Better Than New: 1974 Norton VR880 Kenny Dreer Commando

1974 Norton VR880 L Side

The original resto-mod, the Kenny Dreer VR880 was basically a vintage Norton Commando with most of the quirks ironed out and all of the character left in. Unlike John Player, Kenny Dreer was an actual person, a vintage bike restorer with a shop in Portland, Oregon that specialized in British and Italian bikes.

1974 Norton VR880 Engine Detail

The VR880 was the culmination of his experience, a low volume “production” machine that was basically a ground-up restoration that featured modern components wherever possible for reliability, and a bored-out motor for thumping British power. The VR880 gave way to the 961SS before financial problems called a halt to the operation.

1974 Norton VR880 Rear Suspension

From the polished aluminum tank and tail to the vented primary cover, this thing just embodies the very best of what people love about classic British twins. I’d just change those very, very ugly white-faced gauges for something a little more traditional-looking.

1974 Norton VR880 Clocks

From the original eBay listing: 1974 Kenny Dreer VR880 Norton Commando for Sale

Up for sale is my 1974 Kenny Dreer VR880 Norton Commando that is all original and in outstanding condition with only 1,138.5 miles. Kenny Dreer built a total of 50 VR880’s and only 5 were built with aluminum tank, sidecovers and rear fender. Mine is one of the 5. I did a lot of research and found out the brother of the original owner of my bike ordered a VR880 from Kenny and had a bad accident and totaled the bike leaving only 4 aluminum built bikes remaining. The aluminum work was hand formed by Evan Wilcox. As you can see in the pictures I have all the original paperwork, the original purchase agreement signed by Kenny Dreer and the Serial number on the purchase agreement matches that of the bike, I also have the dyno test for the bike. The bike still has the original tires from when the bike was built. I believe there isn’t another VR880 with all the paperwork that goes along with it to be found. The bike should be in a museum or with a serious collector.

No arguing there. It’s certainly got a few nicks and bits of wear and tear, but patina is what many people want from a vintage British motorcycle, so that shouldn’t deter anyone from a purchase. As the seller indicates, these are very rare in any configuration and, while the price will be somewhere north of $14,000 when the dust settles, that’s a pretty fair price for a well-tuned and heavily updated Norton.


1974 Norton VR880 R Side

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5 Responses

  1. Why should it be in a museum or with a ‘serious collector’? Perhaps because there are unresolved problems? If it works as well as Dreer claimed, I’d want to ride the hell out of such a machine. I mean, who would commission a bike like this and only put 1100 miles on it? Was it always intended as a trophy?
    I find ‘serious collectors’ a curious breed – the ones who buy their dream, limited-edition machines and never use them. The more a bike was considered ‘collectible’ when introduced, the less likely it was to be ridden, hence all the low-mileage John Player Nortons and Ducati MHRs.
    It makes me wonder; do wealthy men not have sex with their ‘trophy’ wives? Why live with something hot, and not get down with it?
    Morning rant over.

  2. tad says:

    Ha! Well have a second cup of coffee and relax. I agree completely, although I also assume “serious collector” would encompass people who ride their bikes and don’t just admire them!

  3. Hegira says:

    Point the 1st; I’m in complete agreement with Mr. d’Orléans. If you have a bike like this, ride the ever-lovin’ snot out of it. Carefully, of course. . . .
    And point the 2nd; Tad, I thought you loved the white-faced gauges.

  4. tad says:

    Well, I normally do. Just not THOSE white-faced gauges… They look a bit too much like AutoMeter gauges out of a bad project muscle car.

  5. NoH2oh says:

    If not for Kenny Dreer there would not be the modern day UK based Norton. If only he had the $$$……..