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RacingNorton Newsletter No.33 : Spring 2021 (Part 1)

In with the new year - 2021, but Covid continues and for RacingVincent - a few other challenges:

First of all, a belated Happy New Year to everyone (it is currently mid Feb as I wite this .. . but as is so often the case, I started putting it together soon after Xmas), and I think few of realised almost a year ago when Covid first appeared - that we would still be suffering with it to such a degree even now. So, more than anything else, I hope that you and your families have kept safe, and if like us in the UK, you are still in lockdown - then your workshop and bike projects have helped a little bit to keep you sane!

From our own (family) perspective, like everyone we have had some impact and have had adapt ou lifestyle to fit around a continued Tier 3 Lockdown in the Leicestershire area of the UK, but Steph and I have fortunately been able to keep the business going - and actually October through to January were very busy.

Less fortunately, sometime in December I experienced some serious issues with the mechanicals and anciliaries on my own main CNC machine - which have serously curtailed my own manufacturing until just recently. Even with that I cannot really complain, as the Emco CNC lathe/mill I have has ran every week for the last 4 years with almost no issues - but when they do occur, the sheer complexity of the machine - added to the cost of engineers and Covid, has meant me having to do the maority of investigation and resolution myself, at the expense of all that time being lost from actually making anything I can sell!

I do not mind admitting - when I was starting to feel like the complexity of the issue was getting to the limit of my patience and capabilities . . . i was thinking how great it would be to just go into my local CNC showroom and buy a new one off the shelf (the current version of my old thing is a snip at just circa £60k!), but I persevered and am plleased to say that - for the moment - it is fixed, and luckily other than the time and effort, did not cost as much as it could have.

So, since the end of January, we have been back operational on our own CNC and chomping our way through the backlog. And since our last Newsletter - we have also had a number of new parts and restocked batch's from our other trusted manufacturers and suppliers, which are covered below.

compressor Issues
Lets Start With Compressor Issues . . .
Equipment issues started in December when my 4 piston 'Quiet' CNC compressor decided to shed one of its Clack valves - and left much of it in the head area and impregnated into the piston. I did fit a repair kit, but eventually had to concede and bought a complete replacement twin piston motor to replace this one over the Xmas period.

Unfortunately only a week of resumed CNC operation went by before . . .

Emco Issues
. . . it was Followed Up By CNC Issues
No sooner was the compressor back operational - than a more serious issue manifested itself - this time the Emco CNC went belly up while milling cheesehead screw slots.
This issue took most of January to fix - at this point I have the main spindle covers off and am clambering all over the machine to work out what the issue was - mechanicals, pneumatics or electronics.
Click on thumbnail for a bigger picture - but inset is a closeup of the rather complex pneumatic valve board (with electric senders on each valve) - a rather daunting to task to learn about how they operated, then test those likely to be at fault.

It took 3 weeks to get to the root of the issue, but ultimately I was able to fix it myself, without needing an engineer on-site. I even did a write up on YouTube - as I know a few of these machines are still in use and the issue was not that obvious:

Emco CNC C-Axis Error

Other Project Bikes - progress since last Newsletter.
I am still pottering away at the 1919 Douglas at the weekends - and have just finished making a full set of cables using 'New Old Stock' cloth covered lightweight cables I have been holding back for a few years. As with many old stock new cables - some of the braided inner cables, although not suffering from being oil clogged, were heavily corroded and would not take 'tinning', no matter what I did to clean them beforehand.

For a couple of cables, eventually I had to resort to Silver Soldering .. . something I have never had to do in the past, but having done so - I do not think there is much chance of those ones shedding their nipples in a hurry.
As with no so many things I have done on the Douglas, the task of keeping the period touches gives great satisfaction, even down to finding a couple of period brass cable adjusters to fit - for some extra bling!, and actually I am now at grave risk of having it ready to take to the road in the next 3 months - famous last words!

However, the good news is - since the last Newsletter in November, I have made a few more small batch's of hard to find Douglas and Edwardian motorcyle items - as well as finding a manufacturer of excellent period toolbox's (which I mention later in the Newsletter), and as is par for the course in the format of these Newsletters, those parts are covered in their own Douglas section below (or in Part 2 of this Newsletter, as i am now splitting it up - as at risk of never getting anything published!).

Douglas Outside
Drive Side Looking a Bit More Complete Now
As well as all cables now being in place, - a lot of smaller tasks have been done, and I will try and show some of these in future restoration articles. This model of 2 3/4hp is the classic 2 - Speed model without clutch (as per the pre WW1 race bikes), with a chain going from the engine to the small 'crash' gearbox, and from there, belt drive to the rear wheel


Douglas Outsdie
Douglas Having Mudguards Fitted
As well as completing the cabling, the Winter period has allowed me to fabricate the mudguards and fittings - which are loosely assembled here, but will be pulled off shortly, to allow me to 2-Pack paint these and a few other smaller parts, before final fitment (click on thumbnail for larger picture)


New Parts and General Progress on Work In Progress Parts

Since the last Newsletter in October we have been doing a major 'spring clean' of the catalog. This is not complete yet, but the Gasket Section and Fastener sections have been properly sorted and given a more logical structure. I have also tried to add numerous small parts which we have been trying to list, and replaced the catalog pictures and descriptions on many of our older items.

