Norton Rotary Development (1): BSA
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
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.