Norton responded to the success of the Triumph Speed Twin model in 1949 with the release of the Bert Hopwood designed Model 7 twin, displacing 500cc. This model was followed in 1952 by a new twin combining the Model 7's twin cylinder engine and the "featherbed" frame, the marriage offering sporting road riders the performance of the "cammy" models in the range with the ease of maintenance afforded by the twin cylinder engine. Early examples equipped with a deeply valanced, sprung front mudguard, were initially only available for export; however, by 1953 these became available to domestic purchasers. The same year saw the replacement of the unsightly front guard with a much neater unsprung item.
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In 1954 a more effective 8" front brake was fitted and the cast iron cylinder head was superseded by a redesigned light alloy version. A characteristic feature was the small light underneath the headlamp. Although the handling was not in the Featherbed class, it was of a good touring standard and the clutch action was very light compared to the AMC clutch fitted to other later Dominators.
From 1951, the Model 7 was overshadowed by its newer and more glamorous counterpart, the Featherbed framed Model 88, so sales of the former became dwindled. It was quietly dropped from the range in 1956.