1959 NORTON DOMINATOR BACKGROUND Norton designed the legendary “Featherbed Frame” for the single-cylinder Manx racer in 1950. In 1953 they dropped the Model 7’s 500 twin-cylinder engine into the Featherbed frame, and created a new bike, the Norton Dominator, in fact a whole new line of bikes. As a 500, the Dominator was called the Dominator 88 or “Domi 88”. They punched it out to 600cc in 1956, creating the Dominator 99, and then again to 650cc in 1960, calling it the Dominator 650SS. The Featherbed frame, so-named because of it’s smooth ride, was state-of-the-art in its day, was light, rigid, and handled very well. So well, in fact, that many racers dropped other manufacturers’ engine into the featherbed creating all sorts of ‘hybrids’, such as the Triton (Triumph engine in a Norton frame), the Norvin (Norton frame with a Vincent V-twin engine), even a Norley (with Harley Sportster engine in the Norton frame). The point is that if you wanted a stellar-handling bike in the 1950s, you got a Featherbed. The last of the Dominator line, the Dominator 650SS went out of production in 1969, overlapping the introduction of its replacement, the game-changing Norton Commando that same year.