Tagged: Norton

Old Yellow: 1971 Norton 750cc Production Racer for Sale

1971 Norton Commando Racer L Side

Phil Schilling was an ex-racer most famous for being the editor of Cycle magazine and for his involvement in the creation and racing of the classic hot-rod Ducati named Old Blue. But as with any good motorcycle enthusiast, his tastes were varied, and apparently this bright yellow Norton Commando production racer was built to his specifications.

1971 Norton Commando Racer R Side Engine

Norton’s old-school approach to motorcycle construction may not have been cutting-edge at the time, but means that they’re relatively simple to work on, many parts are interchangeable between models [see: Triton], and plenty of the reliability issues can be addressed with updated parts or regular attention. And while many bikes at the time boasted more advanced specification and design, Nortons were fast, powerful, and handled well.

1971 Norton Commando Racer Dash

A steady increase in displacement to keep Norton’s power competitive with rivals and appeal to US buyers meant unacceptable levels of vibration. Parallel-twins are extremely compact and far simpler to manufacture than v-twins, but they do tend to vibrate more when not fitted with modern luxuries like engine counter-balancers. By the time the Norton twin was punched out to the race-legal 745cc likely found in this bike, vibration was enough of an issue that a solution was needed. Instead of rubber-mounting the bars, pegs, seat, and anything else that might interact with the rider, their innovative Isolastic system used a system of rubber mounts to insulate the engine itself. It works great when properly set up but, like all rubber bushings, they need regular attention: worn Isolastics can mean scarily unpredictable handling.

1971 Norton Commando Racer Kick

From the original eBay listing: 1971 Norton 750cc Production Racer for Sale

The ex-Phil Schilling 1971 Norton Commando 750cc Production Racer, Fully Documented, to AMA 750 Spec, 1 of 1!

Frame #: 145102 Engine #: 145102

Its innovative vibration-beating Isolastic frame enabled the Commando to prolong the life of Norton’s aging parallel twin. Launched in 1967, the model was an instant hit with the motorcycling public, being voted Motor Cycle News ‘Machine of the Year’ for five consecutive years. A true ‘skunkworks’ project, the Production Racer was introduced for 1971 and hand-assembled at Norton race manager Peter Inchley’s famous ‘Long Shop,’ a hangar at the old Thruxton air base. A homologation special built for little more than one season to qualify for various 750cc road racing series, the street-legal ‘Proddy Racer’ was the fastest/quickest Commando made, capable of 130mph as delivered with a list price double that of standard Commandos. Credit for the performance goes to the blueprinted engine, meticulously assembled with high-compression pistons, factory 3S racing camshaft, ported cylinder head, larger valves and polished internals, good for at least an additional 10bhp over an assembly-line Commando. Handling likewise was improved upon thanks to test rider Peter Williams, also an excellent development engineer, who could simply throw open the hangar doors and commence to hot-lapping the adjacent Thruxton race circuit. It certainly did the bike’s credibility not one iota of harm when Williams and co-rider Charlie Sanby took a Production Racer to victory in the 1970 Thruxton 500 endurance race.

While records aren’t definitive, it is believed that fewer than 200 Production Racers were made, perhaps as few as 120.

The example on offer here, is a tad more special than the average, incredibly rare Norton Proddie Racer. The bike was built for Executive Editor of Cycle magazine and famed racer, Phil Schilling. A great collector of classic machines, Schilling sensed the collectability of the Norton, so had Peter Williams personally build him the ultimate iteration of the ultimate Commando.

The engine is much wilder than that of the standard Production Racer, with a host of trick parts. The engine was built to the same specification of Williams’ AMA750cc Class Special with Norvil ‘Triple S’ cams, high 10.25:1 compression pistons, big 32mm Amal Concentric carbs and twin megaphone exhausts. A Quaife five-speed gearbox replaced the standard item.

Fork sliders and internals have been reworked for superior damping, while the swingarm bushing was totally revised, and the arm itself was lengthened. A 6-gallon gas tank replaces the standard Production Racer item.

The bike was extensively tested by Peter Williams on the Thruxton track before delivery in August of 1971.

