1968 Norton Commando


Every once in a while you find a motorcycle on eBay that is more them you, or the seller first thought. In some, if not most cases a buyer may take advantage. In the case of this 1968 Norton Commando, the “Ask the seller a question” feature have given the seller and possible buyers more information.

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First from the seller

This is the first year Commando and was originally British Racing Green. This bike has Amal carbs, Made in USA Dunlop tires. Has not been run for a long time but engine turns over and prior owner claimed he had periodically put oil in the cylinders. Engine kicks through OK with the kick starter. Shifting is one up, three down and on the right side of the bike.

Aside from the early custom paint work and non-stock air cleaners (if you ever tried to replace the paper filter on the original, you will understand why so many Commando owners have swapped them out.) Overall this is a very nice bike either for restoration back to stock or for restoration as an early 70’s custom bike.

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At the beginning this looked to be an early Norton Commando, with a wild paint job. First offered up by Norton in 1967, the Commando had grown from the 1940’s 500cc, then a 600cc and 650cc Dominator. Before the Commando, the Atlas engine had been punched out to  750cc, with all the shakes and vibration you could get out of an engine. Then a former Rolls-Royce engineer added some rubber donuts, and the Commando came to be.

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Added by the seller.

Several bidders have written me to inform me that this very early Norton Commando has original frame design without the later reinforcement tube to keep the frame from breaking. As a result of their e-mails, I have researched this as best I can. According to the Tech Digest of the International Norton Owners Club on page 4-2 of the December 1997 issue, “Very early Commandos, S/N 126125 through 129897, were produced without the small tube welded below the large backbone tube to the steering head and the front down tubes. The front down tubes on these machines tended to separate from the steering head. If your frame is of this type, either have the needed tube installed by a responsible frame shop or obtain a later model frame.”  They go on to say… “WARNING!  — THIS IS A VERY DANGEROUS SITUATION! DO NOT RIDE YOUR NORTON WITHOUT THIS FRAME REPAIR MADE TO YOUR FRAME! FAILURE TO DO SO WILL RESULT IN FRAME FATIGUE AT THE STEERING HEAD AND FRAME BREAKAGE!”

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When ever you find something that is original, even if it is dangerous, its going to be worth more. This 1968 Norton Commando seen to fit in the first and dangerous category, with one simple missing piece, retro fitted for safety, the collectability of this Commando has gone up. Despite the paint job. BB

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