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Air-cooled and water-cooled rotary engined models manufactured between 1983 and 1994



Interpol 2

588cc Rotary
1983 - 1988

  interpol22_small.jpg   interpol23_small.jpg
    Police Model   Ex-Police Model

The first Norton rotaries (P41), air-cooled machines, were made available to UK police forces from 1981 although it was in pre-production form for the first couple of years while various bugs such as poor tickover, overheating and blowing rotor seals were sorted out. Around 30 police forces bought just under 200 machines, the RAC took some and the Ministry of Defence a further 150. The total production run was 350, another source says 380, machines. 

The welded box spine frame contains the reservoir for the total loss oil system. Marzocchi forks and Brembo discs were fitted and engine power is between 80 and 85 b.h.p.  More on the Interpol 2





588cc Rotary
1987 - 1988

  classic1_small.jpg   0078_small.jpg
    Classic   1987 Model
    1987 Model    

Just 100 (other sources say 101 or 105) of the air-cooled Classic (P43) rotary machines were put on sale in 1987 following a change of ownership of Norton motors. The theory of the rotary engine was originated many years before by Dr. Felix Wankel. 

NSU in Germany acquired the patents for motorcycle applications and licensed BSA in England, but upon their demise the project passed over to Norton. After many years of development, Interpol specification machines were sold to police forces and the armed services from 1983. 

The twin rotor design as used by Norton has fewer parts than a conventional reciprocating engine and the forces are always balanced, giving a high degree of smoothness. Quickly superseded by the water-cooled Commander, the Classic looks set to become a collector's item in its own right.  More on the Classic




588cc Rotary   1988 - 1994

  0080_small.jpg   0081_small.jpg
    Krauser Model   Krauser Model
    Krauser Model    

The Commander was firstly seen in its police version (P52) [more on the P52], then as the civilian version (P53) [more on the P53], the water-cooled successor to the Classic.  It features a full fairing which completely hides the engine, with Yamaha front forks and brakes also fitted. There were just 239 of the earlier civilian type produced.  The engine is mounted the other way round to the previous rotary models and so rotates in the opposite direction. 

The 1992 version had more practical detachable panniers by Krauser and it is reckoned that there were only 61 of these.




588cc Rotary   1990 - 1992

  f11_small.jpg   f1_small.jpg
    F1   F1
    1990 pre-production image    

The F1 (P55) was a super sports development, being a road going version of the successful RCW 588 racing machine with many of its components race developed in the finest Norton tradition. Only ca. 140 were ever made. 

With some 95 b.h.p. on tap, combined with light weight, performance is well into the super sports class. The upside down forks feature adjustable damping, while the brakes are twin 320mm Brembo at the front and single 230mm at the rear. The frame is an aluminium alloy twin spar, combining strength with low weight. The clutch is hydraulic and the Yamaha FZR1000 gearbox 5 speeds, constant mesh. Stainless steel is used for the exhaust system.  The engine is mounted the other way round to the previous rotary models and so rotates in the opposite direction. 

The UK price tag at launch was £12,000 and well beyond the pocket of all but the most affluent motorcyclist.  More on the F1 



F1 Sport

588cc Rotary   1992 - 1994

  f1sport_1_small.jpg   f1sport_2_small.jpg
    1992 Model   1992 Model

F1 Sport
with dual seat conversion


The F1 Sport (P55B) was introduced in 1992, with design modifications to the F1, allowing better cooling of the engine.  This version, with revised SU carburation, is said to run more smoothly than the original F1 where the Mikuni carburettors are prone to overheating. There were ca. 70 F1 Sports made, mostly in black but with a few in blue and red.  The frequently repeated story that the F1 Sport used cheaper components than the F1 is erroneous.  More on the F1 Sport


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