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British Industrial History

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Bert Hopwood

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Herbert Bert Hopwood (born 1908) was a British motorcycle designer. He helped with some of the most influential designs for the British motorcycle industry and worked for Ariel, Norton, BSA and [Triumph Engineering Co|Triumph]].

  • Bert left school at an early age to work for Ariel under designer Val Page.
  • 1936 Following Jack Sangster's purchase of Triumph, he moved there under Edward Turner and helped to develop the design for the Triumph Speed Twin which influenced many motorcycles of the time and since.
  • 1947 His success led to an offer from rival manufacturer Norton in April 1947 where he designed the Norton Dominator engine. This came to a somewhat acrimonious end when the Technical Director refused to release the complete machine for production, despite Norton's financial situation. This was based on the allegation that the engine lacked power and the performance was below par as a result. It was subsequently produced with no alterations to the engine, after Hopwood had left the company.
  • May 1948 he joined BSA, which subsequently purchased [Triumph Engineering Co|Triumph]] in 1951.
  • April 1955 found him at Norton once more, still with Gilbert Smith as MD, but now under the aegis of AMC at Woolwich. When Smith retired in 1958 he and the financial director at Bracebridge Street, Alec Skinner, were allowed to get on with taking this part of AMC forward with much improved results. Together with Doug Hele, as Chief Engineer, good results were achieved. Sadly this was to no avail, as the parent company was in a situation which absorbed all the modest profits made by Norton and Francis-Barnett, the only really profitable members.
  • 1961 Recruited by Edward Turner, supposedly as his successor, Hopwood was installed as Triumph Director and general Manager.

Well-known machines he designed include the Norton Dominator, BSA A10 and the BSA Rocket 3/Triumph Trident

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