There is still a lot of work to do on this - but hopefully (as you will see from clicking on the photo links below), that some parts of the catalog look quite different.


Most of the 'Parts in Progress' touched on in the last Newsletter have moved on to some degree - although a few have been affected by Covid issues with some of my manufacturing partners. But that said - I am pleased to say we have now completed the first batch of Upright racing gearbox gearlevers (copied from an original item that came with a genuine Manx upright gearbox many years ago) - and these are covered below.


There will be more parts to follow in the coming months - Girder fork spindles, girder and chassis fastenings, OHV barrel studs to name some shortly to be made, as well as further re-stocks, which we cover in next Nexsletter


(final point 10/4/21 - I have been trying to get this Newsletter completed for the last few weeks, but as I am doing it, more new parts or re-stocks are being added, so I have decided to break it into 2 parts, this being the first part, with the remainder to follow shortly afterwards - therefore there are a few more updates to those shown here)

Best wishes and continue to keep well

Paul (and Steph) Norman

March 2021

New And Re-Stocked Products - Since Our Last Newsletter

Click on any photo to see a larger version, or link to catalog listing

Norton OHV & Side Valve Parts, and Yes - some SOHC Parts as Well! - New and In Progress

Since the last newsletter in November we have introduced a large selection of new gaskets - particularly those to fit Norton OHV and Side Valve models. We have also re-stocked on some of those SOHC, gearbox and carb gaskets we have previously listed but were running low on. We did this as part of conversations with one of our well established, specialist gasket manufacturers - who we have had a relationship with for many years - and I think the quality of their products is excellent.
And as part of the process of selecting the correct gaskets for Norton OHV and Side Valve models - I dug out from one of my storage sheds many original engines, gearboxs and castings I still have for these models - some of them pretty much untouched since having been bought by my father (or myself!) in the 1960's/70's. Although I do not have a built up complete OHV or SV machine myself any more, I have owned and raced quite a few over the years - and knew keeping hold of some of my old spares would always be useful for testing any new parts we make in the future.

I still have a few gaskets I would like to add to the range - notably the rubber pushrod seal that fitted in the rockerbox of the 38-47 OHV engine, but if you have any that you cannot find available and have a rough original you want to share with me - then let us know on sales@racingvincent.co.uk

As a final point on gaskets - I have tried to clean up and organise the Gaskets section on our Online Catalog - which is now arranged in some kind of order by sub-type, but I will be cleaning out all the additional ''fastenings' that currently also sit in that section, and give them their own category - just need to find the time!

OHV and Side Valve engine parts
First of All - A couple of days spent sorting SV and OHV Parts
As part of the process of listing the new gaskets we have stocked in the last 3 months - I spent a couple of days organising some of my stock of OHV and Side Valve engine parts - so that I could photograph the gaskets with the correct engine, gearbox . .. or whatever part.
As you can see there is a rather rather varied collection - mainly from late 1930's to late 1950's - but it was also useful to remind myself what I have, as many of the smaller parts will be useful for future patterns

Gearbox Adjuster Bolts

Barrels lined up (not linered up . . . Fnnarr) for inspection
I hope the picture above gives a good indication why I thought it might be useful to do this exercise

I have photographed here the lineage of Noton OHV barrels from 1938 to 59 - showing subtle small differences between them.

Then wherever possible in the gasket listings, I have tried to include these photogaphs with a bit of background information of what was fitted where.
Having spent a day or so photographing different things - even I found a couple of things I had not realised before!

Selection of smaller OHV and SV parts

Other Possible Parts for the Future
As you can, as part of digging out the OHV/SV castings, I also pulled out numerous internal engine parts from both the 39-47 and 48-59 type OHV engines, I also have a handful of pats from early '30's OHV engines - i.e. the head bolts in the lower left. Some of these parts I am intending for us to manufacture in the next 12 months - in fact I already have the high tensile stainless bar in stock for making a batch of barrel studs in various lengths - as per the lower right of the photo.

Top left of the tray are numerous 30's/40's cam follower arms - which were very susceptable to snapping (I made titanium versions when racing these engines in the 80's). Now very hard to find - so may consider a future batch of them and the associated long pushrods and adjusters in the future..

Alloy Trials Mofrl 18 OHV Head

But surely they did not make that head?!
I could not resist including this picture of one of my rarer OHV trinkets. It is a 1939-47 type Model 18/ES2 cylinder head . . . but is an alloy (steel skulled) version - which most people will tell you Norton's never made! I was fortunate to spot it 25 years ago at an autoumble with a load of KTT cylinder heads, and not suprisingly - the autojumbler had no idea what it was from.

I believe that Norton's made a couple of them for special ISDT machines, but have never seen a clear photo of one fitted. Unfortunately condition is not brilliant - but is repairable and the idea was originally to fit to my race bike in the 1980's, but did not want to butcher the inlet tract, so saved it with the view to one day build a late '30's Trials engine with the parts here.

Norton Gearboxs
Norton Gearbox Parts - Sorting Some Original Box's for Patterns
From the same storage location I also sorted a few varied original gearbox's for newparts currently in progress, or to follow shortly - see below.
Amongst them was this nice straight Norton Laydown gearbox, which is from an ES2. . . . and I remember it being in my fathers workshop untouched since (approx) the 1960's - so it has been a rich source of original fittings!

New OHV and Side Valve Gaskets (as well as many other new and restocked gaskets)

1948-55 Aluminium Head Gasket
0919: 1948-55 OHV Cylinder Head Gasket (Aluminium)
We are now able to supply many of the gaskets for one of the most popular types of Norton singles - the 1948 to 55 type OHV engine, as shown here. We have also tried to give additional information in the text for many of the gaskets we have added - either background fitting notes, or pictures of the original gaskets in the correct year of 'Spare Parts List' to help you identify the gasktet if you are unsure if it is correct for your engine

Head Gasket OHV
0920 and 0921
: 1956-59 OHV Head Gasket
Similar to 0919 we are now able to supply the 500cc (0920) and 350cc (0921) alloy head gaskets for the later 1956 - 59 type engines.

This is a good example of where we have spent some time trying to show the gaskets against the correct part - because although very similar, the 1956 onwards ES2 barrel is slightly different in design to the earlier 48-55 type and therefore head gaskets are also specific for each type

Email us on sales@racingvincent.co.uk if you have a specific single cylinder gasket requirement you cannot see in the catalog - and we will help if we can

Norton Single Base Gasket
0917: Norton SOHC and OHV Base Gasket
Although previoiusly offering a brown paper gasket - we have added this oil resistent type which was of the type fitted to OHV engines from 38 onwards, but also the SOHC models pre -war. As you can see it has a selection of holes to suit most of the variations for cylinder oiling that different models and years had - of which there were many!

16H Head Gasket
0925 (and others) - Norton Side Valve Head Gaskets and other Side Valve Gaskets

We have also tried to cater for the Norton side valve engine, by introducing a selection of gaskets to fit the 3 main variants manufactured from 30's-50's (the pre-38 and WD engine, shown here, the civilian 38-47 model and the last SV 48-55 type.
There is now a SV section of the Gaskets sub-catalog, following on from he OHV section

Norton OHV Oil Block Gaskets
0915: 1950-59 Type Oil PipeUnion Gasket (OHV and Side valve)
As you can see from the photo - partway through the 48-55 type engines life Norton changed the engine oil pipe connectors to this single union block - we can now supply the gasket for. However, see below - we have also just manufactured a batch of the distinctive Norton type brass union glands that were used for oil pipe fitting prior to this block union

Norton OHV Pushrod Seal Sets
0922 1948-55 OHV Pushrod Seal Set (and 56-59 type)

And of course - we are now able to offer both the pushrod seal set and tappet cover gaskets for both the 1948 -- 55 OHV engine as well as the later 56-59 OHV engines (which had shorter and recessed pushrod tubes)

16H Barrel Gaskets

0927 and others : Norton 38-47 Engine Type Gaskets
Gaskets for the 1938 - 47 type engines have never been very common (and I have given an update below on the pushrod seals for the OHV model of this engine type, which incidentally, did not use a head gasket as standard), but this is the base barrel gasket as fitted to the 38-47 SV 16H (Civilian) model,
We can also now offer the tappet cover gasket for the same model

New Gskets Section
0923 - and numerous other small seals and washers

As well as the bigger gaskets, we have also expanced our range of some of the smaller and more obscure seals and washers (both copper and red fibre shown here), many of which are non standard sizes. These are the washers fitted to the rear of 48-59 type rocker spindles

16H Barrel Gaskets

1005 38-47 Bottom Pushrod Seals - and Top Seals in the Future
We have had a batch of the unusual 1938-47 type thick fibre washer seals specially manufacutred for us - click on picture above to see these.
We are also talking to our main rubber manufacturer about the patterns made to make the distinctive top rubber pushrod seal for this same 38-47 engine - now a very hard seal to find. We have sent them our one and only 'New Old Stock' item to look at. Hopefully we will have an update soon
1938-47 Top Pushrod Seal

Original Gaskets
Gaskets and More Gaskets!

As part of the work done on intrducing new gaskets, I also went on the hunt for some of my old original replacement gasket sets (some have sat in my workshop drawers for 30 years or so!) - to help confirm some of the more obscure types.
The brown envelope in the bottom left corner is I think an original Norton gasket set for the late 1930's OHV engine - not a common gasket set to find!


