RacingNorton Newsletter No.32 : August - October 2020
Recent Catalog Progress and Updates, Covid and Other Normal Stuff:
Hi everyone, It is more normal for me to post only one Newsletter a year, but I am aware this is the 3rd in the last 6 months. The reason for this is that when I posted the last Newsletter, I had a number of new parts 'Work In Progress', which I now have completed or progressed further along with. I was just going to re-post the last Newletter No31, with new bits tagged onto an additional section . . . but when I came to count the number of additions, I saw that they probably warrant a new Newsletter - so here it is, but you may also find links to the previous Newsletter below, where items are related to those I showed in the last Newsletter - hope this makes sense.
Post Lockdown Changes - But Not Post Covid Yet
I am not sure what your own personal/family/geographical position is - but for myself and our family, there definitely seems to have been an upward turn in the overall Covid epidemic position, but it is not yet like it was pre-Covid - and actually, not sure it will be anything what we used to call 'normal' for a year or two yet.
We are based in Leicestershire, UK, and up until a short time ago, my home location was part of the continued Leicester lockdown. We have now come out of that - but I have to say, my family and I are still acutely aware that Covid has not gone away - so we have still stayed in our own lockdown as much as possible.
I think a lot of this is personal choice - and we each make our own decision, but my wife and I still feel very uncomfortable going out into areas with other people unless absolutely necessary (and always wear mask's in shops or where there are other people etc). I am not sure if you are the same - but for me it does not seem a good idea to chance things when you do not have to, and just add to the burden of the health services. And once again - I would like to thank the NHS (UK health service), and indeed all health services that have continued to be there throughout the Covid epidemic.
From a business perspective - I think everyone is aware we are very definitely not back to normal, and for many business's - it is a very difficult time, it seems that almost every other day there is some annoucement of further job cuts or business's giving warnings they are badly struggling. I would imagine there are few families who do not have loved ones or friends who have not been impacted by this - and I know some of our customers have been badly hit, for which you have our best wishes.
I am not going to fib - the last few months have not been plain sailing for us, and we have lost our original office due to Covid, as well as some parts being difficult to get re-supplied and seeing a slight down shift in orders placed - but thank you for all those that have.
That said, we are continuing on and still working/manufacturing full time (both my daughter and I have done so all the way through the Covid by the way).
Due to the amount of parts already WIP, and a limitation of available funds - I am sorry to say there have been a few parts we are running short of and will not be able to re-supply for a while yet. Good examples of this are some of our lasercut parts (i.e. engine plates), which I was originally looking to have re-supplied by now. Please bear with us, we will get them done . . . but may be a bit longer than originally expected.
RE Constellation and Honda In The Sun
I was reminded how pretty the Royal Enfield was, when pulling it out for the first time in 3 years or so, on this lovely summer day in late July.
The Honda looks nice next to it as well, although closer inspection will reveal it looks more grotty - but functional, as I keep it sprayed in Duck Oil as a local ride-around hack all through the year
Other Project Bikes - progress since last Newsletter. .
I am still doing work on both my current project restoration bikes - 1919 Douglas 2 3/4hp (TT Rep) and 1939 30M Manx Norton - but with both of them, the areas I am working on are entwined with parts I am also making in larger batch's for the Online Catalog .. . so progress looks slower than it might otherwise havve been.
That said, in this month's parts update - you will see where that work has paid dividends and I am pretty happy both are moving forward.
With the Norton particularly - I have been working on some of the smaller chassis parts, and am looking to start assembly of front forks soon - including using the 'Manx' spec fork blades to try out new girder fork spindles I am shortly going to be CNC'ing (these are actually behind schedule - I have had the metal cut for some time, but the CNC has been busy with other work).
That said - I did go out recently with Velo mate Andy Kirk on his Velo Venom (which he has owned since the 1960's) - in fact we ended up having two rides out to the same location - Shackerston Battlefield Line within about 4 weeks. Initial trip (see pictur below) was just for our first ride out - the station was still closed.
However, we went out again about 3 weeks later when Andy's son Phil was visiting on his Suzuki, and Andy on his similar bike - a nice opporunity to look at old Diesels, if you were once a sad trainsportter like me!
First Ride Out of 2020 - Velocette Venom adn Royal Enfield Constellation
Good friend Andy Kirk and I had a first ride out on weekday in late July to our local Shackerstone Battlefield line station. As seen here, Andy is leaning against the Velocette Venom he has owned since the 1960's - just slightly younger than my Connie.
At this point it was still early post-Covid lockdown and midweek, and no trains were running - but nice to just get out for a ride
Diesels and Steam Loco's in Leicestershire
Picture above was taken at Shackerstone on the same visit with Andy and Phil. Diesel in the foreground is another Class 33 (33201) which had just arrived on loan - the BR Blue colour reminds me of my train spotting days!
Diesel behind it is a Class 37 - another favourite of mine.
Below was a short ride by myself on the RE to Rothley (part of Great Central line) on a Sunday morning in early August. The loco is a powerful 9F 2-10-2, but as it was the first post Covid run of the year, it did not stop - this photo taken as it slowly trundled through the station looking majestic
Two Oily Old Diesels Together
About 4 weeks after the first photograph above - Andy and I had another ride out to Shackerstone railway, along with his son Phil - them both being on their Suzuki touring bikes - and myself again on the Connie.
It will come as no suprise to those that know me, that in my childhood years in the 1970's I was a Diesel trainspotter - and here is my own oily beast parked up next to a Class 33 loco - one of my favourite, although I never 'spotted' one in my area when they were current
Other Project Bikes - progress since last Newsletter. .
