1973 Norton 850 Dunstall with history

Update 2.18.2013: Previously listed in July of last year, this Norton Dunstall is back on Craigslist. Links updated. -dc

This was sent to us from a reader with the story how it came to be. Really I cannot add much to the story, so here it is from the seller.

In the beginning I had a 1968 Triumph Bonneville. I had to sell it to buy a car. A few years later I wanted a bike again and went shopping for another Triumph. In those days you went to bike shops to shop for bikes . So off I went to the only bike shop in town , Ross’s Harley Davidson to look for a Triumph! That day the only thing close was an old Norton commando. This was around 1978 and the Norton was a 1973 750 so it was 5yrs old but seemed much older, go figure. It was no Triumph but I bought it anyways. I never looked back from then on.

Not long after as I was cruising along the Mississippi on River Drive, in the opposite direction came another bike. I sure enough it was a Norton, we both did an about face. That was the beginning of my friendship with Merlin Johnson. Merlin was younger ,crazier a better wrench and rider. He was on a Commando, and had other bikes. This is where the Dunstall comes in. Later he would hang out with his 1973 850 Dunstall. It had a bigger counter shaft sprocket than my 19 toother, . We did a top out , I remember his clutch was slipping on the 850 but I had my 750 revd to the sky, trying to keep up as he kept waving is arm as to tell me “you’re going to blow it ,you dumb ass” We’ll life was throwing some curve balls to Merlin, as he didn’t like cops and they were always looking for him.It just got worse and worse. The big red fairing on the 850 Dunstall was pretty easy to spot, after several run aways he had to hide the bike . Things got even worse for ol’ Merlin, and I told him to just keep clean to about a year or so and everything will become bearable. His Mom confiscated the Commando.

He was left with another Dunstall that was a work in progress to which I was helping.We had dreams of racing it when it was done.. He killed himself I believe running away from cops on the unfinished 750 Dunstall. I was devastated but I also wanted to reach across the abyss and slap the shit out of him for being so stupid . He was so bright sometimes and it was a great loss. I got a call from his mom, afterwards ,he had loan out on the 850 Dunstall .She said that Merlin was afraid that the bank was going to reprocess the 850 Dunstall so he took it all apart .

That’s where it was sitting ,scattered all over his moms garage. She asked me to try to reassemble it. I said I would very much like to. It was good therapy putting my good friend’s bike back together and helping the family. After I was finished somehow the bank found out about the bike and reprocessed it. I found out about that episode somehow , maybe one of his brothers told me I don’t remember . But I do know I was fairly angry. I contacted the bank and made an offer to purchase the bike. After some legal s*&% it was mine.

And now it is up for sale and you can contact the seller through the craigslist add. BB

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1 Response

  1. jess says:

    WOW, what a story and history! I don’t know the owners reason for selling but its to bad he is selling it.