1973 Norton Commando Combat Roadster for Sale
The Norton Commando is truly iconic motorcycle, the dream of countless “ton-up boys”, now grown to middle-aged men. Rarer and a little more rakish than Triumphs of the same era, its forward-canted cylinders and fastback styling dripped with class and the promise of speed.
This one appears gorgeously restored:
Prior to 1973, Nortons sported the motor immortalized in the Tom Waits’ song Hang on St Christopher: “there’s a 750 Norton bustin’ down January’s door…” But 1973 saw the introduction of the 850 [actually 828cc] version of the venerable pre-unit twin. The bump in displacement allowed similar power with less stressed engine internals, a good thing, considering the reputation of the earlier 750 Combat motors…
With a 10:1 compression ratio and 65hp, the Combat was introduced as the hot-rod version of the Commando, and the name proved unintentionally apt, with the high-compression motors regularly grenading spectacularly: main bearings and broken pistons were shockingly common. This widely-publicised disaster was another the nail in the coffin for Norton’s reputation and the company continued to spiral into debt, with the last machines rolling off the line in 1977.
The 850’s were introduced in the Spring of 1973 and, if the badging on the side-panel is correct, this Commando is a 750 produced earlier in the year. The seller is a fan of old British motorcycles, but is listing this on behalf of his brother’s widow:
This is a spectacular Commando that was given a complete, ground-up professional restoration by my late brother, and I am selling it on behalf of his wife.
The restoration was completed in 2008/09 and is correct to all specifications with the exception of the alloy tank, alloy wheels and stainless spokes and stainless rear mudguard, plus braided stainless brake lines. There are many new, better-than-original-quality parts.
I am a Velocette guy, but nothing I have ever ridden is as tight, responsive and sure as this bike. The handling is just as superb as the appearance. I’d love to have it for myself but the 7 bikes I already own make that impossible.
Technical details are spare, but the seller appears happy to answer any serious questions, and he’s posted pictures of what appears to be a very beautiful bike. From the work that’s gone into the restoration, I’d assume the motor’s been built to be far more durable than the original, and the Buy It Now price he mentions in the listing seems very fair.