I am still doing work on both my current project restoration bikes - 1919 Douglas 2 3/4hp (TT Rep) and 1939 30M Manx Norton - but with both of them, the areas I am working on are entwined with parts I am also making in larger batch's for the Online Catalog .. . so progress looks slower than it might otherwise havve been. That said, in this month's parts update - you will see where that work has paid dividends and I am pretty happy both are moving forward. With the Norton particularly - I have been working on some of the smaller chassis parts, and am looking to start assembly of front forks soon - including using the 'Manx' spec fork blades to try out new girder fork spindles I am shortly going to be CNC'ing (these are actually behind schedule - I have had the metal cut for some time, but the CNC has been busy with other work).
In the previoius Newsletter I had been talking about making oil pipe unions for the Douglas - which are of a smaller size than those normally fitted to Norton oil and petrol pipes, and of a distinctive profile. In addition, the oil pipes used were 1/4" bore.
With the grateful help of fellow enthusiasts on the Douglas forum in identifying thread types and confirming dimensions, I have now been able to make all the various fittings and pipes - but have also taken extra time to write CNC programs, to manufacture batch's of each fitting type (many in stainless, that looks similar to bright nickel when polished), to add to the catalog of parts for Douglas's and other Edwardian style motorcycles
Douglas In the sun - showing new Valve Caps and rear carrier
Since my last Newsletter the Douglas has moved on with lots of small changes - but notably the addition of rear mudguard (Panama type with either side) and original rear carrrier - both will be included in a future Douglas restoration article. But the main work done has been jigs and CNC programs to make stainless 2 3/4hp Valve Caps and veteran spark plug parts shown fitted in the photo above.
The parts themselves are covered below!
Wheels Do Not Come Much Rougher Than This . . .
In these more austere times of late, I have made strenuous efforts to curtail my Ebay spending habits . . . but I did treat myself to these two ferrous oxide treats a couple of months ago.
Underneath all the rust are actually two very original Douglas 2 3/4hp hubs, still spoked to what is left of their original rims. What is particularly interesting about them is that they came from one of the last 2 3/4hp models made in the early 1920's - and by that time this model had switched from belt to chain drive. But if click on the photo for the enlargement, you will see that the rear rim on the left has had it's original 'belt drive' spoke holes lead filled! - what a wonderful little insight into changing times - just like Norton's - Douglas did not like to waste old stock!
Admittedly, both these wheels are quite far gone - bot I am hoping both hubs will clean up well enough to be usable on my second Douglas - a 1917-18 model, reserved for a futre OHV racer project - these the only major items I am missing - although loads of smaller stuff needed.
Norton Fork Blades - Handy For Testing Fittings
One of the handy benefits of never making much progress on my own restoration projects (now that's turning a negative into a positive! . . . ), is that it allows me to use some of the larger parts for test fitting of new parts we are manufacturing - the top set has one of our new girder fork springs fitted (see link to our last Newsletter at the bottom of this Newsletter).
In this case,the photograph above shows at the top the 'racing spec' girders from my 1939 Gardengate Manx (already with 2-pack black applied) and below them the Inter fork blades from my 1937 Rigid Inter in red primer. See if you can spot the difference between the two types. Along with a 3rd set of standard roadgoing OHV/CS1 girders I have (brake stop on left side) - these will be used to test varioius lengths of girder spindles and other fittings, currently in progress.
By the way - both these sets of girders have been re-tubed for piece of mind, one set by Stu Rogers and the other by Jake Robbins, both are nice jobs
New Parts and General Progress on Work In Progress Parts
In truth, some of the recent parts made on the CNC have taken much longer than expected - the Douglas valve caps being an example, but overall good progress has been made since the last newsletter, which was only 2 months ago.
I have had to hold off on a couple of larger supplier orders, as so many other things currently going through, but hopefully you will see below that there are numerous new parts to show and a number of useful restocks.
Added to that - we have many parts which are partly manufactured and should be ready for sale in the next 6 months - I have listed progress on some of those below.
So keep well all, and I hope you are getting the chance now to get out on some of your own bikes, we will keep updating the RacingNorton homepage with most recent updates as new parts become available
Best wishes and continue to keep well
Paul (and Steph) Norman
New And Re-Stocked Products - Since Our Last Newsletter
Click on any photo to take you directly to the item listing on our Online Catalog:
New (or Back In Stock) Products In The Last 6 Weeks
Since the last Newsletter in May we have had a number of new products come in and manufactured in-house. I have not bothered to split them into categories, but will just put them all in this section:
0569: Upright Gearbox Assembly - Back In Stock
This is the complete Norton upright gearbox top location bolt and chain adjustiment assembly. The large bolt and nut are available seperately, but we had been out of stock of the special frame adjuster for some time - which a new batch have now been manufactured.
All parts are manufactured in stainless steel and the large gearbox nut are of the M30/early Manx type, but fit all upgright gearbox models
0568: Upright Gearbox Primary Chain Adjustment Assembly- Back in Stock
We have just manufactured a new batch of these distinctive chain primary chain adjuster assemblies - and by now Steph should have contacted all those customers who were waiting for these.
These assemblies screw into the top gearbox frame lug on upright gearbox Norton models and original bolts are normally now very tired - with the threads often getting very worn, due to the gearbox moving under load, or the adjusters being turned when the top bolt is not fully loosened.
