’55 Norton Manx Racer
‘The most effective racer of all time’, ‘the work horse of the race circuit’…just a couple of ways the Norton Manx has been described over the years. The Norton Manx is without a doubt one of the most desirable classic racing motorcycles of all time. If you have ever been up close and personal with 500cc Manx racer you know why. The look, the sound, the legend…it stops your breath and makes your heart beat faster, about 7500RPM faster. I have seen and heard Manx Norton’s on full song at different vintage race meets and I can tell you that every bit of mystique that surrounds this motorcycle is justified.
Those that have been around road racing for a period of time or those that are interested in vintage motorcycles are all familiar with the Manx Norton but a lot of us probably don’t know much of the history of this iconic motorcycle. My job, ladies and gentlemen, is to inform you, educate you, enlighten you, to bowl you over with my extensive knowledge of this two wheeled legend and to make you want to cash in your 401K and become the proud owner of a Norton Manx!! A little over the top? I thought so, but, I can give yo a little bit of history that I found interesting.
The Norton Manx was developed to win the Isle of Man TT race. At the time, the TT was the world premier road race and for Norton, winning races meant selling motorcycles. Development of the Manx was started in 1937 and was ready to race in 1938, however one small event slowed the racing effort, a little thing called World War Two. After the war, racing in Britain resumed and Norton achieved what it set out to do. In 1946 Norton won the Manx Gran Prix. Now, you also know where the name came from. In 1950, the Norton designers built a new frame for the Manx. The new frame, an all welded duplex style (very innovative for the time and copied ever since), was built for high speed stability on the long (37 miles per lap) TT course. The new short wheelbase also made the bike very agile. Harold Daniels of Norton described the new chassis as giving a ‘featherbed ride’, the now famous Norton Featherbed was born. In 1953 the 500c single cylinder motor was redesigned for more horsepower but also retained its famous reliability. It was the combination of ride and reliability that made the Manx Norton the favorite race bike of privateer’s throughout Britain and Europe. 1962 was the last full year of production for the Manx and in 1963 the model was finally put out to pasture. It is however, still, one of the most sought after vintage race bikes in the world. There you have a brief history of this great racing motorcycle. That brief history leads us to my latest find on ebay, a 1955 Norton Manx that needs you.
I know you need a good winter project that starts in the middle of summer and I found it for you. This particular Manx definitely need some love but, compared to some I have seen, this is truly a diamond in the rough. Here is how it is described; “the best barn find I have found in my forty years of collecting Norton’s”. The motorcycle is in relatively good shape, its mostly all there and yeah, it’s missing some bits here and there, other parts need replacing ( there are plenty of sources for Manx parts out there) and I hope you know a good body man. This Norton has lived it’s life as it was designed to and has all the bumps and bruises that a racer of this era should have. Now what this piece of racing lore needs is a good home and a new owner with the love and passion to return this Manx Norton to its glory.
To learn about this motorcycle and what it needs and to see more pictures, click on the pics below.