As you can see in the picture below - as well as stocking the gaskets themselves, we have tried to include additioinal photos and information where it may be useful to owners in confirming model differences
OHV Tappet Covers

Other New Norton OHV and Side Valve Parts

OHV/SV Oil Pipe Unions
0248E : Original Type (pre 1950) OHV/SV Engine Pipe Unions
Very similar in their pattern to other brass Norton unions we have manufactured - we can now offer these engine pipe unons, as fitted to all pre-1950 crankcases. These always get covered in road dirt and oil and tend to get chewed when trying to remove, so if yours are chewed - these are a nice replacement and have been CNC manufactured to the exact profile of original items.
It is worth noting that Norton's themselves moved to a one-piece junction in 1950, so worth checking your engine type first if around that era

Lucas Wiring Harnesses

0944 : Lucas Featherbed Single Wiring Harness

Another nice quality wiring harness from the Lucas Classic range - I am very impressed with the quality of these kits - particuarly as I was considering going to all the time and expense of making them myself some years ago.

We have now added this Featherbed version to our range, and although I have listed it in the OHV section - it should also fit the SOHC Featherbed Inter models if you have one of those

OHV/SV Bigend Quills

0964 - OHV and Side Valve Big End Quil - 1938-1959 Type

We have now had a batch of the later postwar OHV/SV BigEnd quills CNC manufactured in high quality Cosbro bronze.
Just like the earlier SOHC and pre-war OHV type we also manufacture - originals of this quill are often badly worn, or if you are building a new engine - you can never find one! . . . so hopefully this useful item will help you with that. As always, an original item used as a pattern (and a shout out to Mike Pemberton for kindly lending me one - as even I could not find one in my OHV parts bin any more!)

OHV/SV Quill Spring

0988 OHV/SV BigEnd Quill Spring

to go with the quill shown on the left, we have also had the correct 1939 onwards Big End Quill spring manufactured.
It is worth noting that if you own a pre 1939 OHV/SV engine, these use the same design as the SOHC engine, and we also list those quills and springs in both the SOHC and OHV/SV catalog sections

Pre-War Type Magneto Chain
0802 and 0985 - Magneto Chain for Pre-War OHV/SV Engines
We have finally had a new stock of magneto chains come in from Renolds (who were impacted by Covid). As well as re-stocking on pre-38 type OHV/SV mag chains (0802) we have introduced the slightly longer chain (0985) for 1939 Onwards engines - see OHV section for both

1948-59 OHV and SV Magneto Chain

0985 : Magneto Chain - 1939 - 59 Type Engines

Another view of 0985 - which is the longer length magneto chain fitted from 1939 onwards - in this photo shown against the popular 1948 - 59 type engine (but should fit all OHV and SV engines post-war.
We also have our SOHC length mag chain back in stock in the SOHC Timing Case section

Pre 32 500 OHV Coil Springs

0966 - Pre-32 OHV and Walter Moore CS1 Valve Springs
We have recently expanded our range of coil valve springs to include the 1920s-32 type 500 valve spring, fitted to OHV and the Walter Moore type CS1 engine - now very hard to find and different to later coils springs - see note below
I am very grateful to a customer who lent me an original set as patterns

596cc Early OHV Springs

0967 : Pre-32 596cc Coil Valve Springs

The same customer that lent me the CS1/early OHV 500 valve springs also had this 'time warp' set of early 'New Old Stock' 596cc OHV valve springs - which (contrary to some peoples view - including my own!) were different again, so we also took the opportunity to have this type made.

See note below

All Coil Springs

Norton Coil Valve Springs - Overall Update
As most SOHC customers know - we have offered the two most popular type of Hairpin valve springs for many years (Inter and SOHC Manx Type), but have slowly been expanding our range of Norton single cylinder coil valve springs.

I would fully admit, I was originally of the opinion that pre-war Arthur Carroll CS1 type engines all used the same type of valve spirng - but talking to some knowledgable customers and fellow Norton enthusiasts - there definitely seems to have been a change of cups and spring lengths sometime around 1932, and Terry's did list numerous reference numbers around this time - although opinion is still that some of those are the same spring with a different number!. As you can see above, we now offer 5 different type of coil springs to cover most single cylinder engines from the 1930's-50's, but if you have a different type or just want to enquire - email us on our normal sales@racingvincent.co.uk email

Early Type Valve Caps

Early Type Valve Cups -

And in the last Newsletter I mentioned that as part of having the early coil springs made - the same customer had very kindly also lent me a pair of hte distinctive 1920's type valve caps (as used on early Model 18 and Walter Moore CS1 engines. Well since that time I have got the raw material in, but due to the CNC issues above - have not had time to manufacture a batch of these yet (and as you can see, they are a bit more complex than the later type). So if you are interestted in a set of these early type top/bottom cups, then let us know (on email on the left) and it willl allow us to gauge interest

Nortin ES2 Pistons

Norton (JP) ES2 Pistons - All Sizes Back In Stock
As we had been showing out of stock on some of our stocked sizes - I wanted to let customers know we have just received a small batch of JP ES2 pistons in, and for the moment anyway - all bore sizes are now back in stock. If you are intending to fit one of these in the near future - do not leave it too long as we only have limited numbers this time and are not likely to have others available for some time in to the future.

