1960 500cc Manx Norton.

1960 Norton Manx 500

Price: US $45,000.00
Item location: Kaleen, ACT, Australia
Make: Norton
Model: Manx 500
Type: Racing
Year: 1960
Mileage: 100
Color: Silver
Engine size: 500
Vehicle Title: Clear

Welcome to the auction of the ex-Conn/Carruthers/Hailwood 1960 Manx Norton.

R11M 86448s Journey Since Leaving Bracebridge Street.

According to the factory records held by the Norton Owners Club in the UK, his 1960 500cc Manx, rame no R11M 86448, as built on 28 June 1960 and then dispatched in July 1960 to a Kyle Palmer in Singapore. One reference on the internet identifies Kyle Palmer as a Norton Agent, hile another states that he was the race mechanic for a Singaporean Prince. Apparently the Prince used Mr Palmers name when buying his racing bikes in order to avoid his familys displeasure at his involvement in such a dangerous sport. Whatever the absolute truth of the matter (and I have no way of confirming it) this Manx certainly started its racing life a long way from its Bracebridge Street birthplace.

By the mid sixties, he Manx had passed from its Singaporean owner to Corporal Chris Conn, Royal Air Force technician posted to Singapore. During his posting to Singapore Cpl Conn won the Singapore Motorsport Championship, nd on a subsequent visit won the 1963 Singapore Grand Prix, head of various factory entries from Japan.

On returning to the UK, onn continued to race as a privateer, ith his most successful year being 1966. In the 1966 Senior TT Conn placed third behind Giacomo Agostini on his MV and Mike Hailwood on his Honda (not too shabby for an old single!). In the Junior TT he again placed third behind Giacomo Agostini on his MV and Peter Williams on an AJS.

Conn continued to race during 1967, ut retired very early in 1968, t which time he sold one of his Manx Nortons (from period photos I believe it was the 500) minus its engine, o Kel Carruthers.

Shortly after he arrived in the UK from Australia Kel had purchased a new 500cc Manx engine from a gent who had previously worked at the Norton Factory. Kel remembers the engine as not having been particularly well assembled and he stripped and rebuilt it himself before fitting it to the ex-Conn Manx. The engine is stamped with the number 103463 and also has KC stamped on the crankcase near the front engine mounting.

The Norton Club in the UK, eferencing factory records, dvised me that engine number 103463 should belong to a Norton Jubilee. I did ask Kel whether hed stamped random numbers on his new engine himself, ut in fairness to Kel and the passage of many years, e couldnt remember. My alternate theory (somewhat romantic) is that the gent that Kel bought the engine from stamped it with a Jubilee number in the factory and then used that number on the docket he took to accounts to pay for it (probably thought it was a bit big to fit in his lunchbox).

Regardless of the source of its numbering, el fitted his new engine to the ex-Conn Manx and competed on it in the 1968 500cc World Championship. Having missed the first two rounds, els first race on the Manx was the Isle of Man Senior TT, here in his words he was running a strong second until fuel starvation in 6th gear cost him time and he eventually finished 6th. The next meeting was the Dutch GP, nd while there Kel discovered hed inadvertently caused the fuel starvation when he ran the fuel tank breather out through the fairing belly pan, reating a venturi effect and a vacuum in the fuel tank.

After his sixth place at the Isle of the Man, nd with the fuel now flowing freely, el finished 5th at the Dutch and Belgian GPs and 6th at the Ulster and Italian GPs. At seasons end Kel was placed 11th in the 500cc World Championship, very credible result given hed competed in only five of the thirteen races.

In 1969 Kel was provided with factory Aermacchis so he sold the Manx to an Australian friend, ax Robinson, ho was a member of Sydneys Ryde Motorcycle Club. Max brought the Manx back to Australia with him and used in in local competitions. Sadly Max was killed in a car accident in 1971 and the bike was eventually sold off as part of his estate.

The next owner that I've been able to track down was the famous motoring artist Alan Puckett, ho sent me a really nice email saying he'd bought the bike in 1972 from a little pommy bloke who had a shop on Parramatta Road in Sydney. Alan was very involved with racing Aston Martins at the time he bought the Manx and he only rode the bike a couple of times. In his email to me, lan painted a wonderful word picture of his first ride on the Manx at Sydneys Oran Park. In borrowed gear he wobbled his way around and quickly found that the techniques of braking, ear changing and applying the power that served him so well in an Aston Martin didnt work at all well on a Manx. Alan said he was all over the place and in real danger of hurting himself until Len Attlee (a very well know racer of the 70s) took pity on him and set him on the right track.

Not surprisingly, lan didnt keep the Manx all that long and in 1973 he sold it to Barry Ryan (of Ryans Motorcycles).

