Italianiron & Britiron Classics Vintage Engine Offerings

Posted by Scot Wilson on

At Italianiron/BritIron Classics, let us "Fuel Your Race Passions" is not just a slogan but a commitment, whether you are building a vintage TT racer for competition, a Ducati F1 vintage street bike or a classic Norton CommandoDominator or Manx. As a result, we are focused on and  committed to supporting the sport of Vintage Motorcycle Racing worldwide first and foremost. Additionally, I believe that there is a "soul" and a majesty to these original two wheeled racing machines that inspire us all to this day. Therefore, maintaining a quality offering to maintain these special machines is the most important goal for us whether the items are made by TGA/Molnar Precision LTD in the UK or by Italianiron, LLC in the USA for your Ducati TT racer or for your Norton Commando racer or street bike. Shown below are two of our Ducati 750 cc builds in front of a vintage Shell station that was restored in the desert of Tombstone, Arizona here in the American Southwest. 

We love vintage racing motorcycles and the Sport of Vintage Motorcycle Racing because this was the infancy of two wheeled racing machines that used an engine. These were the times in history when Engineers/Racers were "Gods" and they would push their racing machines beyond the known limits of physics, geometry, and existing metallurgy while attempting to tame the contours of the natural landscape all while in competition. As a result, I am a big fan of the 750 cc race series such as Formula 750 and Battle of the Twins (BOTT) as this represented a massive accomplishment in power and displacement. Back in the day, I started racing a Norton 750 Commando racer before transitioning to the Ducati 750 cc displacement racers as the Ducati seemed to fit me more comfortably. Shown below is my vintage 1973 Spaggiari Scuderia inspired Ducati 750 cc bevel drive Desmo racer (that I still have) and adding a  2001 Ducati 748 rs racer to campaign as well. Yet, it is also odd to refer to the Ducati 748 rs as a vintage racer but it is 2 decades old!! Perhaps we just need to acknowledge that those of us who cherish this time in motor racing are also vintage!!

In a testament to the evolution of racing machinery, I must admit that one of my favourite racer builds after the Ducati Bevel Drives must be this TT 1 with race prepped 750 cc Ducati engine shown below in its blue on red livery. Using one of our TT 1 chrome-moly chassis & bodywork kits, we were able to build a striking racer that is purpose-built for either spirited track racing or road riding. These early belt driven 750 cc & 600 cc engines in the Taglioni "L" twin configuration exhibit that quintessential balance between light weight, torquey and high-revving power delivery. At the track, on the dyno or up our mountain roads, these engines have that exotic "Ferrari of Motorcycles" race finesse in their exhaust note and loads of "grunt" while pulling hard through the gears. Yet, one can argue what a successful "vintage" Ducati belt-driven, 2 valve, twin cylinder engine is as they continue to offer so much in useable horse power after 4 decades. 


We continue to have a great deal of fun assisting customers with their builds whether they require using our chrome-moly chassis kits with a vintage Ducati or Norton Commando twin cylinder engine. Whether our customers are building a TT, Ducati F1 or Norton racers or street machines, it remains remarkable how relevant these vintage engines are in continuing to make many vintage racers and builder's "dream" builds to come to life!! It is striking that we continue to find purpose in using these mechanical creations from the Ducati  mastermind of Ing. Taglioni to the Norton factory racing genius, Peter Williams. The purpose of this blog post is to share how many Ducati and Norton engines that we currently have in stock that can be an ideal "donor" engine for use in one of our TT, or Norton Featherbed chassis & bodywork kits.  Further, as I am a fan of 750 cc displacement engines, I am also a fan of the performance of the Ducati 750 Paso engine. This engine was the next evolutionary step in the racing history of the potent Pantah derived, Ducati 750 F1 engine as shown below. We currently have two Paso 750 engines in stock.

We also offer a rear Pantah cylinder Desmo heads for the belt driven, air cooled, 2 valve Ducati Pantahs and derivatives that use the Pantah based engine. Therefore, converting a Paso 750 or Elephant engine to this configuration is relatively easy to accomplish. Our rear Pantah cylinder head is a faithful copy of the original and with upgrades. Our Ducati cylinder head is cast in L169 aluminum alloy, before being milled on state-of-the-art 5 axis CNC machines. Inlet & exhaust ports have been designed to provide optimal performance, maximum flow and consistency across all of our cylinders that currently include 500 cc and 750 cc. Additionally, we are also developing an entire range of our Pantah rear cylinder heads up to 1100 cc in this same Pantah configuration where the rear carburetor is mounted to the rear of the cylinder head. Currently, we have two 750 cc rear Pantah heads in stock here in Tucson, Arizona.

