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1952 Featherbed Model 30
The first Featherbed Inter ever built.
When a long-time customer who owned various Nortons rang us and said he planned to sell his featherbed Inter I was only mildly interested and offered to put it on the Norton Motors GmbH homepage, as I tend to do for my customers as a service.

He then mailed photographs and details, and I was amazed. I saw a featherbed Inter, correct in all details but the rather unfortunate combination of black and chrome, making it look a bit like a Zebra. However, all the tinware was original and he confirmed the bike was registered and roadworthy. He told me what he wanted for it and I sent him the money straight away, not even bothering to haggle.

As soon as I had the details, i.e. engine/frame number, I had motorcycle historian Stefan Knittel look it up in our production records and was told this was, in fact, the first 500cc featherbed International ever built. The Earls Court show bike of 1952, a new model for 1953, on loan by the Swiss importer who got it after the show. Since we got it more research showed "garden gate" framed Inters continued to be built for several months and the featherbed Inters very slowly, one or two at a time, crept in until the garden gate models were phased out completely.

Since we had it it was ridden up the Großglockner at the Großglockner Hill Climb by Tim Seifert, hence the sticker on the front mudguard, and often along public roads by his father.

The front brake is amazingly good, but the engine, being in production trim, is hardly faster than an ES2. From a practical point of view an ES2 is the better, less stressful bike with fully encapsulated valve gear, less complication, and less mechanical noise.
On an emotional scale, however, the Inter has the looks and, with a little bit of know-how and special parts, can be made into a bike that starts to really fly where an ES2 runs out of steam.
Press Picture
Probably our motorcycle. Unfortunately, I could not find the original of the picture on the left, reproduced in Roy Bacon's "Norton Singles". It looks as if the silver on the petrol tank is the traditional Norton silver, whilst the chassis parts are a darker metallic grey. The Norton parts we have in original finish from those days- notably an instrument panel and an outer primary chaincase- are a darker grey than the petrol tank of our Inter, the paintwork of which looks original, and are most likely the grey the rest of the bike was painted in.

As first-of-the-line bikes were often photographed as templates for the highly-retouched sales brochure pictures, this is most likely the machine you see in its current state at the head of the page.

It must be said the bike looked far better in its original colour.
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