Reference: Norton Jubilee

Norton Jubilee

This fine pair of Norton Jubilees are owned by Malmesbury Classic Club duo Terry Brock and Malcolm Wright. Terry (owner of the green and white one) is a long-time devotee of the Norton lightweight twins and has been featured several times in The Classic MotorCycle in the past (and became camera shy on this occasion!), while clubmate Malcolm (pictured) credits Terry for lots of help when restoring his own machine.

Both of the Nortons are 1961 Jubilee De Luxes. Launched in 1958, the Jubilee name celebrated the Diamond Jubilee of the Norton concern, founded by James Norton in 1898. Before the Jubilee, Norton had toyed with making a 250cc model a few years before – the neat single cylinder prototype still exists and is unrestored; most of its recorded miles were with then Norton employee Chris Vincent in the saddle – but it was decided a twin would be a better option.

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The parallel twin engine, well over-square at 60x44mm – meaning a revvy nature – was housed in a frame that could trace its origins to another maker in the AMC group, Francis-Barnett. The frame had a pressed steel member forming the front down tube, to which two tubes were bolted that ran back parallel to the ground to the top of the rear suspension units, before curving down and round the engine and bolting back to the pressed down tube. Rear suspension units were from Girling, while forks and wheel hubs came from the AMC lightweight parts bin.

What made the little Norton stand out most, though, was its styling and as illustrated here, that’s still the case. The Norton is of an appearance that means it could only have been manufactured when it was – rear enclosure, whitewall tyres, bulbous front mudguard, two-tone paint schemes and such, mean it can only be a late 50s/early 60s product. At no other point in motorcycling design history could the Jubilee have been made – like the bathtub Triumphs and Ariel Leader, to name but two, it is a child of its time.

Terry Brock is a man who has long appreciated lightweight Norton twins, which have been maligned in some quarters right from the outset. However, Terry explains that with ignition improvements, the little twins can be made into swift and reliable performers. It took Terry just four months to restore his example, with Malcolm taking two months more. Both Terry and Malcolm are members of the Malmesbury Classic Club, the Wiltshire based group of enthusiasts who regularly take top spot for their stands at the Stafford shows – while their motorcycles are award winners too.

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