Norton Model 50 Pistons

0965 - Norton OHV Model 50 Piston

Again, with only limited stock available at the moment - we have stocked a couple of these OHV Model 50 pistons from Australian JP Piston manufacturer. With Covid and import costs rising alarmingly in the last 12 months, we may be able to get future stocks - but prices will no doubt continue to rise as well
For 350cc Model 40 SOHC pistons - see update below

Nortin 1948-55 Cam Bearings

0937 - Original Norton - 'New Old Stock' 48-55 Cam Bearing Sets
This is definitely a case of 'once they are gone - they are gone!',
these are complete sets of 4 OHV 1948-55 type cam bearings, that have sat in a customers drawer since the 1960's, when he purchased them from an old Norton dealer closing down. We only have a few sets - but they are probably the last unused original Norton bearings still available!
By the way, the bore is slightly undersie on these bearings - so that Norton's intended them to be reamered to the final size once fitted.

48-55 Timing Cvoer Bearings

0938 - Norton OHV 48-55 Timing Cover Bearings

From the same source as the 0937 bearings on the left - there were also some additional camshaft bearings of the type fitted to the outer timing cover. For some people this may suit better - because these bearings often wear badly against the thrust face . . . but the inner timing cover is much easier to replace the cam bearings, than having to replace all 4 - which means splitting the crankcases. Again, only a few sets available

Norton SOHC - New or Restocked Parts

We have continued to re-stock on those most popular SOHC engine parts, just some are shown here, along with a couple of new parts

SOHC Magnesium Timing Cvoers
0322 and 0320 : Magnesium Timing Covers - Back In Stock
Back in December we had back im stock a new batch of our 'Works' SOHC type magnesium outer timing covers - in both the 'Ribbed' (Works 36/37 type) and later 'Smooth' type (Works 38 onwards).
I am sorry to say that the price of casting magnesium alloy has gone through the roof since we last had a batch cast some years ago - but they are a very nice and an unusual addition if you have a competition SOHC bike - particularly as only a handful of the genuine Works magnesium ones were ever made.
By the way, we also have magnesium and aluminium inner timing cases for SOHC engines available

Alloy Timing Covers
0319 and 0321: Alloy Smooth and Ribbed Outer Timing Covers

To go with the re-stocking of hte magnesium Outer Timing Covers, we have also had a new batch of both alloy types made - both smooth and ribbed (the pre-1939 type is shown here.
These are now polished and back on sale in our Timing Case Section, along with nice quality Rev Clock Drivess and cables
By the way - I am currently looking at the tooling needed to make pre-war style rubber covered speedo and rev clock cables - using our own CNC made stainless ferrules. Email on sales@racingvincent.co.uk for details

Norton SOHC 350 Pistons
Norton SOHC 350cc (Hepolite) Pistons? - Poaaibly - Read Below
In the last couple of years I have had customers enquiring if I can provide forged slipper pistons for SOHC 350 engines - I am very sorry, I cannot . .. . I have enquired with my current forged 500cc piston makers (Omega), but the setup cost for a new 'blank' and minimum order quantity - just outweights the number of 350cc pistons I think would sell in the next 5 years.
However, I have spent some time looking for alternatves. We do now offer a Model 50 (OHV) type piston in small quantities, but they have different height dimensions to the most commonly found SOHC version.
However, as you can see from the photograph - I have talked to the people that now own the Hepolite brand and having gone through their available piston range I have found one piston (originally intended for a British twin of the 50's/60's) that very closely match's the low compression SOHC 350 road piston shown above.
But here are the limitations -
1. Pistons cast, not forged - their design looks very similar to Hepolite 1950's design with full skirts and milled slot under the ringland.

2. They are only available in two 350cc Bore sizes - STD and +20 thou

3. The Gudgeon pin diameter is fractionally smaller than the standard Norton 0.875" diameter. So as part of supplying these I would need to offer a new (slightly thicker) Little End. However they are relatively light, so the overall weight of Piston and Little End should be comparable to originals

4.As manufactured by Hepolite, they have the correct crown to gudgeon pin height (the difficult dimension to find), but the valve cutaways are not big enough for 350cc SOHC engines - therefore these would either need to be machined by the customer (or myself by special order).

However, with all that said and done - as other suitable 350 SOHC pistons do not seem commonly available - email us if you require more details - if enough interest I may look to commison a small batch with correct cutaways, and CNC manufacture suitable SOHC Little Ends

Bigend and Cambox Quills
BigEnd (0080) and Cambox (0066 and 0067) Quills

We have just had a new batch in of SOHC (and pre-war type OHV/SV) Big End Quill, manufacutred in best quality Cosbro bronze.
To go with these we have also had a new batch of cambox quills for both Racing Inter/Manx (central oilfeed) and Featherbed Inter camboxs

Incidentally on the subject of pre-war Quills - although we already manufacture the pretty Hex nut in stainless for the BigEnd SOHC quills, we will shortly be making a batch of the round headed (with screwdriver slot) type nuts fitted to OHV/SV models. Email for availability


