from then on, apart from the adoption of a double-sided, twin-leading-shoe front brake for 1962. Manx engine development though, continued steadily, latterly under Doug Hele's direction, until production ceased at the end of '62, among the most significant design changes being the adoption of 'square' bore and stroke dimensions for 1954 and coarser-pitch bevel teeth in 1957. This long-stroke Manx was despatched new to Eichler, Norton's agent in Vienna, Austria, and first owned by veteran Grand Prix racer Rudolf Runtsch (1905-1955). The engine currently fitted came from another Manx sent to Eichler, which was first owned by Franz Wurz, grandfather of former Formula 1 driver, Alex Wurz. In 1986 the Norton was discovered in a dismantled state in Belgrade by an Olympic skiing instructor, who rebuilt and campaigned it with some success until circa 2002. Scrutineering stickers from some of these European events are still affixed to the machine. Based in the Channel Islands, the current vendors acquired the Manx in 2010 and raced it at the Jersey Festival of Motoring at the Greve de Lecq hill climb and Jersey Festival of Motoring sprints in 2011. Last ridden in 2011, it will require the customary checking and additional preparation prior to any extended track use. The crankcases of the original engine ('43562') are included in the sale together with a quantity of other original parts and spares to include the four-speed gearbox, front wheel, cylinder head, cams, exhaust, sprockets, etc. Departures from original specification include a large capacity fuel tank, Mick Hemmings five-speed gearbox, Grimeca double-sided front brake and Dell'Orto carburettor. The machine is offered with copies of the Eichler sales ledger, NOC factory record data sheets and assorted correspondence.

Lot Details
Auction Important Collectors' Motorcars & Motorcycles
Bonhams, Oxford, UK
Lot Number147
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£25000
Hammer Price (inc premium)£28750
Condition rating
Registration number
Chassis numberG11M2 43562
Engine numberG11M2 48448
Engine capacity (cc)500
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors