Beautifully restored 1971 Norton Commando 750 for sale

Presented by Speedart.

Stunning restoration of the iconic British hot rod in cafe racer style.

James Lansdowne Norton was born in Birmingham in 1869. He showed mechanical ability from an early age and made a model steam engine at the age of ten, but began his working life as an apprentice toolmaker in the jewelry business. However, he was interested in bicycle development and soon realized that his career was in engineering. James Norton founded The Norton Manufacturing Company aged 29 in 1898 at premises in Bradford Street, Birmingham. Initially supplying spare parts for bicycles, it evolved into fully assembled bicycles.

Norton met Charles Garrard, who worked for the French engine company Clément and in 1902 Norton made his first motorized motorcycle called the ‘Energette’ with a single cylinder 143 cc Clément engine made in Belgium. Norton also used larger capacity Moto Rêve V-twin engines from Switzerland and Peugeot engines from France.

In 1907 Rem Fowler entered a Norton motorcycle in the first Isle of Man TT race and won the twin class, starting Norton’s racing career. Pa Norton was on the island for this race to tend to the machine and act as pit attendant.

In 1909 Norton exhibited motorcycles with his own engine design at the Stanley Show, the Big Four Side Valve Single which remained in production until 1954. He then developed a prototype overhead valve engine in 1922 with which Dan O’Donovan set a new world record for the 500cc kilometer at 89 mph. A road bike, the Norton Model 18 was launched in 1923 and went on to become a best-seller, while also setting numerous records, including Alec Bennet’s victory in the Senior TT. James Norton was a great engineer but had difficulties with the business and his company went into liquidation in 1913, bought out by Bob Shelley, who owned a car accessories manufacturing business.

NORTON 004

Of the wide range of British motorcycles, only a few are considered genuine Hot Rods. Within this elite group, it is likely that none are more revered than the Norton Commando. Norton presented the Commando in 1967 at the Earls Court Show in the UK to rave reviews. Norton needed something to get the market raving; its product line had already shrunk from 16 to five models just five years before 1967, with the Commando leading the way.

Production of the machine was initially complex and localized in different parts of England, with engines produced in Wolverhampton, frames in Manchester, while components and final assembly were in Burrage Grove, Plumstead. In late 1968, the Plumstead works were put on a Greater London Council purchase order and closed in July 1969. With the help of a government grant, the assembly line was moved to North Way, Andover; with the test department in an aircraft hangar on Thruxton airfield. Frame manufacturing was transferred to Wolverhampton, where a second production line produced around 80 complete machines each week. Components and complete engines and gearboxes were also shipped overnight from Wolverhampton to the Andover assembly line.

The origins of the Commando engine date back to the late 1940s when the 497 cc (30.3 cu in) Norton Model 7 Twin was designed by Bert Hopwood. The twin-cylinder design evolved into the 600cc, then the 650cc Manxman and Dominator until it was replaced by the 750cc Atlas before being launched as the 750cc Commando in 1967.

The new Commando featured a rubber-mounted 745cc Atlas engine in an all-new chassis. The new model got off to a quick start with the media, as Motor Cycle News named it Motorcycle of the Year in 1968,

The transmission retained the pre-unit Norton 4-speed gearbox with a new diaphragm clutch and triplex primary drive. These were housed in a new alloy cover which had a single bolt fixing. The gearbox was reinforced and the clutch plates replaced with sintered bronze on the introduction of the 850 engine. A hydraulic primary chain tensioner was introduced for the Mk3 850 and the chaincase cover was been replaced with a 12-bolt fixing in an attempt to fix oil leaks.

NORTON 015

The Commando used the Isolastic frame designed by Bauer, Hooper and Trigg. The Roadholder forks were carried over from the Atlas, as were the mufflers. An 8 in (200 mm) tls front brake which was an option on earlier models was fitted. A new fiberglass tank that tapers towards the rear was fitted and matched with a combination seat/rear fender. The front of the seat had two “wings” that extended from either side of the tank.

Speedart Motorsports is pleased to offer this remarkable motorcycle, presented in turn-key condition, and an opportunity not to be missed, for your consideration.

Motobiography

Chassis #147727 is a number match example that was modified by Wasted Spark Motorcycles in East Topsham, Vermont in the style of a Café Racer inspired by the contemporary Production Racer produced from 1970 to 1972. The eight year build that was completed in 2012 included the installation of a fiberglass body finished in yellow with a black racing saddle as well as an overhaul of the 745cc parallel twin using a Megacycle camshaft, electronic ignition and carburettors Amal replacement. Additional equipment includes a rebuilt four-speed gearbox, clips, rearsets, oil pressure gauge, chrome reverse cone mufflers, Hagon shock absorbers and alloy wheels.

The fuel tank, front fender and rear cowl were finished in canary yellow at Ray Atwood’s Cycle in Bolton, Vermont. Features include matching side covers, stainless steel rear fender, chrome headlight bucket, rearsets, black vinyl racing seat and center stand with cadmium plated mountings. The rims of Excel beaded alloy paired with Buchanan anodized stainless steel spokes wear Avon Speedmaster tires measuring 3.50×19″ at the front and 4.00×19″ at the rear. Braking is provided by drums at both ends with an 8-inch double vented front shoe up front. Suspension is provided by a telescopic fork with black rubber bellows as well as Hagon Road & Classic shock absorbers mounted on the swingarm. The front brake light switch is noted as inoperative and there is no switch for the rear.

NORTON 014

The number 147727 on the headstock plate matches the last six digits of the number stamped on the motor housing.

Chrome 35mm clip-on handlebars are mounted below the upper triple clamp. A Smiths 150mph speedometer and matching tachometer with a 7k rpm redline are mounted to the fork tops while a fluid-filled oil pressure gauge is bolted to the upper clamp. The five-digit odometer shows a shy reading of 22,000 miles, a handful of which have been driven since construction was completed.

The 745cc parallel twin breathes through a pair of replacement 30mm Amal Mk II concentric carburettors and chrome twin manifold pipes that flow into reverse cone mufflers sourced from the Norvil Motorcycle Company in England. An overhaul of the engine during construction included:

  • Cylinders bored and lapped first
  • Replaced pistons and rings
  • Valve work with replacement guides
  • Ground rod journals
  • Floor pushers
  • Camshaft followers resurfaced
  • 33mm intake manifolds fitted
  • Megacycle camshaft
  • Lucas Rita electronic ignition
  • Superblend crankshaft roller bearings
  • Wiring harness replaced

The motorcycle comes with the owner’s manual and a full documentation package including the restoration process, supported by photographs, receipts, maintenance records etc.

Speedart Motorsports welcomes all serious inquiries as we would like to invite all interested parties to our gallery and to see this British icon up close and personal with its glorious twin soundtrack, reminiscent of a bygone era.


NORTON 005

Disclaimer

While Speedart Motorsports, LLC. (“We”) make sincere efforts to contain accurate and complete information, we are aware that errors and omissions may occur. We are therefore unable to guarantee the accuracy of any such information and we accept no liability for any loss or damage resulting from misleading information or for any reliance you may place on the information contained in this website. We strongly recommend that you examine the vehicle to verify the accuracy of the information provided. If you have any questions regarding information on our website, please contact us at [email protected] This disclaimer does not affect your statutory rights.

About Lillian Coomer

Check Also

Team Land Cruiser Toyota Auto Body aims for 10th consecutive T2 victory in Dakar

While the T2 class is generally overshadowed by its other four-wheeled T1 counterparts, Team Land …