The 650 Norton thread

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Used to be worth a read and find interesting stuff on bikes here, but it's turned into a slanging match between a few.
I don't know "or care" who shat in whose lunch box first at school, but it would be nice if you kept it at the PM level so I don't have to skip through the sarcasm and shit to get to interesting stuff on old and modern bikes.

Graeme
 
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Re: post stat above; very funny...I cant see a P.M. from you, so I can only surmise GRM 450 that you are joining in , or being what is it now, ah yes...ironic.
 
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Tsk, tsk...BillT, not you too...best check the Fe content, make sure they aint a Commando barrel retrofit..
 

madass140

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"Used to be worth a read and find interesting stuff on bikes here, but it's turned into a slanging match between a few.
I don't know "or care" who shat in whose lunch box first at school, but it would be nice if you kept it at the PM level so I don't have to skip through the sarcasm and shit to get to interesting stuff on old and modern bikes."

Couldnt agree more Graeme, it seems a lot of these forums have these keyboard commandos, that contribute
very little to the forums, I've had a few of the decent forum members PM me advising me to ignore these time wasters and shit stirrers, so I have 2 now on my ignore list and a 3rd pending,
The forum owners wont remove them coz they score "points" with number of posts.
Its a shame the forum has to put up with this crap as it makes many decent blokes up and leave, the ignore button is the best option.
Don ex Brisbane.
 
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If I might chime in on this one...I certainly do my best to skim past the tedious pontification/pedantic/pretentious poncing & the haughty/huffy elitist posturing, as well as the boorish passive-aggressive bile spraying - but I would n`t care to censor it, or see it suppressed/excised by heavy handed 'moderation'.
Censure by objective/mature/considered/unemotive [well, `cept for a larf, natch] peer review...that `ll do nicely ,for sure.
 
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As far as the Craigslist 650 goes, I can see the "18" on the cases, so it certainly looks like a 650 Norton. From the location of this "18" stamping, it would appear that the engine is from either 1961 or 1962, as afterwards it was moved forward on the cases in front of the engine number. The fuel tank is also the smaller one that was used on many American spec Dominators in 1961 and 1962.

If the frame numbers match the engine, then it has some potential and the seller looks like he wants to deal.


 
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Bernhard said:
BillT said:
In case anybody's interested, there's a Craig's list ad for a 1964 Norton 'Atlas' 650 in Arkansas.
http://jonesboro.craigslist.org/mcy/3346074660.html

Somebody needs to save this before its completely ruined.


This engine is definitely NOT an Atlas so is incorrectly advertised

That is the point, which is why I put quotation marks around 'Atlas'. It looks like a 650SS that the long-time owner mistakenly called an Atlas - probably the only Norton name he knows besides Commando. Stagnant Cafe build, but still might be salvageable to return to its former glory.

This is the 650 thread, and there was a lot of talk about how great these Manxman/650SS machines are - here's an opportunity for someone to step up to the plate and save one before someone buys it, scraps the 650, and dumps a T140 in it.
 
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Crappy 1962 650ss on Ebay auction:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayI ... 0865505964

Advertised as "restored to original specification". Wrong fenders, wrong tank, wrong headlight bucket and instrument mounting, seat has an extra inch of padding in it, frame number in wrong place, why are the cylinder base nuts looking like they sprayed over them when they sprayed the cylinder?

Price would be top buck for a bike that was actually original, hopefully they don't sucker someone into thinking this bike is actually as good as they say it is.

For $11K there are much smarter buys than this. Yea, I sent them a note mentioning the issues the bike has that I am sure they will not be too happy about. Seller also has a lot of other bikes and cars for sale including three Ferraris, so although they are trying to market the bike to " Norton aficionados", they certainly come across as nothing but "money aficionados".
 
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Yep, I saw that 650ss on ebay as well. First impression was excitement when I saw the listing with the title and the thumbnail photo. But clicking on the listing, and my excitement soon turned to disappointment.
$11,000 opening bid would be the high mark for a correctly restored example. I could probably live with the fenders even if they're incorrect. The seat looks terrible, the serial number tag on the headstock looks hoaky, the chrome headlight with the black switch panel looks bad, center yoke nut with the hole for the damper, the gauge mounts are incorrect etc etc.
It's too bad, because the 1962 650ss should have the "650ss" stamp at the rear of the cases, which I think is quite cool. It would be nice to see detailed photos of that as well as many other parts of the bike. The painted cylinder base nuts and studs is a dead giveaway to a "restoration" done terribly. Anyone cutting corners on something so basic as that, probably cut corners in more important areas as well. Also makes me wonder if the frame number matches the motor and if the motor was ever apart for a proper rebuild. Or just masked off and painted without ever even pulling at least the the top end.
I've worked on featherbed Nortons in my time, and I know the time and cost that goes in to making them correct. For something this expensive, it should be correct. To my eye, I see about 2 grand that'd be needed to undo and then redo it. Plus however long someone would need to do the work.
Kind of a shame really. Based on their other listings. they're obviously more interested in making money than preserving such a rare Norton.
 
