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 Norton - International
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Norton D2-492-72-03
Photo ou archives : F-M. Dumas

Capacity : 500
Model : International
Production : 1932 - 1939
Category : (R) Racing


500 International - 1939

The ultimate club racer

To race a Norton before WWII, one had to order an International Super Sport model (350 or 500cc) "to Racing Specification." In 1939, the "Inter" was available for the first time with the square-finned aluminum cylinder head used on the works machines.

Works Replicas

First marketed in 1932, the International was named in honor of the victories achieved by the marque all around the world. The first version was virtually a copy of the machines that had made the Grand Slam in 1931 by winning all seven European 500cc Grands Prix. The improvements made over the years on the works bikes were offered to private buyers as options. For example, the plunger rear suspension used on 1936 works Nortons was catalogued for around $23 in 1938.

Endless Options

The list of options available in 1939 was impressive. It included the famous cylinder head with square finning and cylinder (both in aluminum), rear suspension, a fuel tank with quick-fill cap, a large-capacity oil tank (also rapid fill), a special exhaust pipe, racing tires, handlebar controls, Amal Racing carburetor, BTH magneto, special clutch and a close-ratio gearbox without kick-start. Though the works bikes had been fitted with twin-cam cylinder heads since 1937, in 1939, the International kept its single overhead-camshaft with external rockers. It was still the best-performing 500 club racer at an affordable price.


Engine: 490cc (79x100mm) air-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke; BTH magneto

Power Rating: 36 hp @ 6000 rpm on 50/50 mix of gasoline/benzol

Valves: overhead-camshaft driven by shaft

Fuel System: Amal Racing carburetor

Transmission: Norton-Burman close-ratio 4-speed, chain final drive

Suspension: girder forks with center spring and side compensators and André steering damper (front); undamped plunger (rear)

Brakes: 8 inch drum (front); 7 inch drum (rear)

Wheels: 21 inch (front); 20 inch (rear)

Weight: 335 lb

Maximum Speed: 115 mph

The ultimate classic bike, this 1939 "Inter" has all the racing equipment – the square-finned cylinder head, rear suspension and racing fuel tank.

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.

© Tous droits réservés
François-Marie Dumas

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