I'm told that
prior to the RMCS / HDT collaboration on the KLR there was indeed
another such project given to producing a diesel motorcycle for the
In 1990 Norton
Motors, Shenstone, were given the task of creating a water cooled
Classic and Krauser Commander for the NEC bike show. These (petrol)
bikes were completed but the show was a failure with heavy snow not
The team responsible for
these bikes was then due to start work on an Army version of the (petrol)
machine with a Diesel version to follow shortly there after.
were to be mounted in Endruo/off road style frames. Wolfgang Rauen
was given the task of getting a single rotor 294cc Norton Wankel Rotary
engine to run on Diesel and succeeded in doing this.
He spent many
hours on the dynamometer sorting out the fueling only for the company
to run out of money which lead to the whole Army project being canned.
The R&D people
were laid off and the company wound up Christmas 1990.
The original Norton
diesel project was for a portable marine fire pump. Compression was
too low to ignite the fuel oil so ignition plugs were fitted into
the spark plug holes.
After the first
few seconds the engine was hot enough to combustion ignite and ran
like a diesel should.
Being that the
project was at a very early stage when it finished no photos or drawings
exist but David tells me the Diesel Wankel ran for many hours proving
Latest from the
2009 Hamm rally report:-
Amongst other gossip, I also heard (with growing amazement
I must say) that someone had managed to unearth one of the original
Norton Rotary Diesel engines that are mentioned elsewhere on this
website. It was thought at one time they may be used to power a Military
motorcycle but most (petrol) versions ended up powering target practice
drones. Apparently this engine still runs, after a fashion, and the
owner is looking for a Norton motorcycle to put it in. Hopefully,
if it's done in time, this could be the main attraction at the anniversary
10th rally next year? I look forward to seeing this engine 'in the
flesh' as it were. Great stuff!