John Player Norton replicas planned

Peter Willams to make 25 monocoque-chassis Commandos

MARKING 40 years since the his legendary TT win on the radical monocoque-framed Norton that he designed, Peter Williams has announced a project to build 25 replicas of the bike.

And what’s more he plans to follow it up with a modern carbon-fibre monocoque sports bike based on a concept he created while working with Lotus Cars in the 1990s. 

Peter Williams remains a legend; talented enough as a rider to take 500cc GP podiums in the 1960s and 1970s, as an engineer he’s responsible for introducing technologies including alloy wheels and disc brakes to race bikes. However, his pet project, the monocoque chassis – where bodywork doubles as the structure, dispensing with a conventional tube or beam frame – has never taken off. His 1973 F750 TT win on the monocoque-framed Norton he designed is still the greatest race success of any monocoque motorcycle, despite the likes of Honda and Kawasaki later trying the idea on GP bikes.

His new replicas promise to be perfect copies of the original TT-winner, which managed a 107.27mph lap back in 1973. A combination of CAD and CNC promises to make the production of the new versions slightly less labour-intensive than the four original bikes, but they’ll still be hand-made. Engines are set to come from Norton specialist Mick Hemmings, using Williams’ own cam design, while the wheels and forks are to be custom-made to replicate the originals.

Costing a projected £65,000 each the replicas will be around a quarter of the price of one of the four original machines, but still exclusively for the well-off collector. However, the money is planned to go into the development of Williams’ concept of a modern, carbon-fibre monocoque machine. He said: “Starting with replicas of my 1973 TT-winning bike, we will show investors what we are capable of.”

The project is being carried out by the newly-founded Peter Williams Motorcycles, which is ready to to start making the 1973 JPN replicas. “As soon as we receive firm orders,” said Williams, “we can press the button and the new bikes can be created.”

See for details.