Norton 1930 Model 18 490 cc OHV single frame # 7390 engine # 44881
Like the majority of their contemporaries, Norton relied on the side valve engine until the 1920s, when the existing and well-tried 490cc unit was used as the basis for the firm’s first overhead-valve design.
Penned by James Lansdowne Norton himself and first seen in prototype form in 1922, the overhead-valve Norton made little impact in that year’s Senior TT, though at Brooklands D R O’Donovan raised the world 500cc kilometre record to over 89mph using the new motor.
A road-going version – the Model 18 – was catalogued for 1923, quickly establishing a reputation for both speed and reliability when a standard engine assembled from parts was used to set a host of records, including a new 12 hours mark.
Alec Bennett won the Senior TT for Norton in 1924 and, demonstrating that racing really did improve the breed, the Model 18 gained Webb forks and better brakes for 1925 as a direct result of the works team’s experiences.
The Model 18 retained its essentially vintage characteristics until 1931 when the range was extensively redesigned, the most obvious external alteration in its appearance before then being the adoption of a ‘saddle’ tank for 1929.
Today the Vintage Model 18 enjoys landmark status as Norton’s first overhead-valve roadster and is highly prized by discerning enthusiasts.
This 1930 Model 18 is in a good, used condition and its lovely patina ads to the charm of this still well presented machine.