Newly introduced for the 1923 model year, Norton’s sporting Model 18 retained its essentially Vintage characteristics until 1931 when dry-sump lubrication and a rear-mounted magneto were adopted as part of the most extensive redesign, since 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 for 1935.
The Model 18 Norton was one of no less than 12 models catalogued by Norton for the 1935 season. Its side-valve engine had the familiar Norton bore and stroke of 79 x 100mm and 490cc capacity. The Model 18 had been in production for over a decade and proved a commercial winner for the Birmingham concern which traced its history back to 1901, while production of an essentially unchanged 1939 model resumed after WW2.
The Model 18 on offer here hails from a discerning and meticulous collector of beautifully restored or superbly original motorcycles and cars. An original 1935 frame with an engine from a post-war, 1949 machine, the bike has been built to be ridden. The engine was rebuilt by Pushrod Performance in England with new pistons, rings, cam, bushings, bearings, etc. They also went through the gearbox, ensuring it shifts perfectly. On the spark side, the magneto was completely rebuilt by expert, Doug Wood, and a 12V Alton generator was installed with a Solid State regulator and new 12v battery (inside Lucas box). On the fuel side, a new Amal 276 side bowl carb was installed with all new fittings, petcocks and cloth braided hoses. All electrical systems, brakes and suspension were overhauled as necessary and work accordingly, while new correct 19” Avon Speedmaster tires ensure proper adhesion to the road.
The result is a wonderfully pleasing motorcycle to ride and own. The bike starts from cold consistently with one or two kicks (see video below) and is an utterly superb ride. It pulls well through the rev range and has the feel of a very taut engine. The bike has covered over 350 miles since restoration to ensure proper run-in and subsequent re-torque of the engine and final sorting.
This is a great opportunity to acquire a fun, reliable pre-War British icon, steeped in cool patina.