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I think the black cylinder base nuts look nice. The bike might have once been an historic racer ?
 
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Yea ; it looks Dunstall Equiped .



if its not smashed bashed and trashed , its a good deal .
One carefull owner . Only riden ( at a race track ) on Sundays . :D Would actually mean it WAS looked after, we'd hope .
 
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A friend of mine who has an original un-restored Dunstall bike, said that when Dunstall got bikes in from Norton he dismantled them so he could fix up the engines and chassis to his specifications, and that when he put the bikes back together he did not always put the engine back into the chassis it came with.

Which means that a lot of Dunstall Dominators out there may legitimately have mis-matched engine and chassis serial numbers. And of course there was a whole industry selling just the Dunstall bits for those wanting to "upgrade" their Dominator. To document an old Norton Dominator as being an original Dunstall one might have to research the bike in the Norton factory records and see if it was originally dispatched to Dunstall's works.

The serial number of the 650ss for sale above in Craigslist has a serial number within seven digits of a spare set of engine cases I have, and a few years ago I sold a 650ss with a serial number only several digits on the other side of it's engine number. Knowing how the bikes were shipped over in batches and in small numbers, and knowing the history of the two bikes that had numbers very close to this bike, it is likely that it was shipped over to Berliner as a stock bike and was later modified with bolt on Dunstall components.
 
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| updated some of the information at the thread start with new information that has come up since then.

It has been a lot of fun this fall running around on this 1962 650ss I did some heavy maintenance on over the last two years. It is a pretty much all original bike, with the engine std. bore to stock spec with it's original cam, carbs gearing etc..

Power of engine is like an electric motor, you just roll the throttle on in high gear and the bike surges to whatever speed you want. Serial# 1017xx is one of about 1500 650cc Dominator bikes that Norton made for 1962.

It's original Lucas compy mag has nothing done to it since new except for cleaning, starts it in one kick every time and never misfires at any rpm. I added a hidden zener to the electrics along with a 12v battery and bulbs. The original 6v electrics in the early slimline Nortons had no regulation, undercharging at low rpm, and boiling the acid out of the battery at high rpm, I put up with that for many years riding my 61' Manxman so wanted to try some 1964 style electrics.

 
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man i like that! :shock:

beng said:
| updated some of the information at the thread start with new information that has come up since then.

It has been a lot of fun this fall running around on this 1962 650ss I did some heavy maintenance on over the last two years. It is a pretty much all original bike, with the engine std. bore to stock spec with it's original cam, carbs gearing etc..

Power of engine is like an electric motor, you just roll the throttle on in high gear and the bike surges to whatever speed you want. Serial# 1017xx is one of about 1500 650cc Dominator bikes that Norton made for 1962.

It's original Lucas compy mag has nothing done to it since new except for cleaning, starts it in one kick every time and never misfires at any rpm. I added a hidden zener to the electrics along with a 12v battery and bulbs. The original 6v electrics in the early slimline Nortons had no regulation, undercharging at low rpm, and boiling the acid out of the battery at high rpm, I put up with that for many years riding my 61' Manxman so wanted to try some 1964 style electrics.

 
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650SS have always been at the top of my particular list.
In the early 60s there was a Norton agent in Southampton. Name of Syd Lawton, I believe that he was a works Norton rider at an earlier stage. Anyway he would frequently ride bikes for his stock from Bracebridge Street back to his showroom in Southampton. One time he was given a recently introduced 650SS to ride home for stock. I'm guessing that this would have been 1962. As an experienced rider he realised that this bike was special. He rode it around Europe to run it in, apparently he did about 1,500 miles. On return this bike was entered in the prestigious Thruxton 500 production bike race, which it won. It then proceeded to win the next two. Whereupon the bike had to retire, the race rules at the time specified that an individual bike could only run for three years. The bike was then put up for sale in his showroom. At the time there was a series of production race events around England which was well supported.
At the time I sort of knew the person who bought it, apparently the ex racing 650SS was completely standard, deeply valenced mudguards and everything, it may have had Thruxton (or Ace) bars, which were invented because, according to the then Production race rules handlebars had to use the original mounting method. Thruxton bars permitted a riding position similar to clip ons but used the original mounting points. The owner reckoned that the bike was super fast, super smooth handled like a dream. He kept it for several years, using it for fast (!) touring and everyday use.
I've got a feeling that Syd got no official help from the factory, throughout the bikes 3 year racing career it had had only had the basic maintenance that any well cared for road bike would get. He used to have a fantastic showroom, I can remember in one visit walking between, 7Rs, G50s, Manxes, Red Hunters, Bonnevilles, Aermacchi racers, all spread over two groaning floors.
cheers
wakeup
 