All components are manufactured in stainless steel
Upright Gearbox Adjustment Bolt - manufacturing process
These assemblies are not an easy part to make, and as the bolt has to hold a captive (lasercut stainless ) plate, I thought you might like to see a couple of photos of how we do this. First we CNC manufacture the stainless bolt in 2 parts, with the long part made as a 'stud' with threads at both ends. We also make a similar number of long Hex nuts, countersunk at one end.
We then flux along the thread length and screw on the long hex on the fluxed thread. Before braising we 'centre punch' the end of the stud, as an extra insurance against the hex moving, before then braising. Click on photos to see larger pictures
Upright Adjusters - Why Braze?
The photo on the left shows a number of the adjusters after braising - but still having the distinctive 'blackened' surface that is an after affect of the brazing flux. The main reason we braze these nuts in place (rather than TIG welding just the end of the hex head), is that once enough heat has got into the hex head/stud thread - it is possible to use the oxy-acetylene flame to get the braze to travel down the length of the thread (by directing the flame towards the inward end of the hex).
For anyone that has brazed stainless - they will know that one of the tricks is to get the heat just right, where braze flows but does not overheat. And the other issue is trying to get braze head just right - where it fills head - but does not end up down the side of the hex!
Finally, we clean all the blackness/flux off the bolt (but do not overpolish - as most important is to leave clean crisp hex), and then the bolt assembly goes back onto the CNC lathe to have the distinctive curved Norton head put on the end of the hex. Not sure how Norton's did it, but that is how we do it!.
0904_1: Norton Headrace and Bearing Sets - Girder Fork Type
We have just had a nice batch of both Girder Fork and Telescopic Fork (pre Featherbed type) head races manufactured - shown here is the frame race fitted to my 1939 Gardengate Manx frame (the 'frame' race have a hole in the centre track, to allow for greasing from the frame grease nipples.
These headrace sets are not yet listed - but should be available by first half of October and will be sold as complete frame assemblies - with 4 headrace cups and a full set of ball bearings
0904_2: Norton Headrace and Bearing Sets - Tele Fork Type
As well as the girder fork headrace kits, we can also offer similar headrace kits for Norton telescopic fork models. The tele fork headraces are different, in that the top crown race locates on the inner rind of the race, with the large shouldered nut shown in the photo above. As you can see in the photo, between the headrace and the shouldered nut, is a pressed steel cup on tele forked model, to stop ingress of dirt into the ball race. The cup type on the left is the standard roadgoing deep type, while the shallower type on the left is the Manx type - we also supply both of these
For both headrace sets, once available and listed (early October) i will update this Newsletter with links to the Item Listings
0901_1 and 0901_2 : Original Amal TT Racing Carb Jets
- Both Petrol and Alchohol Sizes
Earlier this year I was fortunate to be offered a large selection of original Amal TT Main jets - of the flat hex type as shown in the photograph above. These had been collected by a pretty serious racer in his time and the selection was very comprehensive - with a large range of both petrol and alchohol sizes duplicated (he must have had multiple bikes). I bought the whole collection and can now offer them, alongside modern Amal jets, view the listing to checkout all sizes available .. . once they are gone they are gone, as the original Amal TT/RN flat hex type are now hard to find
0901_3 -Original Amal Jets - later (non TT) Type
As well as the early 'parrallel' hex type, the same collection had a number of the later Amal original jets - these being of similar dimensions, but having a scribed part of the hex, where the jet size was written. They both work the same, but this type were normally in smaller sizes and can be fitted to many types of Amal carbs - Monoblock, concentric as well as TT/GP/RN comp carbs. Original Amal jets, and again - the item listing shows jet sizes available
0900: Norton Kneepad Screws - Stainless Steel
These petrol tank kneepad screws are identical to the original items fitted to all Norton models through 1930's to the early/mid 1930's - except we have CNC manufactured them in stainless steel. An original Inter tank screw was used as the pattern on which these are based
0900 - Replica Andre Steering Damper - Inter/M30/Pre-F'bed Manx type
An excellent example of the iconic Andre Damper as fitted to pre-Featherbed SOHC and early DOHC Inter and Manx models. This unit is UK manufactured and is supplied ready to fit
0906: Norton 'Gardengate' Frame - Plunger Spring Cover Set
We are now able to offer complete sets of Gardengate plunger spring cover sets, UK manufactured in stainless steel - with half of the set fully polished, and the other half left in dull stainless - ready for painting.
Original Norton plunger covers tend to wear badly - as they rub heavily against the springs, and many wear completely through (I have rarely found an original set that are not worn out!) - these being made of stainless steel are harder and should not wear as fast, and of course, will not rust.
0829 Norton 'Gardengate' Frame - Plunger Spring Set
And just a reminder that in Newlsetter No 30 we intriduced these replacement Gardengate plunger spring sets - which along with the new spring cover sets will offer a complete replacement kit, if your original springs and covers are both heavily worn. Original springs were used as the patterns and they are UK manufactured by a specialist spring company
0378: Norton Chaincase Stanless Steel Inspection Caps
Wehave just completed a new batch of these very pretty Norton primary chaincase inspections covers. They are in stainless steel an polished to a lovely finish . . . very much improve the drive side if your current cap is looking tired
0416 and 0865 : Exhaust Lifter and Upright Gearbox Clutch Arm Set
I mentioned last Newsletter we had a new batch of Item 0866 exhaust lifter arms and bolts for OHV Mod 18 and ES2 engines. We now have a new batch of 0416 SOHC Exhaust Lifter arms and correct reduced head bolts in stock. These are also the clutch lifter arms fitted to upright Norton gearboxs - a very popular item. we also sell most ofther Exhaust lifter parts (just search under 'Exhaust Lifter'
New Norton Spare Parts Catalogs - including rare pre-War Years
As I updated in our last Newsletter, we have been busy producing facsimile copies of Norton Spare Parts List for the last two months, and this exercise is still ongoing.