At around the same time, ut on the other side of the world, ike Hailwood was racing at the Nurburgring Circuit in his 50th car GP. During this race Hailwoods car left the track and crashed into a guardrail, rushing Mikes right ankle and foot. It was almost a year before he could walk properly again and during this time the Hailwood family decided to relocate to Auckland.

What happened next is very nicely covered in an article entitled HAILWOOD the legend down under published in Classic Motorcycles. The article describes subsequent events far better than I could so with full acknowledgement (and thanks) to them Ill reproduce sections of the article:

Then came a call (to Hailwood) from the Vintage Sports Car Club (VSCC) in Sydney, nd so began one of the most sensational comebacks in the history of motor sport.

In conjunction with the Historic Racing Register for Motorcycles and Three Wheelers, he VSCC ran perhaps the biggest single meeting in NSW motor sport an annual all-historic meeting at Amaroo Park on the Australia Day weekend. The club invited Mike over for an all expenses paid weekend in which he would ride an ex-Chris Conn/Kel Carruthers/Max Robinson 500 Manx Norton, hen owned by enthusiast Barry Ryan. Also, ar collector John Dawson-Damer had volunteered his Lotus 18 Climax for Mike to steer in the car events. Mike accepted without too much prompting, ut warned everyone not to expect too much.

On a blistering weekend at Amaroo Park in 1977 Mike pulled on his leathers again. His damaged ankle still restricted movement, o to assist with gear changing the Norton was fitted with a rocking pedal (note: this is still with the bike). Organisers of the meeting were rewarded with the biggest crowd in the circuits history, ith traffic banked up three kilometres down Annangrove Road.

In his first race Mike dialed himself in with a sixth place; alas the Norton disgraced itself by oiling a plug on the line at the start of the second. After a plug change Mike, ndaunted, eeled off a couple of laps to huge applause.

The main race of the weekend was the Keith Campbell Memorial Unlimited which brought together big guns Eric Debenham, lmer McCabe, lan Burt, im Scaysbrook and, f course, ike the Bike.

With grip from a newly unearthed Dunlop KR73 rear tyre and plenty of squirt from a 630cc engine installed for the unlimited races, caysbrook led from flag to flag on Alan Pucketts G50 Matchless and notched up the fastest lap of the meeting at 61.8s.

But Hailwood was in hot pursuit and had the crowd on its feet during his race long scrap with Alan Burt. He covered the final lap in 62.3s the fastest 500 lap of the weekend and swept past Burt within sight of the flag to claim second. Mike the Bike was back! (note: I've added four picturesof Hailwood on the Manx thatI took myself at the Amaroo meeting).

The story then goes on to describe Hailwoods second outing on the Manx, his time at the Australian Grand Prix meeting at Bathurst:

The Australian Grand Prix at Bathurst had drawn a huge entry. For 1977 the five lap historic machine demonstration had been officially upgraded to the race it always had been. Barry Ryans Norton was heavily fettled prior to the Mikes arrival.

Practice was marred by torrential rain on Thursday and Friday. By Saturday the sun had returned, owever, nd a field of almost 70 bikes lined up for the historic machine race. Elmer McCabe (G45 Matchless) led from the start, ut within a lap Jim Scaysbrook was in front on his G50 with Hailwood in a tremendous battle with McCabe and Dennis Fry (Manx Norton). Scaysbrook set a new lap record at 2m 44s to win, ith Hailwood third behind Fry.

The Bathurst races at Easter were always well covered by the bike magazines of the day (Green Horror, EVs, wo Wheels) and I have copies of the various issues. I have reproduced a picture of Hailwood on the Manx at Bathurst, aken from the MiketheBike website maintained by his wife Pauline and son David.

After his races on Barry Ryans Manx, ike returned to Australia for another historic race meeting at Winton in Victoria, nd then teamed with Jim Scaysbrook to race the Moreparts Ducati 750SS (now owned by Motorcycling Australia) in the Castrol Six Hour race at Amaroo Park. Mike and Jim went on to race together a number of times, he last being the 1979 Castrol Six Hour when they shared Jims CB900. Along the way of course Hailwood returned to the Isle of Man and created history. Its nice to think that that history, nd his return to racing bikes, as kickstarted by his rides on this Manx!

Barry Ryan kept the Manx for a year or two after Hailwoods rides before selling it to Jim Scaysbrook (now Editor of Old Bike Australasia). Jim raced the Manx until 1982 when he sold it to Bill Snelling (well known as the owner of the Westgate Racing Team which enjoyed great success at Daytona) to raise funds to go to England for the Mike Hailwood memorial meeting at Donington Park.

Bill Snelling sold the Manx in 1985 to Richard Johnston of Wollongong, nd I bought it from Richard in 2000.

Rebuilding the Manx.

At the time I purchased the Manx from Richard it was completely dismantled and required a thorough rebuild.