Bearing Update - Original 'C3' Type (RHP) bearing availability


As many of you know - in the time we have been offering SOHC and other Norton parts (over 15 now),**** the availabilvity of original Norton specifciaton 'C3' bearings - normally manufactured by RHP or their predecessor Hoffmanhas become inscreasingly scarce, as most types have been obsolet for some years ****we have spent some considerable time trying to seach out the original 'RHP brand SOHC bearings - many of them in the looser 'C3' tolerance fit that Norton commonly adopted. Howver, as the majority of these have been obsolete now for many years - any available stocks have become increasingly difficult to find - and the prices of those I can get hold of have risen horrendously in the last 10 years. I do not mind admitting . . . added to that I also need to add my margin, but hope you will understand I spend a considerable time and money trying to hunt them down - often requiring large outlays to make it worthwhile.
Well I am sorry to say that we now seem to have reached the postion where some of the most difficult to procure of these bearings can no longer be found in the most ideal format - i.e. manufactured by RHP or a simialr brand and in the 'C3' tolerance. However, we have just investd a sizeable chunk of whatever money we have availabile to purchase a new batch of whatever bearings we can get hold of - many of those may be the last ot their type we can offer. You will see the prices of some have risen hugely since last time .. . but all I can tell you is : that reflects the prices I am having to pay, our margin remains the same, I hope you would agree - it is better to at least have these ones made available to you than none at all.

For the future - we have talked to RHP, but there minimum order quanitites are pohibitive for us, we will continue to find what we can - but once gone it seems likely we will need to offer a combination of non-C3 or cheaper brand alternatives - if they are available. See a summary updae of new stocks below:

Spark Plug Parts
SOHC Roller Main Bearing (Drive Side) - 0019 and 0019B
Possibly the most important bearing - and difficult to find (other than the twin row Bevel drive bearing - which we still have!), is the drive side roller bearing - which was originally a 'C3' looser tolerance bearing - as per all Norton main bearings. We went out of stock of the original RHP C3 brand of this bearing about 6 months ago. We continue to list them as a special order - as I can source a few .. .. but expect a retail price of approx £250 each!

However, all is not lost - we have managed to source a new batch of the same high qualtiy RHP brand roller bearings - just in a 'Std' (i.e. non-C3) tolerance. It will be up to each customer to decide if they are ok to fit these - arguably they just need a little bit longer to run in (and one very learned Norton person has pointed out to me, that C3 were only originally fitted because of the required 'interference' fit of most crankcase Mains journals - and as the crankcase journals have had successive bearing changes - so this interference fit has reduced, therefore negating the importance of C3.

Whatever - at least for the moment we have original RHP Lipped Rollers (non-C£) main bearing back in stock again - even if the price is not cheap!

OHV and SV Bearings

- OHV/SV and Other SOHC Main Bearings

For the mment anyway, we have also managed to obtain small batch's of all the other SOHC (and OH/VSV) bearings in following configurations - although some of these are still to be delivered :

OHV/SV Roller Main Bearing - Waiting delivery of RHP small re-stock

OHV/SV Ball Main Bearing - Waiting delivery of RHP small re-stock
(pictured above)

SOHC Inter/SOHC Manx - Drive Side Ball: RHP (C3) still available
SOHC Inter- Timing Side Ball: RHP (C3) still available

SOHC Manx - Timing Side Twin Ball: SKF(C3) still available

Cambox Bearings (3 types used) - small re-stock of all types in

RHP brand just completed

Click photo above to see our updated bearing section with options available of these and other bearings


Stainless Steel Cheesehead Sets - SOHC (Back in Stock), OHV and Gearbox Types

Our bar-turned SOHC engine cheesehead screw sets have proved popular over the years - but have been out of stock for some months - with Steph nagging me, when will we be making a new batch??! Well, the CNC issues in Dec/Jan had delayed us, but I am pleased to say these are now back in stock - see the picture and link below.
However, this time I also wanted to expand the range to include those for the most popular OHV/SV models and also post-war Norton gearbox types, which all had different lengths and variations, and in the case of gearbox cheeseheads, a slightly different head pattern.
3 months on from starting - I have cheeseheads coming out of my ears .. . and have written so many new CNC programs to cover the different variations, I have now had to stop for a break, before I start counting them in my sleep! Unfortunately - I have not got to the 1948 - 55 OHV type yet, but see below some of the types now available, and if you do want a set of the 48-55 OHV/SV type, email us on sales@racingvincent.co.uk and it will give me a view on demand.