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Nice memories wakeup. I put up a photo of Syd Lawton's 650ss in another thread, so I pulled it over to this one too. A bit blurry but you can see it does have the low bars you are referring to and also it has a "humpy" (Feridax?)seat added, rearset footrests and a smiths atrc tacho, other than that it looks to be in about the same trim as mine.

I don't know what the rules for production racing were for this race, it would be interesting to come up with a copy of them if someone has saved them for the last 50 years.

I think Lawton was a Norton works rider in the mid 50s also but got hurt and quit. Somewhere I have some material where he is interviewed about this bike and if I ever dig it up I will see if I am missing any details. Besides surely going over the bike with a fine-tooth comb and lock-wire, I read that he re-laced the wheels to a slight offset to cure some handling quality he did not like about the bike.
I was also aware that there was a three-year rule that kicked the bike out of racing. For 1965 I am pretty sure that Lawton switched to a Triumph Bonneville which makes sense as Doug Hele was at Triumph and the Bonnevilles were being upgraded every year, where the 650ss Norton had no development from a performance point of view after it's introduction, except for the very last year finally getting a bigger carburettor choke size.

Lawton must have got his 650ss back because there has been a few sightings of it with him in the last several years, unless he built up a replica.

There were a few options for the front fender on 1962 SS Nortons. The parts book lists both non-chromed and chromed, valanced and cycle-type front fenders. Once AMC did away with the Norton works the non-valanced front fenders disappeared from the front of Dominators.



 
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beng said:
I don't know what the rules for production racing were for this race, it would be interesting to come up with a copy of them if someone has saved them for the last 50 years.
I was also aware that there was a three-year rule that kicked the bike out of racing. For 1965 I am pretty sure that Lawton switched to a Triumph Bonneville which makes sense as Doug Hele was at Triumph and the Bonnevilles were being upgraded every year, where the 650ss Norton had no development from a performance point of view after it's introduction, except for the very last year finally getting a bigger carburettor choke size.
Lawton must have got his 650ss back because there has been a few sightings of it with him in the last several years, unless he built up a replica.

The only other rule that I can remember was that the bikes had to have sold a minimum of 200, in the specification that they were being raced. Later on this was changed to allow different parts as long as they were listed, the homologation list of bits for some bikes ran to pages!! I think that was the beginning of the end, it just got too hard to police. There was obviously safety stuff like removal of stands, wire locking drain plugs, taping of headlamp and tail light glass.

Syd was part of the push for the development of the Thruxton Bonneville (T120R) in the late 60s. A bike which was possibly (almost!) the best 650 ever.

When I broke my leg in 1965, Syd Lawtons son (Barry) was a witness and apparently had to physically restrain the driver of the car that I had glanced off. There I was l with a very obviously badly broken leg, blood coming out of my mouth ( it turns out from a gashed lip, but that wasn't obvious) The driver wanted to roll me over to get at my licence. At the time Barry Lawton was a good national level road racer on an Aermacchi

In the early 60s Thruxton was not the flash place we see today. It is an ex WW2 airfield (surprise!), in the early 60s it was pretty basic, for an early season race everyone including riders, spectators everyone took shelter from a snow storm in the hanger alongside the future JPN Racing building. After the snow stopped the organisers asked for volunteers to sweep the track clean! At one 500 miler the main straight was down to about 10 feet wide, and marshalls were sweeping the rubble away during the race. All this homeliness ended when the BRDC bought Thruxton in the mid 60s after Goodwood closed.

I know that the Thruxton 500 race had some influence on purchasing preferences, because there were quite a few 650ss' in Southampton, far more than Triumphs, let alone Bonnevilles, up to the late 60s, when the T120R became more popular.

cheers
wakeup
 
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