As well as re-stocking the popular 1948 Spare Parts List (still the definitive copy for most SOHC and single cylinder parts numbers used in our catalog), I have completed batch's of some of the rarer pre-war spare parts lists. As with all the catalogs we produce - an original Spare Parts List was used as the starting point, be we spend a lot of time removing any defects (oily prints, dirt, tears, yellowed paper, rust marks etc) before then re-producing them on high quality paper, on a commercial quality colour printer.
Also, because the pre-war catalogs are 'pre-exploded diagram' - i.e. they had not thought of exploded diagrams at this point - each part is individually pictured on its own in small 'A5' format, making some of the smaller parts difficult to make out any detail. To help with this - we reproduce these pre-war Spare Parts lists in larger 'A4' format and it makes all the difference - making them much easier to see every part.
If you have a Norton of a particular year (or within a couple of years of these catalogs) then these Spare Parts List can be extremely useful for determining what was original fitting for that particular year, as well as comparing those parts to other years, to see how they have changed. But actually, I personally think they are just very interesting to read in their own right. These copies may be slightly more expensive than some cheaper facsimilies found on E-Bay, but I believe we produce them to a nicer quality than most - and a lot of effort goes into making them as crisp and easy to read as possible
Catalogs still to come in following months: 1938 Spare Parts List (with possibly my favourite Art Deco cover), 1932 Spare Parts List, 1950 Spare Parts List (the only spare parts list I am aware of to detail a DOHC cambox), 1956 OHV Spare Parts List as well as more Roadholder and Post War range catalogs as time permits
0890: 1937 Norton Spare Parts Catatog
This catalog covers the very popular period of 1936-37 models and covers all single cylinder models of that period. As with all pre-war Spare Parts catalogs, it makes interesting reading - and reproduced in A4 format with good quality paper and all defects removed - it makes looking at smaler items much clearer than the original/smaller A5 format.
Worth noting, this catalog details the OHV/SV models up to end of 37 - which were then replaced by the smoother timing cover 38-48 models, I also have that catalog and will be reproducing that version shortly
0230: 1948-49 Spare Parts Catalog (A5 format)
0234: 1938/39 WD 16H Spare Parts Catalog (A4 Format)
Both these catalogs had recently gone out of stock - new batchs of both have now been completed.
The 1948 version has (to my knowledge) always been the most popular catalog for singles cylinder models - as it covers good exploded diagrams of all models - including SOHC Inter and Manx variants
The 39 WD 16H catalog is copied from an original (and now rare) pre-war catalog detailing the WD 16H model (different to cvilian model in detail), which was then in full production - Nortons being in full Ministry of Defence production at that time with the war seeming iminent
0891: 1928-29 CS1 (Walter Moore) and ES2 + Supplement
This rare catalog details the first Norton SOHC model - the cricket bat Walter Moore engine, along with the 'Sports' ES2 OHV model.
As can be seen below, both models were identified from other models (see item 0893 on the right) by having the new 'Cradle' type frame with '3 stay' rear. The catalog also shows lots of other interesting detail for these two bikes which were top of the range at the time.
Both this facsimile and the similar OHV/SV version (0893) make fascinating reading of the parts being fitted in that era (and both catalogs are now extremely hard to find). in addition, both catalogs in my possession have a rare 4 page supplement added a year or so later and normally missing.
These are supplied as a seperate push in, as per originals - but in A4 format
0893: 1928-29 OHV and SV Models (excl ES2) + Supplement
Printed originally in the same period as the CS1/ES2 catalog (0892) - this catalog covers Model 18, 19, 21 and 24 OHV models and Model 1, 2, 14 and 16H SV models. I have only ever seen this one copy of this rare catalog and it makes very interesting reading - covering the transition between 1920's OHV/SV technology, into the 1930's. As an example it is the only catalog I have seen thata shows both Druid and Webb forks together.
It also details different open frame/2-gearbox bolt type frames.
Interesting to read, even if you do not have a bike of this era. We offer a small discount if this and 0892 purchased together
Historic Tax Discs - New Years Available (and others available shortly)
An area of our catalog I have been meaning to re-visit for some time has finally had some attention, which are facsimile Tax Discs, which are supplied personalised for your own bike. Original UK tax discs were first introduced in 1921 (in black and white in the first year) - but due to the ease for these to be forged, very quickly the UK government realised that they needed a way for the police to quickly tell at a glance if a tax disc might be fake - therefore from 1923 onwards, each year the colour of the tax disc changed, and every few years the overall style of disc was also changed. It was an often quoted joke that in the early years - a Guiness bottle label placed in the car windscreen might fool a policeman!
Just like banknotes and paper currency - when you look closely at an original tax disc, you quickly appreciate how much detail there is in the design - and therefore how difficult it is to accurately replicate them. It is for this reason that I have not done more to extend our range of available years, since first starting to produce them about 6 years ago. However, for the last few months we have been working on them again - and can now offer 1947, 1948 and 1949 tax years, with additional years from the 1930's and 1920's to follow in coming months.
Each order for a tax disc will result in us providing 3 high quality printed tax discs personalised to your own motorcycle (or car) details - i.e. Make, type, cc, Registration details. We provide two additional copies - in case water gets into your tax discs on a motorcycle, so you have spare copies.
