1960 Norton Dominator

Highlights


 • Family-owned since 1994
 • Restored in 2005
 • Fitted with the larger 750cc engine from a Norton Atlas

The Appeal


During those halcyon days of motorcycling in the ’50s and ’60s, when it was all painted leather jackets and racing between coffee bars, the ultimate aspiration was to have a bigger bike than anyone else at your local cafe. Motorcycle manufacturers were well attuned to the ton-up craze, so each one made sure it had something in its line-up which would hit the magic 100mph mark. Hence Triumph gave us the Bonneville, BSA the DBD34 Gold Star and Norton the Model 99 Dominator.

Designed to boost Norton’s American sales, the Model 99 was equipped with a prodigious 600cc twin which succeeded in propelling it past the ton. Styled with Norton’s ‘Smooth Look’, it even looked fast standing still.

That’s reason enough to go and buy a Dominator, but you could go one better with this one, which has a hidden twist. The engine is the 55bhp 750cc unit from the Norton Atlas of 1962. Being essentially an enlarged version of the Dominator’s engine, it looks right at home in the Featherbed frame, but you’ll benefit from an even greater turn of speed the next time you’re racing down to Box Hill.

The History and Paperwork


 • Acquired by the vendor’s father in 1994 from an owner in Bristol who fitted it with a two-person sidecar
 • The Bristol owner installed the Atlas engine to give it enough power to pull the sidecar along
 • The vendor and his father set about restoring the bike in 2005, which involved stripping it back to the frame, rebuilding the gearbox and more
 • Over £3000 was spent on the restoration, but unfortunately the paperwork has been lost
 • Last used on the road in 2011
 • The only paperwork is the Norton’s current V5

The Condition


 • Finished in an appealing but non-standard metallic red
 • Frame was powder-coated in 2005
 • Restoration now mellowing very nicely

When this Dominator was restored in 2005, its owner made sure it was done thoroughly. The frame was re-powder-coated so it has withstood the past 17 years very well, and the general appearance of the bike is enhanced by the dazzling metallic red of the petrol tank. As a non-original colour, it may not appeal to purists, but we don’t think it does the Dominator a disservice at all. It was never intended to be a bike for shy and retiring types, so a subtle metallic sparkle will help you stand out just a little bit more.

The polished alloy mudguards are also an eye-catching feature, and they are just starting to acquire a very light surface patina. The Borrani wheels and other bare-metal parts are also becoming subtly patinated, as the bike’s restoration mellows and it begins to acquire a little bit of time-honoured character.

The seat is in very good condition with no splits or any obvious marks, and you even get a nice chrome-plated rack for your luggage.

The whole bike is presented wonderfully, but its tank is probably its best feature. It is very hard to find any faults with the paint, and its condition today is testament to the fact that the Norton has only seen the very lightest use since its restoration was finished.

The Mechanics


 • Gearbox rebuilt by the Norvil Motorcycle Company
 • Dry-clutch conversion
 • Sold with two crankcase covers, with and without speedometer attachments

Despite having been off the road for over 10 years, the Dominator looks to be in remarkably good mechanical health as it fires up without too much kicking over and bursts into life with a fast, sonorous roar. It’s every bit as stirring as a big British twin should be.

When the bike was restored, the engine was checked and found to be in more or less like-new condition internally, so it’s believed that the engine had been rebuilt shortly before it passed into the vendor’s family in 1994. The restoration still involved a lot of mechanical work, though, including a gearbox rebuild by the Norvil Motorcycle Company. In addition to that, it was converted to a dry clutch, and fitted with new old-stock Amal carburettors, an oil check valve and new exhaust pipes. The Roadholder forks were also reconditioned. A new fuel tap has just been fitted.

The crankcase cover from a later bike, which features a mount for a speedometer drive, has been fitted, but the original crankcase is supplied. Unfortunately, the Norton does not have the correct Smiths clocks but it does have period-looking modern items.

As far as we can tell, the Dominator is in excellent condition mechanically, but it has not been on the road since 2011, when its last tax and MoT expired, so we cannot guarantee roadworthiness. We would advise bidders to satisfy themselves as to its condition before taking to the road, and consider that some light recommissioning may be necessary.

The Summary


The Norton Dominator was one of the greatest road bikes of its day and, if it’s power and speed you covet, this could be one of the best ones out there thanks to its exciting Atlas engine.

Still looking great after its restoration 17 years ago, we can’t think of a better bike with which to turn heads and experience the thrills of 1960s café culture.

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1960
  • Make Norton
  • Model Dominator
  • Colour Red & Black
  • Odometer 51 Miles
  • Engine size 745
Auction Details
  • Seller Type Private
  • Location London
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
19 bids
  • pe•••• £5,500 27/06/22
  • ch•••• £5,400 27/06/22
  • pe•••• £5,300 27/06/22
  • Ed•••• £5,200 27/06/22
  • Ed•••• £5,100 27/06/22
  • pe•••• £5,000 27/06/22
  • Ed•••• £4,900 26/06/22
  • ch•••• £4,800 26/06/22
  • Ed•••• £4,700 26/06/22
  • an•••• £4,600 26/06/22

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