This amazing piece of Norton history is accompanied by a letter from Norton Villiers’ Chairman, R. D. Poore to Cook Nielson at Cycle magazine discussing the delivery of the “Schilling Norton”, original spec sheets from Norton, and the magazine article, scans attached to the listing.

I have confirmed the factory records, which say that Engine/Frame number 145102 was recorded as a racer, dispatched to Berliner, the US distrivutor, on August 4th, 1971.

This irreplaceable historically significant bike has been on static display in a very prominent collection of high-end motorcycles, and, as such, some re-commissioning will need to be undertaken before returning to the track.

There’s very little time left on the listing, with a Buy It Now price of $29,000. That’s obviously huge money for a Norton Commando but, if the seller is to be believed, this is a one-of-a-kind motorcycle and would easily cost that much just to build a replica, ignoring the historic value. It’s tough to put a value on such a rare machine but, with no offers yet, this one might be priced just a bit too high. Certainly, the link to Schilling is pretty cool, but collectors seem to value actual race history and that may be affecting the sale on this one. Hopefully, the right buyer will find and prep this bike for some vintage racing. It’s what Phil would have wanted I’m sure.

-tad

1971 Norton Commando Racer R Side

Ahead of Its Time: 1974 John Player Norton Commando for Sale

1974 Norton Commando JPN Fairing Front

You’d be forgiven for not realizing that this very strange-looking John Player Norton Replica is, under the skin, a Commando: buyers didn’t know quite what to do with this at the time, either. It’s a bit of an evolutionary “missing link” in terms of sportbike design, effectively bridging the gap between earlier bullet-like dustbin fairings and modern designs as seen on the first-generation GSX-R750. Cutting-edge design unfortunately cuts both ways: while theoretically new ideas should excite consumers, manufacturers always run the risk that their revolutionary machines will actually alienate their core audience. Take the Pierre Terblanche-styled Ducati 999 for example: the bike was, in virtually every way, an improvement over the beloved 916 and the design was a complete departure for Ducati. The 999 is finally, grudgingly being accepted as a classic design but when new it was too much of a departure, too new, too alien to be the follow up Ducatisti were waiting for. And sales were disappointing.

1974 Norton Commando JPN R Fairing

The John Player Norton Replica suffered a similar fate. Named after the famous British tobacco company, the few made didn’t find an audience at first and some languished unsold for years. Keep in mind that the whole concept of collectable motorcycles is relatively new, and few people were interested in race-replicas or limited editions. On the upside, if the odd styling captures your imagination, this should offer no real challenge to ride and maintain: aside from gearing changes to take advantage of the bike’s improved top-speed potential, the bike is basically a stock Norton Commando.

1974 Norton Commando JPN L Tank

It uses the 828cc version of Norton’s famous parallel-twin engine and four-speed box found in the 850 Commando. A short-stroke 750 was also available for buyers that planned to race their machines in the US, although I’ve never seen one come up for sale and I’m not sure exactly how many of the 200 total machines took advantage of this option.

1974 Norton Commando JPN L Seat

From the original eBay listing: 1974 John Player Norton Commando for Sale

Very, very nice John Player Special. These do not come up very often. Many, many more vintage motorcycle available…

The seller then goes on to list a number of other vintage machines they have available. Which is great, but a bit of that space could have been used to answer some questions about this machine: does it run? What work, maintenance, or upgrades have been done to the bike in question? Aside from the fact that it has 12,465 miles on it so we know it’s not been sitting its whole life, we’re left to guess. I’m sure the seller is probably expecting prospective buyers to ask appropriate questions. But although these are pretty rare, with just 120 shipped to the US, they’re not impossible to find, and many buyers want to do their initial research without having to reach out to the seller. It’d also be great to see some better pictures of this very distinctive machine, although the close-up shots do show some great detail and give a pretty good idea of the overall condition.

-tad

1974 Norton Commando JPN L Fairing

Frisky Featherbed: 1965 Norton Atlas for Sale

1964 Norton Dominator L Side

Often overlooked in favor of the more rakish Commando and more famous Triumph Bonneville, the Norton Atlas offers familiar British twin strengths with its own particular charms. The parallel twin may be the perfect motorcycle powerplant. Compact, simpler, and easier to package than a v-twin or inline-four, smoother and more sophisticated than a single, the layout was used extensively by the British biking industry in the 1960s and 1970s. Unfortunately, the layout’s Achilles heel is vibration, especially in larger displacement applications.