Depending where you live in the world obviously determines the vintage racing classes that are available. Here in the US, we do have an AHRMA race series for the Ducati Pantah 650 engines. Similarly, we seem to be sending numerous engines and engine parts to Australia and the UK due to the popularity of these early belt driven Ducati twin cylinder engines. I have written previous blog posts on the significant and noticeable differences in weight between a Ducati 900 ss MHR or 750 ss bevel drive racer and the Ducati Pantah 650 racer that we recently built. Effective Power:Weight ratios has long been a significant formula for success among race teams from the beginning of racing to the mighty MotoGP machines of today. However, this same formula can also be put to the test in achieving the maximizing of the fun factor at the track or on the road. Please find the engines that we currently have remaining at my shop here in Tucson, Arizona USA. I also have 3 complete Ducati Pantah 350 cc and an Indiana 650 cc engines as well. Two Elephant engines are also on their way to my shop. 

Pantah 650L*612798
Pantah 650L*612618
Pantah 650L*612678

In conclusion, we also have some Ducati Pantah 650 engines for EU and UK customers stored at Biggelaar Specialty Performance in Oisterwijk, The Netherlands for our customers across the Atlantic Ocean. Will update our offerings as more engines are received.

We are also huge fans of the Norton Commando and Manx racers with their illustrious history of racing successes. It is my belief that offering Norton twin cylinder spares is a great compliment to our Ducati twin cylinder offerings. Thanks to our working relationship with team Molnar Manx and TGA/Molnar Precision LTD in the UK, we have come full circle to offer a significant inventory of OEM and newly manufactured engine bits for the Norton Commando, Dominator, Atlas and the Manx. I have written numerous blog posts on our manufacturing of Commando engine cases and barrels using the original Norton factory technical drawings while also solving some of the "weak" areas in the design of the original OEM items. As a result, I am excited to take a slight detour in the build of my Norton 850 JPN by building it into a Norton 920 JPN. In this way, it is my goal to pay tribute to one of my racing hero's, Peter Williams as he worked tirelessly to advance the Norton Commando racer forward as technology and metallurgy advanced. 


As we are huge fans of the Norton Commando and Manx racers with their illustrious history of racing successes I have worked hard to find quality OEM Norton bits. Stay tuned as we continue to offer more specialty road and race items for these British "Beasts"! At present, I do have 2 complete Norton engines. First is a Norton 850 Commando MK2 race engine, #319204, that was set up to use Harley-Davidson Sportster pistons. Thanks to Les at Norvil Motorcycles who was kind enough to assist me with getting clarity as to these engine  numbers. This engine will obviously require a complete rebuild but it is a nice example of a good OEM Commando engine. In addition, I have a complete Norton 750 Atlas engine that would lend itself to a brilliant build using a "Featherbed" frame. If interested, please email me at Further, we also offer an aluminum "mini"-Manx fuel tank that could also lend itself to a great build with this Norton Atlas engine.

Finally, in addition to OEM heads and barrels for Commandos and Atlas engines and frames, I also have a good selection of OEM Norton Commando engine cases as listed and shown below. 

Norton 20M3S, 149901
Norton 205397
Norton 20M3S, 146405
Norton 20M3S, 134325
Norton 20, 103990
Norton 212115
Norton 205397

At BritIron Classics, we continue to offer quality OEM and newly manufactured engine and chassis bits for Manx, Commando, Atlas, Dominator, Vincent and Seeley road and racing motorcycles. As mentioned before, I am currently working updating our listings in British Pounds Sterling as well as in US Dollars. Please contact me with any currency questions. A new "Make An Offer" feature is currently available for our used OEM Ducati and Norton items. As a result of our offerings, it is our hope to help you to become immersed in the history, the passion and the early technology of these amazing machines. Let us "Fuel Your Race Passions" to keep the sport of Vintage Motorcycle Racing alive and well!!


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  • Do you have ignition boxes for a 500 Pantah. We think that’s the problem with my bike

    Marc on

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