Star letter: Approaching the 'unapproachable'

Published: 07:45AM Jan 4th, 2013
By: Web Editor
I was fascinated by Roy Poynting’s feature on Graham Flew’s Norton Model 18 (January 2013). Indeed, looking at Roy cracking along I could almost hear the bark of the single-cylinder engine
Star letter: Approaching the 'unapproachable'

1927 Model 18 Norton

In 1960 I was certainly not as knowledgeable as the people that appear in the pages of the magazine. In my naivety I was totally taken in by the full page adverts in The Motor Cycle about the ‘unapproachable Norton’, with a Manx Norton shown in shadowy outline in the background. If Norton couldn’t build a single-cylinder sportster, who could?

My eye was taken by a beautiful dark green ES2; featherbed frame, roadholder forks, etc. (in fact, just like the reader’s restoration a couple of issues back). I soon lived to regret my choice, it didn’t really ‘go’ and I paid a number of visits to Bracebridge Street (was it Mr Hudson I saw?). The main reason was, the exhaust pipes cracked where they entered the cylinder head. I only realised decades later the engine had first appeared before I was born and was on its last legs.

Still, it looks marvellous, but looking at Mr Flew’s Model 18, I can’t help noticing the oil bath chaincase which was still in use in the 1960s. There is an old saying ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’... but with the chaincase it was broke and they should have fixed it!

I know that aficionados for Norton singles will be offended by the foregoing, but I should say that most of them will be like 90-year-old Wally. Younger riders may treat these bikes as antiques for pottering about on, but in 1960 I bought it because I thought that it would be a brisk, sporty ‘unapproachable Norton’.




T R Hill, Llandudno

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