Norton guys taking shot at speed record in Bonneville

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Sep 26, 2007
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Folks - this is not a Commando specific posting, but I thought it would be interesting to the Norton riding community in general.

Near where I live in San Diego is an old Norton dealership run by a legend in the motorcycling world - Sonny Angel. Sonny has had the shop in the same location since 1953 and is still there at the counter every day, happily doing what he loves.

He was a Norton dealer for decades and has a load of stories to tell to all who come by. You can even oogle at the 4 cylinder Norton prototype he built in 1966 to try to convince the Norton factory that an inline 4 was the next big thing. They weren't convinced, but apparently Honda thought it was a good idea.

Sonny has taken many runs at records in Bonneville, most of them astride a Vincent. He is still yearning for the record, but at 83, the rules say he's too old, so his kid brother Don (64) will be piloting this time around.

The entry is a twin-Vincent-engine streamliner that they think will do the trick. They got stuck at 220 mph last year because of a broken transmission.

But this year could be the big one.

I will be there with Don and Sonny filming their shot at glory and cheering them on. If anybody on this forum will be attending, look for them. They are friendly, colorful characters.

PS - they still fly the Norton sign in their shop, and have at least a half - dozen Nortons on the floor. Don is in the process of patching together a set of crankcases to build a Commando V-4 "just for the hell of it"

Also - Discovery Channel just contacted Sonny and Don. Discovery is doing a documentary on the "fastest of the fastest" and invited the Angel boys to bring the Vincent back to Bonneville in mid-September for yet another run - this one for the film, as opposed to the Bub Speed Trials, Sept 2 to 7, where they will take their shot at the record books.

Anything to cheer them on will help!!

My buddy and I will be posting the news, photos and video of Sonny and Don from the Salt Flats. Keep your eyes posted on

Go guys, go!

keith kelly
I will also be attending the Bub event with my brother who rides a couple of Buells, I will look you guys up when we get there. We are leaving on Mon. the 1st and just can't wait to get back on the salt. If you guys need any help let me know, We will be there the whole week. He rides for NRHS so we will be in that pit or the Bennet's pit. Hope they do good, GO BRIT IRON!!!!!!!!
Joe Craig did design a water cooled four, gear driven DOHC across the frame in the forties, I believe a 125 single cylinder test slave was built and bench tested. But the Featherbed ended that dream as the Manx got a handling edge over the rest.
What might have been?
Sonny made some really nice 2-into-1 manifolds for the Commando; I know, I had one and it ran! It was much nicer in appearance than the other brand units I had, real clean porting and sharp looking space-age cooling slots.

I'll look for them if they are still there on the 3rd & 4th when I get there.
Sonny Angel, I've heard that name forever.
Good Luck guys.......
GrandPaul -

You mentioned the 2-into-1 intake manifolds that Sonny Angel made years ago. I was at his shop the day before yesterday and he was taking a phone order for one. When he hung up he said it was the 476th one he has sold.

He still has some.

Keith Kelly
That's unbelievable. I might have snapped a photo of the one I installed on that 70/72, I think it had a number stamped in it...
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