Name Games: 1967 Norton/Matchless N15CS

Consolidation in the British motorcycle industry led to the N15CS, a Norton with a Matchless frame.

| July/August 2018

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    Stanley Krohn's 1967 Norton N15CS.
    Photo by Robert Smith
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    The frame for the N15CS/G15CS came from Matchless and the engine was the 745cc parallel twin as used in the Norton Atlas, but with an AMC primary chaincase.
    Photo by Robert Smith
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    Stanley Krohn's 1967 Norton N15CS.
    Photo by Robert Smith
  • norton matchless
    The frame for the N15CS/G15CS came from Matchless and the engine was the 745cc parallel twin as used in the Norton Atlas, but with an AMC primary chaincase.
    Photo by Robert Smith
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    Something of a factory bitsa, the bodywork was sourced from the Matchless G12CS.
    Photo by Robert Smith
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    Stanley Krohn's 1967 Norton N15CS.
    Photo by Robert Smith
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    Stanley Krohn's 1967 Norton N15CS.
    Photo by Robert Smith
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    Dual Amal Concentrics fuel this Norton N15CS, although it's fitted with the earlier magneto engine.
    Photo by Robert Smith
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    A classic British face if ever there was one. The relatively narrow Norton Atlas engine is almost invisible in a head-on view, underscoring the slimness of Sixties British bikes.
    Photo by Robert Smith
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    Stanley Krohn's 1967 Norton N15CS.
    Photo by Robert Smith
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    Restorer Mark Zenor riding owner Stanley Krohn's 1967 Norton N15CS. The "CS" designation originated with Matchless, standing for "Competition/Spring frame."
    Photo by Robert Smith
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    Stanley Krohn's 1967 Noorton N15CS.
    Photo by Robert Smith

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1967 Norton/Matchless N15CS
Engine: Norton Atlas 745cc air-cooled OHV parallel twin, 73mm x 89mm bore and stroke, 7.5:1 compression ratio, 55hp @ 6,800rpm
Top speed: 100mph (est.)
Carburetion: Two Amal 389 Monobloc or 30mm Amal 930 Concentric (late models)
Transmission: 4-speed, chain final drive
Electrics: 12v, Lucas K2F magneto or coil and breaker points ignition (late models)
Frame/wheelbase: Matchless mild steel dual downtube double cradle frame/57in (1,448mm) (est.)
Suspension: Norton Roadholder telescopic forks front, dual shocks rear
Brakes: 8in (203mm) SLS drum front, 7in (178mm) SLS drum rear
Tires: 3.25 x 19in front, 4.25 x 18in rear
Weight (dry): 407lb (185kg)
Fuel capacity/MPG: 2.5gal (9.45ltr)/40mpg (est.)
Price then/now: NA/$6,000-$12,000

Putting one maker's engine in another manufacturer's frame became popular in Britain in the Sixties. First choice was usually the very tunable Triumph 500cc or 650cc twin in a Norton Featherbed frame. The result was called a Triton, a blend recognized as almost a model unto itself.

So what do you call a Matchless motorcycle with a Norton engine? A Matchton? A Nortless? Well, according to Associated Motorcycles, the owner of both brands, it was either or both a Matchless and a Norton, depending on which badge you preferred. Confused? You have a right to be, and there is an explanation — but first, some background.

Consolidation in the British motorcycle industry after World War II saw many brands absorbed into larger companies. When BSA bought Triumph in 1951, it became the biggest motorcycle manufacturer in the world at that time, also owning the Ariel, Sunbeam and New Hudson brands. Associated Motorcycles, the Matchless owners, had absorbed AJS in the 1930s, adding Francis-Barnett (1947), James (1951) and Norton (1952).



But by 1962, AMC was drowning in red ink, hit hard by the boom in imported scooters. To cut costs, they decided to close the crumbling and inefficient Norton plant in Birmingham and consolidate production at their Plumstead, London, factory.

Whether what happened next was planned or happenstance is moot, but it solved a number of issues for the company.

Matthew Chambers
10/4/2018 5:38:32 PM

NI5CS presumably relates to the G15CS Matchless/AJS Chassis and the alternative engine but weren't these known as the P11 Ranger? built by Norton Villiers out of the remnants of AMC (AJS and Matchless) offered as a lighter more powerful Bike mainly for Trials & Scrambles. A few were also privately built as a 'waste not, want not' bitsa with left over Norton Motors from Triton builds, usually with very crude homemade engine plates, the official ones are much nicer.




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