A Norton International purchased new by comedian George Formby sold for £30,582 at an auction on Monday (December 3, 2007).
The 1947 490cc Norton International was one of many bikes owned by George Formby, who starred in the film ‘No Limits’, a spoof of the 1935 Isle of Man TT races.
HVU 111 was presented to George Formby and his wife Beryl during a July 1947 visit to Norton’s Bracebridge Street factory, though the bike was actually purchased by Formby from the Manchester branch of King’s of Oxford and delivered to his Lancashire home several weeks before the visit.
Kings also arranged the distinctive registration number, as George Formby insisted all of his vehicle’s registrations end in double or triple digit numbers.
The Norton has been restored in subsequent years since passing on from Formby’s possession, and has spent the last 12 years in the care of the same owner as well as being displayed at the National Motorcycle Museum.
The bike was sold with a comprehensive history – the original old-style logbook bearing George Formby’s signature as well as photos of George with the bike, and pictures from through the machine’s 60-year history. A selection of magazine features on the bike dating back several decades was also presented to the owner.
The matching engine numbers Norton sold with the comprehensive history file as well as a modern V5 logbook, and the fully-restored machine was described by auctioneers Bonhams as ‘the most oil-tight Inter you ever saw’.
The International sold as part of a small selection of motorcycles at Olympia last Monday.
• Also sold in the auction was a 1925 Rudge 500, which reached £9,200, a 347cc Sunbeam Model 1/2 (£5,175), and a Brough Superior Overhead 680 sold for staggering £55,400.