1950 Norman Rambler ‘Model RC’ Autocycle
1950 Norman Rambler Model R.C Autocycle
In 2005, I discovered this handbook on a bookstall at Kempton Park autojumble. I had never come across a Rambler motorcycle before, though I was familiar with the Rambler name as an American automobile. What immediately struck me was its similarity to the Norman autocycle, and the company address in Ashford, Kent.
I decided to save my £7 for more important purchases, replaced the booklet, and made a mental note to research it on the internet. Of course, I forgot all about it. A few years later, once again at Kempton Park autojumble, I noticed the handbook was still in exactly the same place on the bookstall. I pointed out that the cover price was 4/- 6d, and offered 25p but the bookseller was not amused. Nevertheless, he agreed that Rambler owners were few and far between. I bought it for £4, though I was still none the wiser about the autocycle.
Now that I actually owned a very small part of a Rambler (ie its handbook!) I remembered to refer to the ‘Moped Archive’ on the internet, an indispensable resource for cyclemotor enthusiasts. Lo and behold, there was mention of it, and I discovered that it was in fact a Norman Model C made for export.
In March 2009, I at last came across my first Norman Rambler. It was on ebay. I chatted with a few friends about it, and asked them not to bid as I was interested in it. (A wise precaution these days, as you can no longer see who else is bidding). After buying it – at a reasonable price – a chap named George contacted me from Dundee and informed me that he had also been bidding on it but his server went down at the optimum moment, hence my purchase at a bargain price.
Is there a moral to this story?
1. It’s always worth putting in a bid on ebay just in case.
2. Bear in mind that even if you save £3 buying a motorcycle handbook, it may end up costing you many hundred pounds more in due course 🙂
I like rare versions of well-known models, and I already admired the Norman Model C on which the Rambler is based. The Rambler is a handsome machine and I’ll put it on the road and use it this summer. Here are the pictures from its ebay auction:
The registration on the front does not look British. It was apparently re-imported to Britain sometime in the 1990s.
APRIL 2009: It has now arrived, and has been serviced and prepared for MOT. The lights have been taped up for a daylight MOT as the rear light is so poorly illuminated it would not be good enough for the test.
You can just about make out its name on the tank transfers.
It starts easily and runs well. Despite cleaning the tank, there’s still some fine silt in there, which means a few roadside carb cleaning operations are in store.
Next stop …the MOT station.