Hi, new member and reviving a old thread I was surprised to find on a websearch.I know nothing about Nortons, I have been in the market for one and just bought this on eBay. I may have a POS or not. I have never bought a Ike on eBay and I'm quite nervous about it. View attachment 88689
Bob Waring has since passed on and one of the two previous owners of this bike
Frame#: 20 1048xx
The 2nd owner of this 650SS was Sir Edward Bilton-Smith. The title for this bike is from 1974 and the name shown on the title is Edward C. Bilton-Smith. If you do a quick search on y0utube for "Sir Eddy Edward Bilton-Smith Norton Celebration of Life" video you will see this very same Norton 650SS you see here on eBay shown in that video at 3:29 into the video.
Here is a pic of the bike from the video when Edward C. Bilton-Smith owned it View attachment 88697
You SHOULD be nervous!! Some one sold you a load of Bull excrement!
I know this as a fact. I was friends with Eddy Bilton-Smith for 30+/- years and marketed him and his products and services.
Fun Fact: In our circle of friends we knew a lot of Ed's, so we decided each would get a nickname & "Male Model Ed" came up with "SirEdward" Because he was English & a royal PIA. Later some guys nicknamed me "Squire Doug".
I'm not sure how a title ended up in Eddies name from 1974 but none of it makes sense. The time line is totally off as well. I know all the details and I have his original frame and bodywork from the bike and his engine build notes and racing logbook noting specs, settings and tuning data as well as changes and experiments.
If you have questions, let me know, but here's the high points.
Eddy immigrated from the UK in late 50s and served a abbreviated term in the US Air Force to get US citizenship but got out early. ( The USAF wasn't happy and neither was Eddy)
Eddy was a talented Tool & Die machinist & earned his wings under apprenticeship at Glacier bearings in the UK and working a variety of jobs here in the US. He ordered a new Norton Manxman thru Archie Stanley here in Portland Oregon and the very 1st Manxman in the Western US.
Eddy tore it apart and blueprinted it and mild performance upgrades, and I see some one quoted me from Access Norton on the cam specs, Eddy used to call the UK and talked to several tuners but the cam idea came from Paul Dunstall.
Over several years he upgraded it, and here's where your story goes sideways. Eddy swapped the original frame for a Manx rolling chassis. Those are lighter chrome moly Reynolds 530. Manx hubs and forks.
The Manxman 650 is a bit different than a 650SS but the salient point is the Manxman twins used a regular road going frame, forks and wheels. The Manx 500 single is a whole different kettle of fish.
At one point, famous Racer, mostly known for Triumphs, Sonny Burres was racing a Norton in TT, he asked if he could use Sir Eddies engine so Eddy swapped it into the dirt track chassis. Sonny is still alive and can confirm this. Sonny is a very talented racer, and a good wrench but Eddy was in his own realm so Sonny knew his best chance to win was Eddies engine.
They went to the national up in Idaho where Sonny won the race and TL Hoagland, Eddy's best friend won his class on a Norton that Eddy also built & tuned.
THAT'S the picture on the cover of the magazine, not this bike. But Sir Eddies engine in Sonny's bike, TL Hoagland and " Noted tuner Ed Bilton-Smith" standing in between.
This led to Berliner offering appearance money to race in California "As long as Norton wins, I don't care who is riding ".
During a tuning session at Portland PIR local racer Glenn Adams asked to take it around the track. He purposely laid it over to starve the oil and revved it till it grenaded.
Eddy was devastated but tuned Sonny's engine but it wasn't as fast, Berliner caught on and was angry. Eddy quit racing. Allied Motors called and offered a lot of money for the blown engine. They were angry nothing was tricked out or custom thinking they would learn Eddie's tricks not understanding what really happened.
Eddy sold the rolling chassis in 65-66. But that was the Manx chassis. Years later in 1990s I bought a basket case Manxman with parts of a 750 Atlas motor and a abused gearbox. Several people had raced the Manxman chassis and drag racing as well with different engines. I have the original tank, red seat, and bodywork including stock fenders and the Blue oil tank and toolbox/battery box but the frame was repainted weird green and some one drilled a ton of holes in the mounting plates.
There's no way you have Sir Eddies matching numbers engine and frame. The engine was blown up, sold and scrapped. I have the original frame and parts.
* I bought another 650 motor but it's not the original. I'm building the bike back to the original specs prior to the Manx 500 frame swap.
** In the early 2000s Eddy called me and wanted to go racing again and building a landspeed record bike. Our team was Eddy, Les at Littles engine service, Fairly Honest Mike of F&W fame and me. We purchased a cafe racer Dommi 500 from the UK and imported it. However it was too weak and spindly, so I showed it as a period cafe bike still with the UK plates at the San Jose All British Clubmans show, but sold it a few months later. We built the LSR out of pieces and I supplied most of the engine which we built a very custom 270 degree 500 out of a 750. ( Long story about that)
So, Eddy and Les built a Honda for his son to race in the early 80s, and in late 70s Eddy built "Horton" which was a built CB750 big bore 810cc Honda SOHC/4 in a Commando chassis. I sold Horton for Eddy on FeeBay but after Eddie died, one of his sons tracked down Horton and bought it back.
Eddy and I were promoting the LSR project and were at the INOA Norton rally in Oregon mid 2000s, We also had Horton and a Norton Commando Hi rider at that event if any of you were there. ( Eddy was ill & in a foul mood so apologies if you got yelled at)
I have no idea where a title for a bike that doesn't exist from 1974 came from, but some one got creative.