Charles Brazille and His Norvin

By Bev Bowen

From a Telephone Interview with Ray Brazille

 

In the '50s and '60s Charles W. Brazille of Ft. Worth was a well-known "Vincent Man" here in Texas. At the time of this writing (2011) Charles is no longer with us, but he is well remembered by members of the Iron Horse M/C Club of Ft. Worth; and his brother Ray was glad to share some information about Charles and also provided the pictures and the magazine source accompanying this feature.

 

According to Ray, Charles owned "several" Vincents over the course of perhaps 10 years, but he also owned other makes, including an old Ariel Square Four he brought back from his military days in Europe. The only pictures Ray could presently source were the 2 shown here featuring the Norvin he (Charles) built, in 1962. As you can see in the letter he wrote to the Editor at "Cycle World" (August, 1968 issue), he describes the extensive work he did, all quite impressive. Ray explained that Charles was quite the craftsman and for many years built high-end wooden furniture for wealthy homeowners in the North Texas area, and with motorized machinery he was equally skilled.

 

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C.W. Brazille with his Norvin

 

Charles sold the Norvin in the '60s and it went through several hands and then suffered at least a couple crashes, including an infamous tumble in the "canyon," a maze of highway megastructure in downtown Dallas. Eventually, the bike was parted out, but the modified frame, tank and other bike parts are on a shelf, locally.

 

So, with Charles Brazille and his Norvin, Vincents maintained visibility during the time they were between the closure of the factory in Stevenage and their collector status, today.

 

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C.W's Norvin

About Ray Brazille

 

Ray, the youngest of the 3 Brazille brothers, was not a Vincent owner but knew of the activities with Vincents back then, given that he worked at Pete Dalio's Triumph Shop and also Carlton Williamson's Indian/BSA/Vincent Shop for several years. Ray was more oriented to enduro racing and won many championships, including Texas State and several feature races in North Texas, including the "Wooly-Booger Enduro" sponsored by Jack Wilson's Triumph Shop of Dallas and the "Trail Breaker Enduro" sponsored by Johnny Allen's Triumph Shop. A friend of Jack Penton, Ray got an early 125cc Penton and modified it with a BSA Victor tank and people thought it was a BSA when he won the Texas State Championship! Ray went on to become a very successful manager with BSA in the USA and then had a Triumph dealership in the Tulsa area from about 1969 to 1986. A man successful in multiple areas, Ray is now a noted firearm expert who specializes in Smith & Wesson handguns. We thank Ray for sharing this information about his brother, Charles.

 

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Cycle World, August 1968

 

 


 

 

 

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Copyright 2011 by Bev Bowen