NorVin 1959 499cc OHV Vincent Comet engine frame # 14P 81340 engine # F5AB/2A/4807
NorVins are exceedingly rare motorcycles, no one is entirely sure how many actually exist because they were never made by a manufacturer. They were mostly built by amateurs in their garages using what was widely considered to be the best engine and frame combination in the world at the time – the Vincent engine and the Norton Featherbed frame. This frame is probably the most famous motorcycle frame of all time – there certainly are not many other frames that people know the name of. The Featherbed was developed in the late 1940s by Irish brothers Rex and Cromie McCandless, motorcycle racers and self-taught engineers.
It is often said that the measure of a special’s quality is whether it could pass for a factory-built machine and this stunning NorVin certainly fits the bill, looking like it could easily have originated in either Bracebridge Street or Stevenage. Indeed, the vast quantity of bills in the accompanying documents file testifies to the fact that this was a no-expense-spared project. The enthusiastic former owner is an experienced restorer with over 40 years of show-standard bikes to his credit. This NorVin is a combination of a 1959 Model 99 rolling chassis in which very skilfully a 1950 Vincent Comet engine has been fitted. The latter has been overhauled with a new cylinder, piston and bearings and the head has been rebuilt by Conway Motors. The gearbox internals are said to be ‘nearly as new’ and the clutch in very good condition. The dynamo and magneto have been rebuilt and the electrics renewed, while the primary and final drive chains are new. On the cycle parts side, the forks have been fully rebuilt with new stanchions and bushes, and the wheels rebuilt with new bearings, stainless spokes and the original re-chromed Dunlop rims. A Norton Commando TLS front brake is a sensible upgrade. Needless to say, all the paintwork is new. The restoration was finished in 2021. This unique NorVin may need some carburettor tuning, but otherwise is ready to be enjoyed.