1954 Norton International Model 30

This is the last one, really it is…!!! For some months now I’ve been aware of a fully restored 1954 Norton International Model 30, looking for a good home. I finally got the chance to go and look at it right at the end of February 2023. Sadly, the chap that restored it passed away around a year ago, so I never got the chance to chat with him about it. The Model 30 is a 500cc Overhead Camshaft model, derived from the famous Norton Manx TT racers.

I did spend a couple of hours checking it over before researching the bike and its component parts. You see it isn’t like many other Norton International Model 30s, in that it was built using parts from more than one bike. The engine and frame are from bikes around a month apart, right at the end of 1954…the DVLA says it’s a 1954 bike, but with the numbers it has, I’d imagine it would be more likely to be a 1955 bike; remember that the DVLA assigns age related registration marks based on the age of the frame.

The laydown gearbox is from a 1957 bike according to its number…Norton were using the popular AMC gearbox for their road bikes by then, but not for the International.

Why an International Norton? Well, my late father had an earlier one of the ‘garden gate frame’ variety…I think it was a 1949 bike. I don’t remember it ever running…it simply lay gathering dust for as long as I can remember. One of my brothers purloined that bike after Dad passed away, and I imagine it’s either been sold, or restored and drained of oil in readiness for use as an ornament.

Dad’s bike was set up for track use and I really wanted one of the later featherbed variety, set up for road use. The 1954 bike fitted the bill perfectly and the Norton Owners Club, which I joined, were extremely helpful in telling me what I needed to know about the bike and in helping me come to a price which was fair to me and the family selling the bike.

About two weeks later, I hired a van and collected it.