As you can see from the pictures below, they are virtually indistinguishable from the original tax disc supplied at a post office - including the surrounding border, as they would have originally been printed, and the background waternark wording just as per that original year would have been (which if you look at 95% of those other replica tax discs offered on the internet - is not actually the case). The only thing we cannot replicate is the perforation dots around the circle - but it is a simple task to cut around the circle so it fits into your tax disc.
Each tax disc faithfullyr reproduces the original of that year
0909: 1948 Tax Disc
As you can see, each tax disc as printed looks just like if you were to have bought it from the post office back in 1948, including the correct format of the surrounding area. Note that each corner represents a different UK Country
0910: 1949 Tax Disc
1949 is very pretty in yellow. When you place an order, we ask if you can supply your vehichle details (whcih we will delete immediately after printing) - we will then supply three ax discs, with your details printed on them - we supply spares in case your first one should get wet or defaced, as they were prone to do over a period of time in original tax disc holders
Other Years Available
Unlike many cheaper suppliers of tax discs on the web - ours faithfully reproduce the originals (including background watermark wording) - and take a long time produce. However other later years are also available and we are currently working on a run of years from the 1930's and then 1920's - which should start to appear in the next 3 months. They make a nice talking point on your historic bike or car
Replica Tax Discs?
I am also in the early stages of having a batch of period tax disc holders made. This particular tax disc is fitted to my Vincent Comet - and as far as I know was an original fitment Miller type on this bike (it has always bee on it since my father bought the bike in 1960!). If I go ahead I iwll have them made in brass and then offer in brass or nickel plated, as here - they are very pretty, and just right for a period tax disc
Possible Replica Tax Discs 2?
A second tax disc holder is shown here - Similar to the one fitted to my Vincent, but in this case I think of earlier 1930's vintage, and with a different style of heavy square edged bead, in blackened brass. If I do go ahead, I will probably get both styles replicated. Email us if interested
By the way - I also have a lovely early 1920's brass tax disc holder reserved for the Douglas - which I would like to consider replicating (it would probably need to be 'spun'), but unfortunately it has gone temporarily missing at the moment and I cant find it!
Douglas 2 3/4hp (350cc) Parts - or those for older motorcycles
Recent new additions to our Douglas 2 3/4hp section - but some of these parts are generic for all older motorcycles - i.e. belt drive or 1920's era. For those customers who own older single cylinder Norton motorcycles - feel free to email us on firstname.lastname@example.org if you have similar parts (i.e. Norton valve caps) you are looking for - we may consider manufacturing early Norton parts at a later date as time allows
00897: Douglas 2 3/4hp Valve Caps in Stainless Steel
As you can see from the photograph above of these new valve caps fitted to my own 1919 Douglas - these valve caps greatly improve the overall smartness of the engine, and being manufactured in stainless steel (and supplied polished) - they look similar to the original bright nickel plate.
The are available in plain type (below) or both 14mm and 18mm spark plug type. My bike is fitted with the 18mm type.
0897_1: Plain/Hollow Type Douglas Valve Caps
These are the plain (non spark plug) type valve caps, and as per the originals - have been hollowed out to save weight. Being CNC manufactured in stainless steel - they look very pretty, and the hex is the original Imperial spanner size, which is milled
As you can see - they make a stark contrast to the rather rusty 100 year old originals below - which have seen better days!
0897_2: 18mm Douglas Valve Cap
We have manufactured the spark plug type valve caps in both 14 and 18mm types - this one is the 18mm type.
It shoudl be noted that the 18mm plug is now less common than the 14mm plug - and that the Douglas type (like WD Norton 16H) used the hard to find longer reach (0.750") plug. However, as I wanted to fit this more veteran style plug - I have also obtained some modern 18mm plugs (see below) of the correct type, to go with these valve caps
0897_3 - Douglas 14mm Spark Plug Type Valve Cap
If you want the optoin to be able to fit modern 14mm long reach plugs to your veteran Douglas - then we can also offer that type of valve cap as well. We also have some spark plug accessories below, which will give a new spark plug that old style look!
Douglas 2 3/4hp - With Valve Caps and Ignition Fitted
Here is a picture of my own 1919 Douglas 2 3/4hp fitted with new valve caps, 18mm KLG spark plugs as well as our Ochre cloth HT lead and brass fittings - all available in this Newsletter.
Also in view is the original Amac carburettor and induction pipe - both still with what I believe is WW1 army paint on them - and currently being sympathetically restored to save this lovely finish. See new stainless carb mounting bolts below though, as well as belt pulley shaft nuts
Making Valve Caps
Admittedly - some of the tasks involved in manufacturing the valve caps stretched the limits of my CNC machine and needed some thought - here is an example - having milled the hex on a stainless steel billet in the previous op, I then fitted the hex into a bespoke 'soft' collet (the black bit), to which I had previously milled an internal hex shape. Because the billet was only being held in the collet by a shallow hex, I was concerned the 2nd op to turn down the billet and cut the thread may result in the billet being spat from the machine - not a nice thing to happen.
This machine does have a pneumatic rear steady - but it is meant for longer workpieces and was beyond its normal limit. . . therefore I ended up having to make a distance piece as shown here, so the workpiece could be supported fully when being machined. Click on photof above for larger version
Veteran Spark Plug Parts - For Belt Drive and Older Motorcycles
0895 Brass Spark Plug Nuts (Two styles, six variants)
I am not sure about you - but for many years I have had a curiousity for old spark plugs, and have collected a few older ones myself.
One of distinctive features of many older spark plugs - is that they often had a small brass knurled nut, to hold on the HT lead, in the days before HT Spark Plug Caps were adopted.
