1948 Norton International M30


• Matching frame and engine
• Extensive rebuild and regular maintenance
• Proven as a touring bike

The Background

The top-of-the-range Norton International M30 was constructed during the brand's heyday of dominating Isle of Man TT victories, making it one of the great survivors of the British motorcycle racing era. The M30 was a pre-war design using the trusted and versatile single valve overhead-camshaft 490cc engine and created primarily as a racing machine. It used a Manx frame, recognisable by its angled plunger arms, scalloped frame lugs and different engine mounts.

However, it could still be ordered with lights and a kickstart-equipped gearbox for road use. It remained in production well into the ’50s by which it had been made obsolete by the new generation of featherbed framed bikes but the M30 came to symbolise a notable chapter in Norton's history.

The International M30, including this 1948 example, was specifically sold to Norton dealers who had a connection with selling racing bikes, so it’s not implausible that this bike may have seen some form of competition in the past. 

Subject to a thorough restoration around 20 years ago, this rather smart and very presentable example has been regularly maintained and fettled to a high standard. It has also been extensively used and appreciated, with continual modifications in the hands of the present owner, who has ensured that it operates as efficiently as possible. 

The History

Originally sold by a dealer in Dudley, the bike was bought by the current owner in 2004, having been restored by the previous owner after languishing in pieces in their garage. 

As a member of several vintage bike clubs, including the VMCC, he took on the Norton to join his considerable collection of vintage motorcycles. It was then subject to a programme of parts replacement and repairs to bring it up to an even more than acceptable standard, with the owner stating that everything that has needed to be done has been carried out. 

After handing over the Norton to a well-respected specialist to undergo a fairly extensive engine overhaul, he then used the opportunity to blow the cobwebs away by travelling all over Europe to attend Irish, French, Spanish and Italian bike rallies on it. This has allowed him to test its reliability, and ensure its running condition is well up to scratch. 

Capable of cruising at the national speed limit, he is confident it has enough beans to exceed this without issues. After bonding with the machine, he's come to the conclusion that he's done all he can with it and wants to go on to other projects, so he's chosen to sell it. 

The Paperwork

Shortly after buying the bike, the owner had to reapply for its registration documents, which unfortunately due to the passage of time and the DVLA reluctance to delve into their non-computerised records meant he couldn’t retain the Nortons original plate. 

Fortunately, with help from the Norton factory record, the matching chassis, engine, shop engine numbers confirmed that this is a 1948 example and therefore has now been registered accordingly. 

Since taking on the bike, he has continued to maintain it, resulting in almost £2,000 in invoices, including extensive engine work in 2006 by Norton specialist Stuart Rogers, which included a new big end, barrel liner, and slipper piston.  This was followed by a gearbox rebuild, new cams and follower pads, new camshaft bushes and compression rings. More recent engine work includes front brake shoes, a correct silencer, clutch friction plates and a solid-state regulator. 

Bought with 1646 miles on the milometer, around 6.5K has been added to the mileage over the 17 years of his ownership. The bike comes with an MOT to February 2022. 

The Interior

The seats show evidence of being reconditioned and are in excellent condition with minor suggestions of wear. The main controls, including the chronometric rev counter, are all functional, with the displays being clear and legible. 

The switchgear is in decent order, with typical signs of age. The handlebar grips are good, with no issues with the pedals. The rear seat and chin rest are in fine shape, but their effectiveness in use has yet to be determined! 

The Exterior 

The Manx frame is one of the talking points on the bike, sporting the angled rear plunger arms denoting it as a genuine International. The frame is in good condition no signs of significant corrosion.

The Aluminium 5-gallon Manx fuel tank is solid, with some wear around the top front section, filler cap and mount holes. It also has the correct internal baffles which appear to be in good condition. The primary covers, tyre and chain guards are in good condition, with a decent paint finish. The Aluminium flanged Borrani wire wheels are pleasingly presentable, with no signs of ageing or significant pitting.

The chrome work has been well maintained and is likely to have seen renewal or replacement in the hands of the previous owner. The tyres are modern items, for the sake of safety and are both less than 6 years old, with a well above the legal amount of tread evident.

The bike is obviously kept in a lock-up and this is reflected by its appealing overall condition. The exposed metalwork, such as the forks are in good condition with no significant problems.

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The Mechanics 

As the owner twisted the fuel tap and added some throttle, the Norton fired up into life instantly. Its heartbeat sounding resilient and regular. As a racing tuned engine, it takes a little time to warm up to idle, but once running, there were no major issues. The exhaust is in excellent condition, having been installed recently, and there was no excessive smoke. 

The correct 10TT9 Carburettor functions well, with the mechanical valves and springs working perfectly. It is said to retain its fluids although it’s always worth remembering that it is over 70 years old, so some allowance must be made. As already documented, it has been subject to an engine and gearbox rebuild, with a significant new number of parts including new cams, compression rings and bevel housing bushes being the most recent items. 

The suspension components, including the Andre steering damper, are in good condition and are said to cushion the ride well. The brakes have seen core components replaced and have been subject to regular maintenance. All of the hoses, pipes and wiring are in good condition, with plenty of evidence to suggest much of it has been renewed. 

The Appeal

Early post-war bike owners tend to be friendly, passionate and knowledgable people, which encourages long-lasting and productive friendships. With this in mind, the dedication and willingness to use their machines, suggests there's a genuine sense of camaraderie among them. 

Potentially appealing to those who fondly remember the Norton International's racing heyday during its active competition days, or perhaps an ideal bike for those looking for a pre-war design with post-war improvements. 

In any case, the Norton International is a purposeful yet attractive machine with a hidden past that may be discovered but has established its own provenance thanks to its current owner's sense of responsibility and adventure. 

Notice to bidders

Although every care is taken to ensure this listing is as factual and transparent as possible, all details within the listing are subject to the information provided to us by the seller. Car & Classic does not take responsibility for any information missing from the listing. Please ensure you are satisfied with the vehicle description and all information provided before placing a bid.

As is normal for most auctions, this vehicle is sold as seen, and therefore the Sale of Goods Act 1979 does not apply. All bids are legally binding once placed. Any winning bidder who withdraws from a sale, is subject to our bidders fee charge. Please see our FAQs and T&C's for further information. Viewings of vehicles are encouraged, but entirely at the seller's discretion.

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1948
  • Make Norton
  • Model Model 30
  • Colour Sliver & Black
  • Odometer 8,182 Miles
  • Engine size 490
  • Location Oxfordshire
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
14 bids from 6 bidders
  • el•••• £14,750 31/08/21
  • el•••• £14,500 31/08/21
  • mo•••• £14,250 31/08/21
  • el•••• £14,000 31/08/21
  • mo•••• £13,500 31/08/21
  • el•••• £13,250 30/08/21
  • mo•••• £13,000 30/08/21
  • an•••• £12,750 29/08/21
  • el•••• £12,500 29/08/21
  • an•••• £11,000 28/08/21

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