The very first Norton Rotary motorcycle that
went into production was the Interpol II (as
opposed to the
Interpol, which was the Police version of the Norton Commando in the
1970s). This was codenamed P41, and is Norton Rotary of which the most
motorcycles were produced- about 500 in all.
The first Norton Rotary on sale to the
general public, or rather to only 100 members of that, was the Norton
"Classic" (P43), launched after Philippe Le Roux aquired
the company from Dennis Poore/Maganeze Bronce Holdings PLC in 1988 and made it
into Norton Group PLC.
Following the P43 was the P52
"Commander", which was originally styled by Seymour/Powell
to be used as a Police motorcyle but was then, due to the desire to have
something to sell after the enourmous success of the Classic, sold to the
general public in a twinseat variant, codenamed P53. This
motorcycle proved extremely reliable, but was not a roaring success in the
civilian market, as Norton fans expected something else from the marque
with a racing pedigree rather than a very competent touring motorcycle!
This came in the form of the Norton F1
(P55), again styled by Seymour/Powell, and arguably one of the
milestones in motorcycle styling history. Unfortunately, the beautiful
bodywork enclosed the hot parts of the machine so completely there was
little chance for hot air to escape, making the bike highly entertaining
to ride in dense traffic!
For this, and legislative reasons, the
final form of evolution came with the F1Sport (P55B). This utilized
the front fairing of the F1 but for that was a carbon copy of the factory
race bikes, the petrol tank and seat unit both lifted straight off the
Trevor Nation/Steve Spray machines. Most cognoisseurs of Norton Rotaries,
and certainly everybody who has had the chance to sample them all, will
agree the F1Sport was the best Norton Rotary ever prduced- unfortunately,
only 66 motorcyclists in this world can have the privilege of owning one! Production ended as parts ran out and the banks did not allow for
more material being bought in- the F1Sport being in effect an exercise to
rid the the bankrupt company from materials left over!
1984-89 ("Interpol II")