Today in Motorcycle History


Viscount motorcycles were produced by Staffordshire motorcycle engineer Tom Somerton in 1959-1960.

This was a marriage between a 998cc Vincent V-twin engine and a Norton Featherbed frame, in similar fashion to the Norvin specials of the 1950s. It used the wide-line frame, Norton forks and a magnesium Manx front hub. The fibreglass tank envelopes the oil tank which sits atop the frame rails.

The Viscount began life as the PJD Vincent by Peter Darvill, from whom Somerton purchased two designs, one for a Comet single and the other a Shadow twin.

"Not surprisingly, the few Viscounts built ranged in specification, due entirely to owner preference and intent. As reported, both frame and engines were subtly modified to enable comparatively simple fitment and removal; a move that simplified maintenance. The Featherbed frame used top shelf Norton-made conical magnesium hubs and lightweight aluminum rims. The use of fiberglass body parts cut weight to leave the Viscount only 24-pounds heavier than the single cylinder Manx racer." ~ Nolan Woodbury. [1]

The number built is unknown, but it is likely the figure is around 10 or 12 motorcycles. The difficulty of sourcing engines coupled with the high cost of production brought the project to an end.

Notes. 1. via the Wayback Machine.


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