1937 500cc International "to Manx Specification"
1937 30M "Kleber"
Joe Seifert /Rijeka
There is the myth amongst German motorcycle historians that under the Nazi regime it was practically impossible to buy and ride a non-German motorcycle, let alone to race one. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, it was possible to buy Nortons from the German importer in Munich and his dealers across the nation until the outbreak of war.

Furthermore, many good privateers raced them- works rides for Germans meant a German factory team, i.e. BMW, DKW, NSU or Horex; privateers, however, raced Nortons until racing ceased.

We have been after a genuine pre-war racing Inter with history for some years. We had a "in one family from new" one located, but the current owner did not want to part company with it yet. After that scenario had been dragging on for several years, the opportunity arose- out of the blue- to buy the heap of parts you see in the photograph below in January, 2011.

To the layman it did not look too promising. However, these are all the Norton leftovers of Fritz Kleber, pre-war and in the immediate post-war era one of Germany's top privateers. Most of the parts are from his 1937 racer, some are from his 1938 bike.

The 1937 bike was despatched on 8th January, 1937 to Riesenacker & Romisch, the nearest Norton agent to Fritz Kleber. The German registration document was issued on 2nd March, 1938 (!) in Munich through the German importer, K.Haberl. Why a registration document was issued for what was a pure racing motorcycle remains a mystery. However, another one was issued for Kleber's 1938 racing Inter on 4th June, 1938, and that one was even issued a number plate in Worms on 8th August, 1938, VH-96961.
Fritz Kleber on his 1938 Racing International at the German Grand Prix.
Fritz Kleber on his 1938 Racing International at the German Grand Prix.

Insignia on leathers were worn by all talented privateers, as these were all members of the NSKK, the Nazi organisation that paid out the prize money for the privateers. Not a member- no money! Theoretically, one could race without becoming an NSKK member, but in practise nobody could afford not to take the money. In the Keigh collection 1939 TT picture of Franz Vaasen these insignia are taken as the emblem of a Nazi party member. Not true!
As Bought
On the right the bike as unloaded, with a few parts that came with it.
Not all parts were from this bike. We found everything from a 1949 longstroke Manx cylinder to a 1932 road model 30 crankcase. But most of the parts we needed to complete the jigsaw puzzle were there.

The bike is now complete- and was since track-tested by Katrin (above), Christine and raced by Joe Seifert.

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