It is worth saying, for all the types introduced this time round - original Norton cheeseheads were used - many taken directly from our own spares collectiion, with some coming from parts we acquired in the 1960's or 70's (my father before me), and common head patterns evolve - but with numerous lengths and shoulders. Each have been faithfully reproduced, but in bar turned stainless steel with milled cheesehead slots. In the case of engine sets, all come with our high quality red fibre washers, which were originally fitted on most engine covers

Norton SOHC Cheesehead Sets

0091: Complete SOHC Cheesehead Screw Set
Back in stock again - these screw sets fit all 30/40/CS1/CSJ and pre-Featherbed models.
The set includes bevel and mag chain covers, crankcase sump, SOHC cambox front and cambox rear

Norton SOHC Cheesehed Sets

1938-47 Cheesehead Screw Sets

1938 - 1947 OHV (and Side Valve) Cheesehead Sets

So for the moment, our first complete OHV Cheesehead set are those for the 1938-47 type model shown here. We have split them into two seperate sets - as the main crankcase set were also shared with the Side Valve variant - so SV owners can by them seperately

It is worth noting that the 31-37 OHV/SV crankcase shared the same cheeseheads, other than the magneto chain cover (2 screws rather than 3 shown here), so although I have not made up sets specifically for that engine variant yet - may be able to help if you email us

OHV/SV Timing Case Cheesehead Set

Item 1000: 1938-47 OHV and SV Crankcase Cheesehead Screw Set
This set will fit both OHV and Side Valve 38-47 models and includes timing case screws, crankcase screw, inner mag chain area countersunk screws and mag chain covers screws + fibre washers

Closeup of Timing Case

Rockerbox Cheesehead Sets

Item 1001: 1938 - 1947 OHV Rockerbox Cheesehead Sets

This set comprises the screws for the main rockerbox cover + fibre washers, and the particularly long cheesehead screws and washers that were fitted to the Tappet Cover . . . I use race this type of engines and well remember the pain of trying to put the screws back on in a hurry - when you could not find the corresponding thread hole at the back of the rockerbox!
By the way - although the pressed steel tappet cover looks the same as the later 48-55 type, the spacing for the screws is different.

Measuring the tappet cover screws shown here - they are the longest cheesehead screws I have found used on Norton models (I am sure there is someone out there will prove me wrong!) - and because of that required a bit more thought to make them - so also listed seperately as Item 1002, if your originals of these are chewed

1931-37 OHV Rockerbox Cover?
I do not have a pattern for the earlier 1931-37 Tappet Cover Casting (which was an oval single piece casting), but if anyone has one with an original cheesehead screw in-situ, I would be pleased to hear from you, to confirm if they are the same type as used on this rockerbox - original Spare Parts list's do not make it clear - but I suspect they are!

Inner Timing Case Countersunk Screws

Item 1004: 1931-47 OHV and SV Countersunk Magneto Chain
Cavity Screws (Pair)

Whenever I strip an original OHV or SV engine down, I invariably find these countersunk screws are chewed (or just missing!), and they are always difficult to find if building a new motor.
As part of making them for the cheesehead sets, we made a much bigger batch of these - so they could be sold seperately.
they are to the original pattern - and although they do not need to be - they are in stainless steel .. . as that is mainly what we manufacture in!
You can see from this original casting - the normal practice for retaining these was centre punch the casting adjacent to the screwdriver slot - which is why so many of them get chewed trying to remove them!

Gearbox Inspection Cover Screws
Item 1003 - 1948 - 1949 Gearbox Inspection Cover Screws (Pair)

Moving on to gearbox screws - this post-war upright gearbox cover (which followed the first post war type that had a circular cover), was only made for about 2 years, before the introduction of the Laydown type.
Unfortunately I no longer have a loose inspection cover - but did have an original screw and main cover! These screws are specific to this model and smaller thread than most Norton Cheeseheads. Sold seperately as a pair here.

47-49 Gearbox Cover Set

Item 0995: 1948-49 Upright Gearbox Cheesehead Screw/nut Set
And here we have the complete upright type cover screw and nut set, which consists of the main cover screws (with flatter head profile than engine cheesehead scrws), the inspection cover screws, and hex nut for the bottom stud. I vaguely remember that this nut alwasy used to run very close to the exhaust pipe - when I had a road bike with this type of gearbox cover

Laydown Gearbox Cheesehead Sets

Item 0996:- 195-57 - Laydown Gearbox Cover Screw/Nut Set

This set is a set we have been meaning to make for sometime - and hopefully you will agree, will much improve the look of your restoration if you have this type of gearbox fitted (which was used on all roadgoing singles and twins until the introduction of the AMC type gearbox, as well as the Featherbed Manx models.
The set consists of correct headshape covers screws, smaller inspection cover screws, bottom Norton blind gearbox nuts (which are of the type we sell for pre-war upright gearbox and look very pretty) with special spring washers, and finally the Filler Level Plug fitted to this type of engine.
Below shows close up of head shape used on this type of gearbox
Gearbox Cheesehead Sets

47-49 Gearbox Cover Set

Item 0997: Laydown Norton Gearbox Oil Filler Level Plug
And although not a cheesehead - we made a larger batch of this distinctive filler plug - because we wanted to include it as part of the Laydown gearbox cover screw set - but also because so many original screws get chewed - they are awkward to get to and often get locked up. Click on the photo to take you to the listing and read the background to these distinctive plugs
only fitted to this type of gearbox

An Old Friend Is Selling Some Norton Parts

An old friend of mine (and someone I occasioinaly used to passenger for!) - Steve Allen, isi selling some of his Norton single parts - and he has a website you can visit if you would like to contact him. I said I would give some details here so our customers can get an early look first:

Old Norton Parts

Old Norton Parts (.oldnortonparts.co.uk) is a personal web site where I am posting a variety of  motorcycle spares and parts, mainly from pre-1950 Norton singles, owned by my late father Titch Allen. 