1964 Norton Dominator Engine

Certainly vibration was an issue as Norton’s twins grew past 500cc, eventually necessitating the Commando’s innovative Isolastic frame, but handling certainly wasn’t a problem for the Atlas: it was fitted with the famous “featherbed” frame, so named after racer Harold Daniell described the 1950 racebike that originally used a similar design as being so smooth and comfortable it was “like riding on a featherbed.”

1964 Norton Dominator Dash

Today’s example has been well-maintained and features some appropriate, period-correct updates and modifications along with tons of character and patina.

1964 Norton Dominator Primary

From the original eBay listing: 1965 Norton Atlas for Sale

This auction is for a very good example of a great British motorcycle, don’t overlook the Atlas model: they are very sought after on the other side of the pond and my personal experience has been that it has out performed my other similar Brit twins, Triumphs and BSAs included.

It is still a low mileage mostly original bike even has  the std size factory dished top pistons for low compression are still in their noticed them when I decarbonized the top end also that is the original seat covering in place.

Here is a list of repairs and up-grades that I have done since I owned the bike and It probably has only covered 7k afterwards(other bikes to ride)

6 start oil pump drive, cam chain replaced, mag chain replaced, oil distribution seal for crank changed, gearbox sprocket  changed, solid state voltage regulator, Boyer dual coil, 1968 Commando distributor in place of magneto with electronic ignition now starts with key.

Bob Newby primary belt drive, best on the market, cost $780 eliminated oil leaks from the badly designed steel primary cover and as an added benefit bike has less vibration also changed to the newer laminated style stator. Norvil pushrod seal conversion insures clutch stays dry.

Clutch now has a sweet take up and very light lever pull. 

If you are a  collector the Frame and Engine numbers do match. 

This  motorcycle is a collectible model that won’t depreciate with its slim line “featherbed frame” really is a joy to ride, extremely stable for a classic bike and can handle  100 mile weekend  day rides in the summer months even on the highway with no over-heating!

1964 Norton Dominator Front Wheel

The seller also includes a list of some original parts that are included. It’s obviously been enthusiast-owned and well cared for, although with no takers at the $5,500 starting bid, the seller may be aiming high, even considering the condition.

-tad

1964 Norton Dominator R Side

Working Class Hero: 1958 Triton for Sale

1958 Triton L Side

One of my favorite things about motorcycles is the seeming endless ways there are to mix and match parts to create new machines. Chain drive and fairly simple frames mean that it’s no big deal to say, sling an RD400 motor into the old GS500E you have lying around. But while many of these creations are born of necessity or just to see if it can be done, the classic Triton was a very functional motorcycle that actually managed to achieve some legitimacy among the motorcycling community.

1958 Triton R Side Engine

The Triton was a hybrid that used a Triumph parallel-twin engine and the famously excellent-handling Norton “featherbed” frame to create a seriously nimble motorcycle with good power and endless tuning potential. It also happens to be the name of the half-man, half-fish son of Poseidon in Greek mythology, something that the motorcycling community has sadly not capitalized on.

1958 Triton Dash

The choice of a Triumph engine might seem odd at first. After all, in stock form, it was actually a bit more powerful than the Triumph. But the Norton’s longer-stroke engine had a much higher piston speed and was considered less reliable, and a wealth of performance parts and tuning expertise were available for the Triumph as well.

1958 Triton L Side Engine

Interestingly, the non-unit design of both bikes meant that either four-speed gearbox could be used, although the Norton’s was generally considered superior. Really, all it took to make a Triton was a couple of donor bikes and a set of engine/transmission mounting plates, so it wasn’t too difficult to build one if you were reasonably competent with a set of tools, and plenty of these were built then and are being built today, so “authenticity” is hard to define and hard to verify.

