Norton Desert Racer

This Norton Desert racer was re-imported from the states some time ago. It came with a Uk registration and no history so a wee bit of detective work was in order!

My first thoughts were that it may be a Norton Nomad, a factory built 600cc twin engined purpose built Desert Racer destined for the US maket, the Nomad was only built for 3 years from 1957, the fore runner of the Atlas engined P11 Desert Sleds.

The frame number and engine number were checked against the Norvil site's helpful database and it was discovered that the main frame was a 1957 Model 77 but there were a few deviations from the standard frame, the rear subframe had been alterred to the same as a Nomad one.It also has the oval wider swingarm used on the Nomad to allow clearance for a 4.00 knobbly tyre. The engine number proved to be from 1959, with the letters M and P both stamped next to the oval brass Norton plate the confusion started, one expert I spoke to assured me that all Nomad motors had a P stamped on them, so is this a 1959 Nomad motor in a replacement Model 77frame? Who knows - its a cool piece of dirt biking history whichever way you look at it.

So whats the plan? - well at the moment I plan to strip and clean the carbs, check the mag and clean the points, fill up with fresh oil and petrol. And have a go. I'll need to replace the ribbed 21" tyre up front with a knobbly dirt tyre then head for the fields to see how she goes - Watch this space 8-)

Magneto was sent off forr a full rebuild, cleaned the carbs and given a check over. Front tyre changed to an enduro style 21" to match the rear and off up to the farm foir a test ride