Congratulations to Laurence Wynn, who was the first to identify yesterday’s “Guess That Bike”: a Norton Classic. It was a rare bike – Norton’s first rotary-powered bike made available to the public (they had first offered a prototype to the police), but I’m glad to be able to feature one for sale right now. It became an instant collectible thanks to the limited production of 100 units, and it might be a fair assumption that all of these were bought to be put away and stored for future value, but today’s example has a decent 5,700 miles on it.
Riders are often surprised to hear that Norton made several rotary-powered bikes, ranging from the initial Interpol II police prototype through the Classic, the Commander, and the even the F1 road racer (though less than 800 in total were sold). The Classic featured a 588cc air-cooled unit, though future bikes would take advantage of liquid cooling. This bike came out during a tough time in Norton’s history, as Dennis Poore was dying of cancer and sold the firm to Phillipe LeRoux, who would end up being investigated for cooking the books. MSRP of the 500+ pound Classic was $8,500, and Norton claimed the Wankel engine produced 79 horsepower, good for a top speed of 130mph. For more on the Classic and how it came to be, check out this excellent retrospective from Rider Magazine. Or, if you’d like a ‘short history’ on the Wankel rotary in motorcycles, check out what’s become the most popular post ever on The Vintagent.
This example is #96 of 100 and it’s claimed to be in ‘superb original condition’ with 5,700 miles. You’ll get the riders handbook, service book, and tool kit. Find this rare Norton for sale in East Sussex, United Kingdom for $22,375 here at Cosmo Classic Motorcycles.