These are predominantly from my father’s extensive store of parts collected over his lifetime.  Sadly, when he passed away, I was not able to save the majority of stuff which went to auto-jumble or scrap, however, I did retain anything that looked vaguely Norton-like which I thought might be useful when maintaining my own ES2 Nortons.  I now find myself sifting through boxes to see what I have and disposing of items that I now realise are surplus to requirements.  As a general rule I try to offer items in a clean, complete and working state, albeit used condition. 

Obviously much of what I have is incomplete or just parts.  If you don’t see what you are looking for, please email me at sales@oldnortonparts.co.uk, I may have what you need just not yet found it or got around to cleaning it up and posting on the web site.  I am also offering these items on Ebay but would prefer to deal direct.  Please note that this is not an inexhaustible supply, as they say at Lidls, “When its gone its gone”.

Steve Allen

Old Norton Parts Website

Click on Picture to visit Steve's website

Douglas 2 3/4hp (350cc) Parts - or those for older Belt Drive and 1920's motorcycles

Just a few parts added to the Douglas section this Newsletter (as my own restoration project gets closer to completion - a couple of these covered here and a couple more will appear in Part 2 of this Spring 2021 update

Douglas Valve Lifter Bolt Douglas Exhaust Lifter Springs
0975 Douglas 2 3/4hp Exhaust Lifter Timing Case Plunger Box and Spring
This special hex head fine threaded plunger box bolt is particular to early Douglas models, and as can be seen from the photograph, it is located in the base of the 2 3/4hp model timing chest, with the Exhaust Lifter cable and a strong spring running through it, which attaches to the exhaust valve lifter mechanism - the threaded nipple on the end of the cable screwing into a special barrel ended rod (on the left side of the lower timing chest) - the barrel of that rod then being held in line up against the spring inside the Plunger Box bolt.
I have a couple of these engines with original bolts fitted and can see they wear very badly along their shoulders, where the plunger is being pulled in - and i would imagine that because this model has no clutch - the exhaust lifter gets a lot of use - so thought it would be useful to make a batch to the original pattern - but ours are in a harder stainless steel than the original material,, so should last a bit longer.
We also had a batch of the internal exhaust lifter springs made - copied from hte original pattern I had, and the result is a nice 'firm' and smooth operation when I pull the exahust lifter lever in on my own Douglas restoration project.

Leather toolboxs_ Leather toolboxs
A quality supplier/manufacturer of Leather Toolbox's and Other Parts for Older Motorcycles -

This is a shout out to another manufacturer of difficult to find parts for older motorcycles -Mark Baker at the Toolbox Man, his email is :


I met Mark a couple of years ago at a Stanford Hall Founders Day autojumble, where he had a stall. So recently when looking for someone to help me re-leather my original WW1 toolbox (the toolbox on the left, above) I contacted Mark. As well as doing a great job providing a new interior and leather front for this (time warp but very fragile, still with original WW1 Khaki paint) original toolbox, he also manufactures them from scratch - and the toolbox on the right is the one he made for me to match the original. I have to say the quality of the fabrication and leatherwork are excellent - and the price was not excessive either. I was so impressed, I thought it would be nice to give him a shout out to other restorer's of older bikes.

Following on from the toolbox's - I was also thiking about kneepads of the type sometimes seen used on early sports and racing bikes. As it turned out, Mark makes these as well. I asked if he could 'weather' mine a bit before sending them - to match my original seat . . . then when they arrived I did them a bit more and added black boot polish until I got them to a close approximation of the seat colour. Not sure what you think - but I think they look excellent on my Douglas, which still has its original paintwork. They come with leather lace included. I havent tried them myself yet, but I notieced Mark also list lots of other hard to find parts for belt drive and pre-30's bikes, so drop him an email if you want to try him yourself - i was very pleased with these

Click on any of the photos for an enlarged version

Leather Kneepads ____Leather kneepads

Work In Progress Update

For all below, if interested and wanting to go on our waiting list - email us on our normal email: sales@racingvincent.co.uk

<<< I still have further updates for the Spring Newsletter - so I will break the Newsletter into 2 parts and include the Work In Progress updates for the second part of this Newsletter. Expect to see it published late April, early May 2021. Thx >>>

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 32 - Autumn 2020: Newsletter 32
Newsletter 31 - Summer 2020: Newsletter 31
Newsletter 30 - Spring 2020: Newsletter 30


Back to RacingVincent Homepage: www.RacingVincent.co.uk


Go To RacingNorton Online Catalog: www.RacingNorton.co.uk