The Grand Collector
With models like a 1954 BSA A7 Shooting star and the present Norton Dominator in his collection. Mr.Cyrus Sabavalla was a rare collector of British Motorcycles.
Since 1962 it was owned by a Parsi, and Parsi’s are known to keep everything in immaculate condition and not to mention they always are proud about it.
While Mr.Sabavalla was working with a construction company the Norton Dominator was his daily commuter.
In the ’90s when Mr.Sabavalla moved to Dubai many prospective buyers had their eyes on this specific Norton Dominator.
However, the Dominator being so close to his heart, that whenever this particular topic about selling his motorcycle was initiated, he would let his dogs chase them out.
The Dominator’s spell was so high. For whatever unknown reason even an avid motorcycle enthusiast like Mr.Sabavalla’s son in law was denied this exotic.
Those Elated Hours
In 2011 I received insider news about Mr.Sabavalla looking forward to part with his Norton.
We were surprised at the same time elated. Surprised because it was his prized possession. Elated because we may get an opportunity to get hands-on this exotic.
Without further losing any moment I and my younger brother quickly set up a meeting with Mr.Sabavalla. I still remember those precious moments. As it was on 21st December 2011 at 1730hrs.
Uncle and Aunty
Believe me, Uncle Cyrus was a tough and no-nonsense personality. What appeared before me and my brother was a slightly frail gentleman, with an excellent sense of humour combined with wit.
And little did we know that this was the beginning of our love and bond with this fine gentleman and his beloved wife Amy.
Amy aunty is an absolute darling. We never felt left out as both Uncle Cyrus and Amy aunty gave us so much love and warmth.
They are and always will be like our grandparents whom we lost, a few years before we met this wonderful couple.
As to convince Uncle Cyrus to consider us worthy of having his beautiful Norton was not much of a task.
In his mind, he had already decided that these two boys will eventually be excellent caretakers of this timeless classic and would resurrect this motorcycle back to its original specifications.
To pay Uncle Cyrus, he even had set up a payment option for a certain amount per month and that amount was covered by us on Tukshad’s 21st Birthday, 14th August 2012.
The Norton was fairly original but required resurrection.
Our first step was a mechanical restoration that involved rebuilding the engine and gearbox while we simultaneously carried out the chromium and paint job.
However, the task was not that simple as we faced a few internal political challenges at a local garage in Pune that stalled the build and caused the delay in the project by six months.
The parts we ordered from abroad were delayed by two months but then we were back on track.
We got a new set of 10 inch, lightweight alloy racing wheels, with stainless steel spokes.
The brakes were significantly improved by having a twin leading brake plate instead of the single standard plate.
Cables were procured from the best, Venhill in England. Exhausts and bend pipes were also brand new.
In case we wanted to ogle at this beautiful machine with a different paint scheme. We also managed to procure a spare fuel tank that we can always swap.
The Right Mirror
- Electricals were finally conducted by getting an entire wire loom.
- A completely new rotor and stator for the alternator, new distributor cap.
- New points and condenser.
- Brand new ignition switches and headlamp, horn switch from Lucas.
- New old stock, Lucas headlamp.
- New old stock, 564 Lucas Tail lamp.
- New old stock Tommaselli throttles system.
- A new set of tyres and she was ready to roll.
At the initial stage, there were few issues and these are acceptable for any build. Trivial electrical issues meant there were delays to start the engine again by a few more months. However, by mid-July 2014 they were all sorted.
The Special Exhaust Note
- Twin Cylinder, four-stroke.
- Top speed – 163 kph (101.3mph.
- Compression: 8.5:1.
- Single carburettor.
- Overhead valves.
- Telescopic front Road holder suspension.
- Rear swing arm.
- Twin cradle featherbed frame.
- Spoked wheels and
- Dual seat.
Last year in 2019 Uncle Cyrus left the mortal world. However, we still feel his strong memories in the Norton.
A special thanks to my father Mr Adil N. Daver, without whose valuable knowledge and insights wouldn’t have made this bike what it is today (a winner of the “best restored recent classic” category in the prestigious Mumbai VCCCI rally).
By Arish Adil. Daver