Ariel-Norton Hybrid Motorcycle

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Jerry Romano's "Square Norton" - an Ariel-Norton hybrid.
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The Ariel Square Four engine looks at home in the Norton frame and fits with relatively minor modifications.
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The magneto is believed to have come from an MG car engine.
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The Square Four engine is stamped “HEA 16," signaling a build from famed Ariel tuner Tim Healey.
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Owner/builder Jerry Romano and his Square Norton at last year’s Barber Vintage Festival.

If you wanted to find Jerry Romano’s Square Norton special at the October 2009 Barber Vintage Festival, all you had to do was follow the crowds. Every time Jerry parked his beautiful Ariel-Norton special, just about everyone would stop what they were doing and gather round — it really is that special.

You see, many have tried to fit Edward Turner’s famed double-twin, the 997cc Ariel Square Four, into a Norton Featherbed frame, and most have abandoned the attempt. A small number have been successful, but usually by performing a “cut and shut” on the iconic frame’s tubing, spoiling its integrity and compromising its strength and rigidity. That makes Jerry Romano’s Square Norton all the more special, because Jerry was able to fit the big lump without chopping the frame apart.

And his bike’s special nature doesn’t stop there: The engine came from legendary Ariel four tuner and one-time Egli Square Four manufacturer Tim Healey, and it’s received a number of improvements for performance and reliability. So how did Jerry Romano’s Square Norton come about?

Dime a dozen?

Jerry describes himself as a “retired wrencher from General Motors, just an old shop rat,” and makes his home in Clarkston, Mich. He has a number of restoration projects under his belt, including various BSA Gold Stars, Spitfires and a Rocket Gold Star, as well as Vincents, Triumph twins and a 1929 “cammy” Velocette KN. Among all of the parts he and a buddy had accumulated were a couple of Norton Featherbed frames and an Ariel Square Four MkII engine. “We had the Norton frames, and we were going to make a Triton, but they’re a dime a dozen,” he says.

Motorcycle Classics Magazine
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