1930 Norton Other
Year of manufacture1930
1930 Norton 490cc Model 18
Registration no. TK 5719
Frame no. 43539
Engine no. 50501
Updated 1931 model
Matching frame and engine numbers
Restored to original specification
Like the majority of their 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 firm's first overhead-valve design. Penned by James Lansdowne Norton himself and first seen in prototype form in 1922, the overhead-valve Norton made little impact in that year's Senior TT, though at Brooklands D R O'Donovan raised the world 500cc kilometre record to over 89mph using the new motor. A road-going version - the Model 18 - was catalogued for 1923, quickly establishing a reputation for both speed and reliability when a standard engine assembled from parts was used to set a host of records, including a new 12 hours mark. Alec Bennett won the Senior TT for Norton in 1924 and, demonstrating that racing really did improve the breed, the Model 18 gaining Webb forks and better brakes for 1925 as a direct result of the works team's experiences.
The Model 18 retained its essentially Vintage characteristics until 1931 when the range was extensively redesigned, dry-sump lubrication and rear-mounted magneto being standardised. The most obvious external alteration in its appearance before then had been the adoption of a 'saddle' tank for 1929. There were numerous improvements made to the engine throughout the 1930s, including enclosure of the valve gear, while Norton's own four-speed 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. Production ceased in 1954.
This Model 18 was despatched from the factory on 29th December 1930 bound for Moffat of Yeovil, who sold it to the first owner, one M S Hodgson, on 1st January 1931. In September 1988 the Norton was exported to South Africa and in 2007 was restored there by the current vendor's late father. The machine was inherited by his son in 2008 and brought back to the UK in April 2012. The export/import paperwork is on file and the machine also comes with old/current V5/V5C registration documents and a Norton Owners Club (copy) factory record confirming matching frame and engine numbers.