Norton 1957 350cc Manx Model 40 Frame no. 72734 Engine no. M10M 72734
Dubbed ‘Manx Grand Prix’ in 1939, what would become the best-known racing motorcycle of all time had become simply ‘Manx’ when production resumed in 1946.
Norton’s over-the-counter Manx racers were much the same as their pre-war counterparts, with single-overhead-camshaft engine, ‘square’ cylinder head finning, upright gearbox and plunger-suspended ‘garden gate’ frames.
Only the presence of the Roadholder telescopic front fork readily distinguished them from the ’39 machines.
1949 brought the first significant change in engine specification, the Manx gaining a double-overhead-camshaft cylinder head like that enjoyed by the works bikes for many years, but the major development was the arrival of the Featherbed frame for 1951.
The works’ adoption of the McCandless-designed duplex-loop swinging-arm chassis the previous year had given the Nortons a new lease of life in Grand Prix racing, and Geoff Duke duly took both the 350cc and 500cc world titles in 1951.
The cycle parts remained essentially unchanged from then on apart from the adoption of a double-sided, twin-leading-shoe front brake for 1962.
Manx engine development though, continued steadily, latterly under Doug Hele’s direction, until production ceased at the end of ’62, among the most significant design changes being the adoption of ‘square’ bore and stroke dimensions for 1954 and coarser-pitch bevel teeth in 1957.
The vicissitudes of racing being what they are – crashes, blow-ups, rebuilds, engine swaps, etc – it is not surprising that so many old racing motorcycles no longer have their original engines, a state of affairs that makes this ‘matching-numbers’ Manx something of a rarity.
This particular Model 40 Manx was completed on 1st May 1957 and despatched to Norton agent Daniell O’Rourke.
The previous owner advised that it has been professionally restored in Italy by a recognised specialist under the owner’s supervision.
She is in an excellent condition and was raced at the Italian Autodromo di Ospedaletti circuit in period and, fittingly, returned there 50 years later in September 2010 following its restoration (see scrutineering sticker on fairing)
This rare matching numbers Norton Manx is ready for the race track and ready to win….