Alert - ES2 4 sale

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Nov 5, 2006
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usually i hate the douches that sale their crap (some useless item 4 to much $$)here BUT some good ole boy in NM has a 54 norton thumper 4 sale -which i'm sure norton lovers would agree requires special attention! and if i wanted a single i'd jump at it!

I've added the info below - i have no connection/ interest other than passing the info on - (that being said i am, loking for a precommando noton twin..)


Hi Mike,

Thank you for your interest in the Norton that I have for sale.

The bike is in the last stages of restoration using original parts. The only
modern components are the electrics which are 12 volt Boyer Bransden with
electronic ignition (It starts first kick!!). Exhaust note is pure 1920's and is
quite unforgettable. At the time of placing the advert I was waiting for a
replacement silencer. This has now been fitted and the engine runs perfectly.

The bike is in good condition as can be seen from the photographs, but has a few
things that need doing to it. It has been dropped once (never let friends ride a
classic bike!!) and the gear selector fork inside the gearbox has been bent. 1st
and 2nd gear select ok but 3rd and 4th don't. The gearbox side plate needs
removing and the fork either replaced or straightened. The headlamp rim is
scratched and it needs a new rubber throttle twistgrip. The right side footrest
is bent back and needs removal and straightening. The ammeter works but pieces
of the dial are broken inside, and it would help cosmetically if this were
replaced. Cost of the above replacement parts around $200. Sonny Angel, the
Norton/Triumph dealer in San Diego quoted $500 to fix everything, but I am now
based in Las Cruces and have been unable to get anyone with sufficient
confidence to look at it.

The frame and engine are matching part numbers and the bike has had an
interesting history. Here is the story as I heard it:

The bike was bought new in Norfolk, England in 1954. At some time during 1963 it
was sold to someone who exported it. A member of the UK Norton Owners Club
discovered the bike as a box of bits in Havana, Cuba, whilst on holiday there.
They bought it and shipped it back to England where it was restored by the
Norton Owners Club and the 12 volt system installed. On completion the NOC
raffled it and it was won by a guy who was going through a messy divorce. He
transferred it to his girl friend of the time to avoid his ex wifes lawyer
getting to know of it. I am a retired English printer and I bought it from the
girl friend and shipped it out to my retirement home in Mulege on the Baja
Peninsular of Mexico, clearing customs inbound at Long Beach in the process. I
did a little research at the motor vehicle registry in London on a visit to
England and discovered that the name of the purchaser who exported the bike to
Cuba was E. G. de la Serna - Che Guevara no less!! He had been a roving
ambassador for Fidel Castro at that time and spent time in London during his
travels. I guess it would have been in character for him to buy another Norton
ES2 after his travels with Alberto Granado as a young man during the early
1950's. Publication of his book, the Motorcycle Diaries, did not happen until
1992 and was a compilation of his notes, edited by his second wife, Aleida March
de la Torre. The notes came from his personal archive which is on file in the
Che Guevara Latin America Centre in Havana. I have been unable to discover
anything more about the bike itself but apparently there are people in Havana
who know more of its background. I guess the eventual owner could have an
extremely interesting holiday in Cuba when US tourism to that country is
eventually allowed again.

Obviously with any sort of documentary proof of all the above, the bike is worth
a substantial amount for its historic value alone, but I have been unable to
verify anything other than its date of export. The motor vehicle registry
allowed me to photocopy the cancelled registration document but would not allow
a photocopy of the bill of sale which was also on file, as that was regarded as
a private document.

I also have a few other bits to add and some comments which it may be better to
write down rather than talk about them. Some things which may interest you. A
couple of books, "Norton, The Complete Illustrated History" by Mick Woollett,
quite good with many facts and figures, and the Electrical Techbook by Tony
Tranter. This second is useful if you ever have to fiddle with the electrics as
the original Norton manual only describes 6 volt magdyno stuff. A spare Boyer
Bransden electronic ignition system also comes with the bike. This costs around
£400 new and is unused, so it is worth having. There is a pack of various
gaskets for decoking etc. and instruction leaflets for the 12 volt conversion
equipment fitted. All the above items go with the bike.

There are several bits of paperwork regarding the recent history of the bike,
including Norton Owners Club details regarding UK registration date, original
owner and technical details on carburettor settings, jets etc. UK Export
certificate, shipping documents and customs clearance into USA. Point to note is
that when I imported the bike it was going direct to my home in Mexico and
therefore I was not charged any duty on it. Whether you may have to pay some
sort of duty in order to register it, your Norton Owners Club guys would know I

The original UK registration number was RAH 238. This was cancelled when the
bike was exported. When it was returned to UK the registration authority
allocated a new number, as they do not reinstate original numbers, but instead
issue an 'age related' number. In this case it was the number now on the bike,
OFF 267.

I shall be selling the bike as parts and incomplete, so you will have to arrange
the registration if you buy it.

Photographs are attached as follows. I hope they keep you amused until your
return to USA. 12 pics in all, about 500k each, and I am sending them 4 at a
time, so you should have 3 emails total. Pics are numbered from 0384 to 0395.

0384 Shows the fitment of the modern dust filter. This can easily be removed if
0385 Shows the bent right footrest. Needs taking off, cut and welding back at
the correct angle. I am assured that they do NOT bend back again but just break.
0388 Is of the damaged headlamp surround. The bike fell over as my friend tried
to dismount after riding it! It did not break the lamp glass but a 12v bulb
needs replacing and a new surround is about $20 from UK.
0389 Shows where the front of the mudguard grounded.
0391 Battery box and electrics. The battery is about 6 years old now and needs
replacing as it does not hold a charge for long. I would recommend that you
rebuild the battery box a little bigger and use a heavier duty battery. The box
fitted is from the original 6 volt system and the only 12 volt battery that fits
it is too small in capacity.
0392 The view from the rider.
0393 Tail end.
0394 Right side.
0395 Left side.

Kind regards,

Keith Ford

tel 505 522 0655
or mobile 505 312 5983
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