up a level

Dunstall Motorcycles
The History of The Company

Back

Chapter One - The Early Years (1950's)

The first year after he left school, Paul Dunstall helped his father Arnold to build a dream bungalow on the slopes of a wooden hill in Erith, overlooking the Thames estuary. As a reward, Paul was taken into the family business selling scooters and mopeds. While his father sold 30 to 40 scooters a week, Paul managed a smaller shop up the road specialising in mopeds and light scooters.

Paul first got involved with motorcycles in 1955 when, at the age of 16, he obtained his first machine. It was an old MAC Velocette 350, which was fun to ride, but needed lots of care and attention to keep it going. Within a year, the old 350 has been replaced with a new 600cc Norton Dominator 99 which he immediately began modifying to achieve better performance.

In 1957, at the age of 18, Paul started his racing career. Needless to say, all the parts necessary to convert a road going Dominator into a competitive racer were not available as everybody preferred the Manx Norton single cylinder engine to the Dominator twin cylinder engine. Therefore all the parts had to be made and fitted by Paul. He took the silencers off and fitted a Manx gearbox and wheels. He also carefully prepared the engine incorporating his own ideas for improving the performance and reliability up to racing standards. He balanced the crankshaft and carefully re-assembled the engine. Other improvements over time included fitting the engine into a genuine Manx Norton Chassis.

Paul racing career was centred on Brands Hatch. Even though he was up against the more popular Manx Norton, he came 3rd in his first clubman's race at Thruxton, followed by two outright wins at Brands Hatch. After this he graduated to the expert class where he gained 3rd and 4th places in events at Brands Hatch, Cadwell Park, Silverstone, and Crystal Palace. It was obvious that the work he had done to convert his stock Dominator into a racer had been very successful, the machine ended up faster than many of the more conventional racing machines around at that time.

By the end of 1959, Paul had retired from racing simply because he found that he received greater satisfaction from preparing and modifying machines than he did from racing them. He had also got married to his wife Lynn. It was during this time Paul got to know a fellow racer Fred Neville well, and when Fred asked if Paul would build a Dominator for him to race, Paul was only too pleased to say yes. The bike was built in the scooter shop between working on customer's scooters. His Dominator kept on winning and in time it brought a few Norton owners into the shop.


www.woodgate.org/dunstall/chap1.html / Webmaster / Revised 24th February 2000