Norton Rotary Development (5): Norton
Dennis Poore had originally opposed the
idea of watercooling the Norton Rotary. However, as power increased, so
did the temperatures of various engine components and, with them, the rate
of component failures. The answer was watercooling, which was tried on
this P51 prototype in the early eighties. The bike was, in effect, a pretty
standart P41 (Interpol II) minus the angular fairing and painted a bright and friendly black. The bike was loaned to the then German importers for
some high-speed testing on unrestricted German autobahns, on the
understanding it was not to be given to the press- which was the
very first thing they then did! This led to disenchantment between the two
parties and, eventually, to the appointment of a new German importer.
This motorcycle led to the "reverse flow" P52/P53
"Commander", which proved to be a very reliable machine with its
new water-cooled engine.
||The picture shows the P51,
the first water-cooled Norton Rotary in 1984. Germanys "Motorrad" magazine was quite impressed
with the machine's performance, but not with its styling- an unfair,
in fact rather childish comment on an experimental "hack" that was never to be
sold in this form anyway! "Classic" owners take note of
the rear light assembly- it was a leftover from an earlier project!
|The engine was
markedly different to the later production ones; the waterpump
was an early design that was known to give problems. The
pictures were taken in Germany in 1984, just before the bike
went back to the UK, never to be seen in this form again. The
author remembers riding it that summer and being impressed by
the power increase against the "Cooke Neilsen" he
had ridden some months before.