Having spent some time investigating - I found there were many different variations on this theme - but two distinctive patterns looked worth replicating - the type shown above - which were of the style most commonly fitted to early Champion spark plugs, but also other early plugs.
What I did find - was that over the years, various spark plug eras and manufacturers used different threads.
Therefore, if you click on the photo above - it will take you to the item listing where I provide more information and photos of the different fittings I have found so far
0895 - 'Lodge' Type Spark Plug Nut
The second style of spark plug nut I have replicated is the type shown here - which has a larger diameter knurl than the 'Champion' type as well as concave curved head - which I think makes it particularly attractive
I found this type of nut fitted to a very pretty 'New Old Stock' Lodge spark plug I have (see photo below left, so I refer to this style as the 'Lodge' type.
Again, I have made this style with different thread variants - so it can be fitted to a variety of both modern and old spark plugs.
I have even made a few with the rare 3 BA variant - which i believe was the thread used on early Mica type KLG spark plugs, of the type shown above - a similar plug being original fitment on early Douglas 2 3/4hp models
0895_8 : Brass Spark Plug Cooling Fin (and knurled nut)
As mentioned above, one of the spark plugs in my small collection is the lovely Lodge 'New Old Stock' plug shown on left in the picture above. As well as being a pretty pink colour, it has the large 'Lodge' type brass spark plug nut, it also has a very pretty and period veteran brass cooling fin fitted to the top of the ceramic.
I thought it would be nice to replicate this cooling fin - but try and make it of 'generic' design - i.e. make it so it will fit over the ceramic of most plugs - including modern plugs. The result is shown here on the right, fitted to another pink Lodge original plug - but this plug did not originally have a brass cooling fin fitted . . . but as you can see, with our cooling fin added, they both look veteran and almost indistinguishable
0895_9: Veteran Type Brass HT Lead Connectors
To go with the brass spark plug parts we now also offer these brass HT connectors, which just crimp on to HT lead.
Incidentally this photograph to show the brass HT connector also shows an original Douglas 18mm valve cap in very rough condition with an early Lodge plug - this particular plug had a larger thread than any other plug I have, and seemed so obscure I have not made any nuts to fit it yett!
0896_3 : Copper/Abestos Spark Plug Washers
We can now also supply the older style copper/abestos spark plug sealing washers in both 14mm and 18mm size - useful if you have older plugs with no washers, or to give a period look
A final picture of my Douglas fitted with new valve caps, copper washers, 18mm KLG spark ML50 spark plugs, along with Lodge type nuts and cooling fins, to which our Ochre HT lead and brass clipss are fitted - all together they give a very smart Veteran era effect
0895_1: 18mm Long Reach Plugs - KLG ML50
And to go with all these new spark plug fittings - we have managed to obtain a small batch of modern made 18mm 'Long Reach' spark plugs - of KLG ML50 type. This 'Long Reach' type are now extremely difficult to find (almost all modern 18mm plugs are of the 'short reach' type) - but these would have been originally fitted to Douglas 2 3/4hp models, if using 18mm type plugs. Therefore, if you do want to fit 'period' style 18mm plugs, but want the reliability of knowing the plug fitted is not 80 years old, this will allow you to do so!
And by the way . . .
0896_1 - KLG Spark Plug - WD Norton 16H
. . . As well as these long reach plugs being usefl for early Douglas motorcycles, I gather many early Norton singles and the WD Norton 16H were originally also fitted with 18mm Long Reach type plugs.
So here, you will see one of these modern KLG plugs fitted to a Norton WD 16H cylinder head of 1937 vintage.
I also fitted a brass Top Hat to this plug for the purposes of the photo - but you can decide if you want one of them or not - as standard, they come with just a normal HT brass 'nipple', i.e. to take a normal HT spark plug cap
1/4" Diameter (copper) Oil and Petrol Pipe Fittings
I recently had make up the oil pipe fittings for my 1919 Douglas 2 3/4hp restoration project. In so doing I ended up making batch of most of the oil pipe fittings and ferrules, including stainless steel gland nuts to this the common Oil Drip Feed unit, which I believe was fitted to other 19'teens - 1920's flat tank models. These fittings are copied from original items - or pictures/dimensions from origianls and include correct threads and imperial hex profiles (milled from stainless on some of the nuts
- I cannot be sure but would expect they may also fit other similar oil fittings (such as Best and Lloyd pumps etc) from that era. I may be adding additional petrol pipe fittings shortly and again, I may consider making other similar fittings for early Norton models if enough demand
0898: A selection of 1/4" Bore Oil Pipes and Fittings For Douglas 2 3/4hp and other Edwardian Motorcycles
You can see here the 'Hand' oil pump and 'Drip Feed' sight glass fitted to my 1919 2 3/4hp model, and under the tank, various fittings and pipes we have replicated to original patterns
0891_1 and _2: 1/4" bore Brass Pipe Ferrule/Stainless Union Nut
I could not find this early style union nut and ferrule available anywhere commercially, so ended up CNC manufacturing a batch of them - where the nuts are milled from stainless steel with correct profile as originals.
Click photo to go to the listing where thread details are available - but both 20tpi and BSP variants are available
0891_5: Douglas 2 3/4hp Oil Pipe Sets (1917 onwards)
As well as making a complete oil pipe assembly for my own bike, I made up some similar sets for other Douglas owners. These sets are complete - but will require pipes nickel plating if you do not like bare copper.
