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Norton Rotary Development (1): BSA Prototypes

The Norton Rotary engined Motorcycle was, originally, in fact no Norton, but a Triumph! In the late Sixties of the last century, an NSU Wankel Spider was seen in Meriden, driven by Doug Hele. Doug was at the time toying with designs for a new engine to replace the dated Triumph Parallel twin, which went back to 1937, and could not be the answer to a future that Edward Turner, its designer, had painted so grimly after his return from Japan.
Triumphs first answer to this was the "Trident" prototype, in fact 1.5 times a Triumph 500 Twin. Another answer was this new "Wankel" rotary engine, that had come from Germany and was now being tested and further developed by big car and engine firms.

The license for that engine in a motorcycle aplication was eventually taken out by BSA, then the company that owned Triumph, and the first prototypes of which we have pictures are in fact A65 BSAs with a rotary engine!
The top box represents the "data recording" unit of the era, which records the data coming from about 1000 wires exiting the cooling fins... A lot of research was devoted to heat build up and dissipation, water cooling being considered an unfashionable feature on a motorcycle.