Peter Williams nursing home the John Player Norton in the 1973 Formula 750 TT.
40 years ago this week Peter Williams, road race legend and motorcycle development engineer accomplished a unique achievement winning the Isle of Man TT on a motorcycle of his own design. Peter’s engineering designs gave him the advantage on the race track and set the trend for what motorcycles are today. Now exactly four decades later, the highly limited edition Peter Williams Motorcycles’ Replica will celebrate and commemorate Peter’s legendary victory.
Peter Williams Motorcycles is now taking orders for replicas of his 1973 F750 TT-winning John Player Norton. Just 25 of the monocoque-framed Commandos will be built. The original monocoque has passed into biking lore as the machine Williams won the 1973 F750 TT on, lapping at 107.27mph, just off Mike Hailwood's 1967 outright record on a works Honda. Impressive stuff from an air-cooled, push-rod Commando engine. He was also the highest points scorer in that year's victorious Transatlantic Trophy team. An innovator throughout his career, Williams can be credited with introducing and establishing the viability of many of the things we now take for granted, including cast wheels, disc brakes and beam frames.
A stainless steel chassis that formed the fuel tank as well as the frame lent the bike its 'monocoque' name. The new replicas will follow the layout of the 1973 bikes, however whereas each original monocoque frame took 12 man-weeks to construct, this time CAD design and CNC laser cutters will improve accuracy and hasten the production process. Engines will be built by renowned Norton specialist Mick Hemmings using all new parts, including Peter’s own cam design. The replicas will feature a host of bespoke parts such as cast magnesium wheels and forks, created from the original ‘70s drawings. Where drawings were not available, new parts have been created by referencing and digitising two of the original race bikes.
PWM hope that the first of the monocoque replicas will be ready for production in 2013, the 40th anniversary of Williams' epic Isle of Man win. Just four originals were built and are now valued in excess of £250,000 apiece, putting Williams’ expected £65,000 price tag for the replicas into perspective.
John Player Norton at the National Motorcycle Museum
The JPN project was conceived to raise working capital and as a showcase for investment into Williams' pet project – a modern motorcycle with a carbon-fibre monocoque chassis. He produced the first prototype in conjunction with Lotus, proving the concept. Development is now underway of a new model for low volume production.
Peter Williams Motorcycles Ltd. comprises the man himself, Greg Taylor of motorcycle engineering firm GTME and Mark Wells & Ian Wride of design consultancy Xenophya Design. Williams said: "Working with the team brought fresh ideas and a different perspective on how to make the whole monocoque chassis motorcycle project a reality. Starting with the replicas of my 1973 TT-winning bike, we will show investors what we are capable of, and present collectors and enthusiasts with a unique opportunity. "With the 40th anniversary of the TT victory, we have the ideal opportunity to bring the JPN replica to market. We already have a number of interested purchasers. The 'designed for manufacture' version will be of equal elegance and efficient function of the original JPN monocoque. As soon as we receive firm orders we can press the button and the new bikes can be created.
Peter Williams Motorcycles JPN Monocoque Replica from Peter Williams Motorcycles on Vimeo.