The rebuild is only half the job in a restoration; fettling and getting it right is the next stage, as the experience with this Slimline Dominator proved.
Words: Tim Britton Photographs: Gary Chapman
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It is reasonable to assume the supply of unrestored British motorcycles must be running down. After all, restoration has been going on a long time, and not every old motorcycle was tucked away in a barn, outhouse, shed on allotment, attic or basement and subsequently forgotten about.
Those of us from areas where steel was made will have heard of all sorts of stories about vintage motorcycles being weighed in to the scrap yard – my grandfather’s motorcycles went that way in the Second World War – and even when mates went to work at our local steel plant in the 1970s, they would tell of lads riding up on an old Brit bike, being given a few quid for it, and into the melting pot it went.
In less industrialised areas, perhaps there are still ‘Brit bikes’ to be found, but more and more available machines are now being restored for the second or third time, or offered ‘restored’ or as unfinished projects, in need of ‘fettling’ or ‘fine tuning.’ Just such a machine was this smart 1961 Norton 99 which Bryan Lingard bought as a nice looking, professionally restored machine about four years ago.