I sent the cylinder head and crankshaft assembly to Ken McIntosh in New Zealand. Ken fully rebuilt the head, ith new valves (from memory at least one was Titanium), alve seats and valve guides. Ken rebuilt the crank with a new INA big end, arillo rod and Cosworth piston, hen balanced the whole assembly.

The cam box was stripped and inspected. With the exception of one pusher and pusher bush all components were in perfect condition. The bottom end of the engine was likewise in exceptional condition.

The magneto was fully reconditioned/remagnetised. The Amal GP was stripped and found to be in excellent condition.

The engine rebuild was done here in Canberra by Peter and Paul Dunster. Peter and Paul ran a successful Jaguar repair business and also competed very successful in Classic racing for many years on (among other things) a Manx and a G50.

As it was my intention to race the Manx I fitted a new TT Industries six speed gearbox in a magnesium case. This was matched with a Bob Newby clutch and belt drive.

The forks were fully reconditioned with new tubes, ushes, eals and springs. The alloy body internal dampers were in perfect condition. The original Girling rear shock absorbers were likewise in perfect condition.

The frame and all cycle gear were stripped and painted in two pack enamel. The wheels were rebuilt by Lightfoot Engineering in Melbourne with stainless steel spokes and new 18 rims to allow a wider choice of tyres. The front brake was completely refurbished by Dave Blisset in Sydney.

The bike was fitted with a new five gallon tank and nose fairing from Ken McIntosh. Ken also supplied the exhaust system and numerous fittings around the bike.

The smaller alloy tank and the Bikini fairing fitted to the bike at the time it was raced by Hailwood are still with the bike. The fairing has not been refinished since that time and still displays the large H on its nose. The heel and toe gearlever that was fashioned by Barry Ryans mechanics to allow Hailwood to change gears is also still with the bike. The bikes original seat had just been recovered when I bought the bike from Richard, ut fortunately Richard had kept the old seat cover, ecause in his view it was a semi religious object (given the famous arses that it had played host to).

Reunited With Old Friends.

Since its rebuild the bike has had two outings. The first was the 2009 Broadford Bonanza in Victoria where Kel Carruthers was the guest of honour. I was asked if I would make his old Manx available for his use over the weekend - needless to say it was my pleasure to do so.

Given Kel had lived in the US since the early seventies and had spent the last fifty years rubbing shoulders with and managing various world champions and championship winning teams I had no idea how hed react to his old Manx and a hot weekend spent in an open pit bay. I think I half expected some bloke with an American accent to lob in and ask Wheres this old nail Im meant to ride. As it turned out, el and his wife Jan sounded as Aussie as anyone in the pits and they couldnt have been more down to earth and nice to spend time with.

Kel rode the bike throughout the weekend and when the marshals signaled the end of the last session Kel stayed out as long as possible because as he said when he got back to the pits I was having a great time and thought to myself that this might be the last time I get to ride a Manx.

The bikes next outing was also in 2009, t the Australian Historic Road Racing Championship meeting at Warwick in Queensland. Another of the bikes previous owners, im Scaysbrook, as doing the riding. Jim was flying out to the UK the next week for the Goodwood Revival so was riding well within himself. Nonetheless he placed in the top ten all weekend and ended up around sixth or seventh from memory.

Since then the Manx has been at rest. To take it racing again it would need a basic service and a fresh set of tyres. The bike comes with a range of spares that form a useful race kit to take along to meetings. Depending on your skill level itll put you at the sharp end of the field, ut given its still running the standard bore/stroke it wont be as fast as the latest generation of replica 93 bore four valve Manxes. But then, one of them have its history, nd none of them will have race commentators referring to them as the ex-Carruthers/Hailwood Manx!

So there you have it - a Manx with a wonderful and unique history, hats handsome enough to take pride of place in any museum (or lounge room), r race as nature intended.

If you have any questions or would like to have someone inspect the bike please give me a ring on +61 438290712. Were about 18 hours or so ahead of US time (depending on your time zone). We last started the bike about two months ago, nd with a little notice can have it ready to start when you visit. Similarly if you would like any additional pictures or information please let me know.



Terms of Sale.

Once bidding has reached the reserve price I will let the auction run its course and will only sell the bike through this auction. The bike is however advertised elsewhere and until the reserve is reached I do reserve the right to end this listing if the bike is otherwise sold.

The winning bidder must contact me within 24 hours of the end of the auction and I require a $2000 deposit via Paypal within 48 hours. The only acceptable forms of payment for the balance are direct deposit into my bank account or cash on pickup. I will not release the bike until all funds are cleared.

I am happy to assist in any way with shipping, ither within Australia or overseas. I can crate the bike and I understand the cost of shipping to a US port would be in the region of $800.

Also published at eBay.com