Well you couldn’t make it up. I was out in the garage when and old boy walked in and asked if he’d heard a bike the other day. We got chatting and it turns out he’s my new next door but one neighbor. (We moved house 2 months ago). After look at the 4 bikes I was invited to go and look at Bob’s bike next door. I’d heard an old brit the other week so I was expecting to see one.
There was a restored Norton Dominator that was nice, but lurking in the back of the garage were three very special bikes. The first was a Norton race bike from 1961, single cylinder modified by Bob to run horizontally in a Scott frame. Total loss oil system and as it turns out this was the successful ’61 race winner! But behind that was a hybrid I’d never seen before. I can recognise most engines but this had me stumped.
What’s that engine Bob? Oh, that’s one of mine.
Bob was an engine designer at Vauxhall and when he retired, he decided to build all of the engines they wouldn’t let him make at Vauxhall. Mostly unconventional, the bike in the garage was running a 500cc 2 stroke sleeve valve of Bob’s own design. Scratch built including engine cases, crank and all. Very clever! Bringing up the rear was a Norton running a 1200cc 2 stroke square 4, made from a pair of Scott 600cc two strokes. Not two 600s nailed together, a single engine with common crankcases. So very clever! On the shelf is a 500cc 2 stroke sleeve valved diesel, patiently waiting to be fitted into a frame and tested.
Bob was very interested in my ‘single cylinder engine from a radial aircraft engine’ idea, and I may have found just the encouragement I need to get started. in the picture is Bob’s own design 4 stroke 500cc sleeve valve single, tested at Cranfield university making 40bhp and revving to 10,000 rpm. Interesting!