They fit the post 1917 petrol tank variant with oil regulator of the type fitted to my model above. Earlier models may use similar fittings - but pipes for the earlier regulator are a different profile
0891_7- 1/4" Bore Oil Pipe and Sets
To go with the 1/4" bore pipe fittings we can also supply good quality (UK manufactured) 1/4" bore copper oil and petrol pipe. The sets in the photograph are to make similar sets to those fitted to 1920's Douglas motorcycles, but we can also provide length's to order. Email us on our normal Sales@racingvincent.co.uk email
0891_3 and 4: Ferrules and nuts for 1/4" BSP Fittings
These nuts/ferrules allow normal 1/4" BSP petrol and oil taps to be attached to 1/4" outer diameter copper oil/pipe. These nuts are the normal commercially available plated steel type - but the brass ferrules are specially made to solder to 1/4" diameter copper pipe.
There are two types - normal conical taper fitting, and the flat ended type shown here - as fitted to early flat tank hand pumps
Early Oil and Petrol fittings
Final photograph is just to let people see the type of Oil drip feed unit that was fitted to Douglas (and other makes?) in the 1920's period.
The threads on this unit are 20 tpi, but we have also made nuts with 3/16" BSP, as fitted to oil one way valves and early petrol taps
17/64" x 25tpi Douglas Fastenings
And finally - I have recently moved on to the (sympathetic) restoration of my Douglas Amac carburettor and inlet manifold. I actually have 3 different manifolds (one of them on a spare early 1920's 2 3/4hp engine), but the two shown below I believe are both genuine early ones and possibly from ex WW1 dispatch rider bikes - as both look to have original WW1 dark green paint and the remains of orginal plating (I have found WW1 paint slightly darker than WW2 paint on real examples I have seen).
Both of these inlet manifolds have had Douglas's own 17/64" x 25 tpi (oddball!) thread with original Douglas studs fitted - the manifold with the longer studs and Amac Douglas carb came with my bike and is the one I am fitting. As it came to me - it looked like the carb had not been removed from the manifold since it was last used and was covered in oil and dirt - with the studs badly corroded, but undoubtedly original - including very corroded 'reduced head' nuts, so they did not foul the carburettor inlet shroud. Likewise the other manifold in the photo (which has a priming tap fitted and also looks early - pre 1918?) has shorter studs fitted - which also looks original, for the other type of carbs fitted.
So with these original patterns (and having invested in tooling setup for these special threads) I have been able to make some small batch's of both studs, nuts and washers to make up both types of studs and 3 types of nuts - which I can now offer in our Douglas section. The long studs particularly, vastly improve the look of the original Amac carburettor - for alhtough I have cleaned and lacqured over the original plating and WD paint .. . now the badly corroded studs have been replaced, with pretty stainless steel items, it transforms the look of that area
These items are all listed under a single 'variable item' listing - which includes a link to a Douglas forum article which lists all the known fittings that use this unusual and obsolete thread on Douglas 2 3/4hp models. If enough interest in other fastenings and originals can be supplied, I may add more to this section
0898: 17/64" x 25tpi Studs/Nuts/Washers in stainless for
Douglas 2 3/4hp Models
Douglas used there own 'special' thread sizes for numerous fittings in the earliest days, which are not impossible to find and not commercially available. Shown are two original Douglas 2 3/4hp inlet manifolds (the rear one fitted with its original Amac carburettor) with both old and new studs and nuts - our new ones in stainless steel now fitted to the manifolds
0898_1: Douglas Amac Carb - Stud and Reduced Nut Set
Shown here are 17/64" stainless steel carb studs fitted to the distinctive Amac carb often fitted to 2 3/4hp models. The nuts for this carb are 'reduced hex' type - i.e. a smaller diameter hex than you would expect for the thread diameter, so the hex does not foul the carb inlet cover.
For CNC manufacturing these - the studs are machined their full length (as an obscure diatmer) and the nuts are fully milled to give their hex in stainles steel - both look very pretty, with stainless washers
Note heavily corroded originals at lower left
0898_5/6/7 : 17/64" Stainless Steel Nut Selection
We can now offer stainless steel CNC manufactured 17/64" x 25tpi nuts for early Douglas models in 3 size fittings - on the left are (fully milled) reduced head nuts, while in the middle and right are 'standard' type (3/16" Whit spanner size) nuts in both half nut and full nut depth.
Our listing gives a link to a Douglas forum article that shows all the fittings where this unusual thread was fitted
0898_2: Douglas 2 3/4hp Short type carb studs/nuts
We have also made stud/nut sets for the carb manifold that took shorter studs. This I believe is an earlier manifold (WW1 period with original army paint?) - but I believe some of the later 2 3/4hp models also had carbs with short studs. I have included a couple of period photos of these models with different carbs fitted in the listing detail.
If you are a 2 3/4hp owner and have other fittings with this obscure thread used and want replicated - email us on normal sales email, and we may consider future batch's
Other New Early Douglas Parts
A few other Douglas parts offered this month. My own project bike is progressing well and now is about 90% complete. I will no doubt be producing a few more parts over the coming months - but unless requested have a big queue of other Norton and racing parts waiting for our CNC machine! I am looking to make some Douglas 'round headed' 5/16" engine/frame bolts in the next few weeks - the type that are secured to the frame bolts (to stop them spinning) with a small inserted pin. If anyone requires these - please email on email@example.com - it will give me an idea how many to produce
0899: 7/16" x 20tpi Douglas 2 Speed Gearbox Belt Pulley Nut
Another new fastening are these shouldered nuts to fit Douglas 2 3/4hp belt pulley shafts. I am not sure on other models, but expect similar threads may have been used on the 3-speed gearbox and those fitted to the 4HP models
0907: Douglas Inlet or Exhaust Manifold - Crushable Washers
We can now supply crushable 'copper/absestos' type manifold washers which will fit both inlet and exhaust manifolds on 2 3/4hp models (as well as EW inlet models). In this modern world - they are now mineral filled, not absestos filling . . . but still widely known as that type. Sold as bag of 4
Finally, below I have also included a listing for these rather pretty inlet/exhaust manifold nuts in stainless steel - as original, with milled slots. I have written the CNC programs for these, but not produced a commercial batch yet. If enough interest I will make a batch - please email for details
Work In Progress Update
For all below, if interested and wanting to go on our waiting list - email us on our normal email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Magnesium and Alloy Outer Timing Covers - Almost Ready
(ribbed and plain)
Since our last newsletter - these have now completed machining and as I complete this newsletter (early October 2020) I am looking to fettle/chromate/polish and have them available for late October.
