British Single Replica Racer – 2004 Molnar Manx Norton

In England, Race by Tim HuberLeave a Comment

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The Norton Manx is one of the most legendary race bikes of all time, and rightfully so. The British single claimed the top spot of the podium at the TT from ‘31 to ‘54 (aside from two years). The Manx was produced (and remained competitive) for more than a decade-and-a-half by the famed British marque, which offered the machine in both 350 and 500cc displacements.

In 1950, Norton took an already impressive bike to the next level when it wrapped the engine in the now-iconic Featherbed frame, though said engine was pretty advanced for its time too. After first employing a four-stroke single-cylinder overhead cam setup, the Manx was switched to a bevel-gear-operated DOHC layout with two valves (per cylinder) that was fed through an Amal carb. Right out of the crate, the Manx was reportedly good for a cool 54 horses.

In the early (to mid) 60’s Norton pulled the plug on the Manx — supposedly due to poor sales — though he model remained something of a cult classic with several noteworthy individuals such as Ray Petty famously further developing and fine tuning the Manx. Unfortunately, after production ended, more and more time passed and the components required to keep the Brit bikes on the road — or track — were becoming increasingly difficult to come by.

Enter Andy Molnar. A passionate wrencher, tinkering, and vintage race enthusiast, Andy was frustrated with his inability to get parts so he began producing his own pieces in his garage at home while he was still an engineering student. Andy started by hucking his garage-made wares — at first primarily fasteners and other stainless components — at swap meets and via mail order, but as business picked up Andy started offering more and more components.

Despite holding down a full time job at a UK aerospace firm, Andy decided to partner with his sidecar racing teammate/passenger — and now wife — and move the operation into a 3,500 square foot facility boasting more than half-a-dozen CNC machines (which Andy became intimately acquainted with during his time in the aerospace industry).

In ‘93 the firm produced its first replica drum brake — it now offers more than 20 different drum brake units! — just one year prior to officially acquiring the rights to manufacture the Norton Manx. As the years went on, Molnar Precision Engineering introduced more offerings including its famous ultra short stroke Manx 350, and even crank cases for liter-sized Vincents. The firm also makes parts for Velocette’s, Triumph’s, BSA’s, AJS’s, and Seeley’s. The company has since moved into yet another, even more well equipped facility, where in 2013 it sold its 200th Molnar Manx example.

This particular Molnar Manx 500 example was built in 2013 for Michael Dunlop to campaign at the Classic TT, though it was updated for the 2014 and 2015 events. Unfortunately, this Molnar didn’t serve Michael particularly well. He experienced brake problems in 2013, a tank split in 2014, and in 2015 the renowned road racer was running in second place until he ran out of fuel (though he did lap at 109mph).

Michael’s #3 mount boasts a four-valve engine with (44mm) Mikuni carburetion, MPL electronic ignition, alloy cover, belt primary drive, and a six-speed TTI gearbox (with drum selector mechanism and buyer’s choice of right or left hand gear change). Housing the 70hp mill — 10hp more than the standard Molnar Manx 500’s “reliable 60hp — is Molnar’s featherbed replica chassis paired with Manx forks in magnesium triples, a “Sprint” steering damper, and Macon shocks.

Other highlights include a polished alloy oil tank, Scitsu tach, carbon fiber “Kirby” fairing (with “integral” bellypan), a high-mounted, stainless exhaust, and a Magnesium Works rear hub with opposite side brake drum laced into one of the racer’s lightweight 18″ alloy rims (with stainless spokes and Avon AM22 tires).

On top of the gear change, the buyer can also choose between a silver 5-gallon alloy tank, a 2.5-gallon polished tank lined in red and black paint, or a 2.5-gallon fiberglass tank. There’s also the option between a magnesium Fontana 210mm double sided 4LS front brake, or a fixed disc with magnesium disk carrier. The sale also includes front and rear paddock stands and a set of sprockets.

Molnar’s regular builds are already wildly impressive machines that display remarkably precision and attention to detail, however this specially-prepared ex-Dunlop TT example is the pinnacle of today’s Manx replica racers.

You can find this Michael Dunlop ex-Classic TT 2013 Molnar Manx racer for sale here at Molnar Precision Engineering’s headquarters in Preston, England with a price of $52,700 (or £40,000.00)

If Dunlop’s ex Classic TT example is too rich for your blood, there’s another Molnar Manx for sale here on RaceBikeMart in Australia with a price of $38,650 (or 55,000 AUD).

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