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 Norton - P 10
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Norton D2-492-18-05
Photo ou archives : F-M. Dumas

Capacity : 800
Model : P 10
Production : 1965 - 1965
Category : (R) Street Bike


800 P10 -1965

Complicated simplicity

It's impossible to say what direction the British motorcycle industry would have taken if fate had allowed it to develop further. All the factories had intriguing projects on their drawing boards but - due to lack of money and confidence in the future - that's where

most of them staved!

Norton's Only Dohc Twin

In 1964 Norton was considering replacing its overhead valve twins, which were beginning to show their age. The Plumstead factory - also part of the Associated Motor Cycles group - was given the job of developing a new twin. Developed first as a 750, then as an .800cc under the code name "P10," this prototype was intended for minimum maintenance. It had a unit-construction engine and twin overhead camshafts.

One Chained Malady

A single chain running inside a triangle of narrow tubes lined with anti-friction material drove both overhead camshafts before returning to the crankcase by a tortuous route in which it also drove the magdyno unit. Two further chains formed the primary and secondary drives. Despite long trials, the P10 failed; excessive vibration forced the use of flexible engine mounts. When Norton regained its independence, it decided to cut its losses and, lacking other means, initiated a design study based on the old Atlas engine. This became the famed Commando, which used the excellent Isolastic mounting of the engine/ gearbox unit to eliminate the vibration problem.


Engine: 800cc air-cooled twin-cylinder; drysump lubrication

Valves: twin overhead camshafts driven by chain

Fuel System: carburetor

Transmission: 5-speed; chain drive

Suspension: telescopic forks (front); swinging fork (rear)

Brakes: Lwo leading shoe drum (front); drum (rear)

Wheels: 19 inch (front & rear)

Weight: 404 lb


Twin overhead camshafts, unit construction ofengine and gearbox, and five speeds - the P10 promised much but was found wanting.

Motorcycle encyclopedia Moto Passion, realised by François-Marie Dumas, include almost 2000 photos presented with an exhaustive history of the motorcycles exhibited.

This unique collection has been realised with the participation of many specialists. With many thanks in particular to Yves Campion, Michael Dregni, Didier Ganneau, Jean Goyard, Helmut Krackowizer, Michel Montange, Christian Rey, Bernard Salvat, Mick Woollett, etc

One can order here

  • Original cards on paper (in french)
  • High resolution scans or original documents presented and signed with my name.

Please contact me at for conditions and copyright.

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François-Marie Dumas

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