The Works type magnesium covers - both plain and ribbed may be the last ones we produce as the price of magnesium alloy has risen hugely in the last 4 years since last manufactured. Email to reserve one at : email@example.com
Norton 1930s-50's 2-Piece Clutch Adjuster Cable Conical Bolt (A2/247) - and Lightened (M30) Version
We have just made a batch of the distinctive Norton clutch adjuster bolt/adjuster nut- which was an unusual conical knurled bolt with a matched adjuster nut which had the same conical profile - so they would give as much adjustment as possible. These are typically missing from restored Norton singles, as they were made from brass and suffered badly from wear - it being normal to find that if they are fitted the knurl has all but disappeared - as it has normally had a pair of pliers put round it!
As you can see here, ours have been faithfully replicated from an original Norton pattern - and if I say so myself look awfully pretty (click on thumbnail to see). And if you have a competition or SOHC Norton . . . why not go for the full BS effect and consider one of the ones below - I decided to do an additional small batch of the same bolts - but with six radial holes around the top. I doubt if Nortons ever did this themselves on racing bikes - it is a lot of faff to go to, but I was suprised how much lighter they were once this had been done and if I was an art dealer I would say 'They have been done in the style of Beart'!
Not listed yet as they need to go away with some other parts for nickel plating (as per originals) - email if wanting to reserve one of them
Alloy M30/Racing Inter Gear Lever Pedals
Yes, yes, I know these have been appearing in our Newsltetters for some time - but they have been progressing as time permits.
The first batch has now come back from broaching (creating the spline) and are now just waiting for me to slit, thread and create lcoking bolt/nuts.
Should be next two months - honestly!
1920's OHV Norton's - Valve springs and Valve Spring Cups
Some time ago we introduced the earlier type coil springs for pre-37 OHV and CS1 (early SOHC) motors - having first done some investigatory work with customers who owned earlier bikes, and also talking to a couple of other well known Norton colleagues. I thought at the time these springs would also cover the Walter Moore CS1 and late '20's OHV engines .. . . but goes to show how little I know, because another customer who bought a set of our valve springs for his 1920's OHV engine . . . told me they were different to the ones originally fitted to his!
So my apologies and thanks to that customer - as he has very kindly lent me cups and old springs he has, and I am now having both springs and (possibly) the distinctive conical type valve caps made (see drawing below)
The same customer has also loaned me a lovely 'New Old Stock' set of early 596cc valve springs - which look different again. This does suprise, as recent investigations indicated the early Model 19 probably used the same springs as Mod 18 - but I might get some of these made as well.
Final point. If you own earlier Norton singles (1910's-20's) and need consumables for the engine, and have original's as patterns - we may consider making batch's in the future, please email to discuss
Throttle Slides to fit original Amal TT, RN and GP5 carbs
We have been showing as out of stock on TT throttle slides for some time now. However, as you can see - we are in progress of making a new batch in all popular Norton (and other comp machines) slide cutaways.
These slides are not an easy part to make, requiring a special grade of brass, and many operations - before final grindng and plating . . . but are of a high final quality. For this next batch we are also looking to making some with the distinctive 'Remote Needle' attachment - as they have not been available for many years - again a fiddly thing to replicate. Still some months away - but email if you wish to reserve a particular slide size.- either for TT RN or for GP5 . . . it will give us an idea of how to split the batch by slide size.
We are also in progress of making a new batch of long bellmouths to fit SOHC Norton Amal TT/Rn's - the last batch sold out quickly, these should be available again in next 3 months. 6 weeks
Other Stuff Further Down The Line
I am aware we have other new parts still on a slow burn - above are a small batch of magnesium upright gearbox covers (the small inspection cover shown - but we have also made the M30/Manx style upright gearbox cover in both alloy and magnesium) . . . but inevitably there is only so much time and funding available . . . so these will just progress slowly in the background. Some supplliers are still being impacted by Covid, so certain items will remain out of stock for some time.
However - here are some of the parts we have on the queue for the coming months: Cheesehead screw sets (SOHC out of stock, but we also lookng at introducing for OHV engines and laydown gearbox), engine plates restock, Girder fork spindles, Competition brake/clutch levers, primary oilers, various other pressed items - and many smaller Norton engine parts that are running low on stock - although we always have new batch's in the pipeline for many of those. As always, thanks for your custom and we will try to keep busy!
Best Wishes, Paul and Steph.
Previous 2019 - 2020 Newsletters
We have been busy updating our catalog in the last 12 months. In case you had not seen our previous Newsletters - here are links to the previoius 3:
Newsletter 31 - Summer 2020: Newsletter 31
Newsletter 30 - Spring 2020: Newsletter 30
Newsletter 29 - Autumn 2019: Newsletter 29