From the original eBay listing: 1958 Triton for Sale

Ultimate Cafe Racer

1958 Norton Featherbed frame (Model 88)

1971 Triumph T120R engine with 4 speed transmission.

  • Unity Special Equipe UNAX2 Polished aluminum, Lyta style, 3 Gallon Short Circuit fuel tank.
  • Unity Wideline oiltank w/ battery holder
  • Unity Wideline Seat
  • Unity Fiberglass Fenders
  • Gold Star Silencers
  • Converta Engine plates
  • 4 Leading shoe Brake hubs
  • Akront Rims laced by Hagon
  • Far too many parts to list them all. For more information please feel free to contact us with your inquiries. 
  • Clocks show 269 Miles. Actual mileage is unknown. 
  • Was acquired from a museum. Rides and sounds wonderful. 

1958 Triton R Side Rear

I don’t know all that much about Tritons, but I know enough to know that they naturally vary a bit from bike to bike, since there’s no such thing as a “factory” example. These really do take the best bits and incorporate them into one of the most beautiful bikes of the era: everything is on display here, and looks purposefully industrial, but hand-crafted and decorative at the same time… So far, bidding is very slow, with the Reserve Not Met at $5,000 which is obviously well below where I expect this to sell, but maybe someone will manage to scoop a bargain with this one…

-tad

1958 Triton L Side Riding

Perfect Recreation: 1961 Norton Manx Replica for Sale

1961 Norton Manx Replica R Front

For many vintage motorcycle enthusiasts, the Commando is what first springs to mind when you mention Norton. But while that bike was stunning to look at and fast, its design wasn’t really cutting-edge, even when new. For vintage racing fans however, the name Norton probably conjures up images of this bike, the Norton Manx, a bike whose technical specification set the standard for privateer racing in a career that spanned 20 years, an almost impossible-to-imagine longevity in a sport where last year’s bike isn’t a classic, it’s just slow.

1961 Norton Manx Replica R Side Rear

The single-cylinder engine came in two flavors: 500 and 350cc’s. Both used reliable and precise bevel drive and tower shafts to work the dual overhead cams. But while the engine was sophisticated and reasonably powerful, it was just part of the picture and far from the bike’s defining characteristic. Instead, it was the bike’s “featherbed” frame that was the standout feature. The innovative frame was lightweight, stiff, and featured a swingarm rear for excellent roadholding that allowed it to compete against much more powerful machines.

1961 Norton Manx Replica Dash

Christened the Featherbed frame by racer Harold Daniel who described the experience of racing the bike like “riding on a featherbed.” That’s obviously a far cry from the “riding on a bedframe” experience of most motorcycles built when motorcycle frame technology was still in its infancy. But amazingly, the Manx was still winning races almost ten years later…

1961 Norton Manx Replica L Side Engine

So the bikes were stone-axe reliable, nimble, and made decent power, making them hugely versatile tools for the wide variety of events held during that period. In fact, the folks at Molnar will still be happy to build you a perfect replica of the original Manx today, if you have the cash…

From the original eBay listing: 1961 Norton Manx Replica for Sale

I have for sale here a “new” Norton Manx Replica.  This bike was built in the image of a 1961 Manx.  The bike is a re-creation, built to modern standards.  I am relisting the motorcycle with lower Buy It Now and lower reserve.  It was previously listed as a 1962 Manx Replica but Andy Molnar pointed out the single-sided brake is proper for 1961 and earlier, not 1962.

The bike’s features are:

  • New, never run, Molnar Precision Limited 500 cc. DOHC motor.  I have a copy of the original build sheet.
  • Believed new Mick Hemmings Quaife 5 spd. transmission.
  • New Molnar Precision Lightweight beltdrive
  • New Featherbed frame produced by Andover Norton
  • Newly strung alloy wheels, built by Buchanan on proper period magnesium hubs, all new bearings/axles
  • New Ken McIntosh oil and fuel tanks
  • New tachometer 
  • New Amal GP carburetor and Matchbox floatbowl
  • New controls including levers, throttle, rearsets and all cables
  • New seat
  • New exhaust pipe and megaphone
  • Number plates are alloy, not plastic, and new
  • All new nuts and bolts, proper Manx rifle-drilled where appropriate.  The number plate and fender bolts are aerodynamic stainless from Racing Norton
  • Rebuilt, period correct Featherbed forks, new internals, new rear suspension units
  • New alloy fenders
  • New fairing and windscreen

This bike has recently been professionally completed and as noted, has not been run, in respect for its “new” condition.  The Molnar motor was factory equipped with a PVL electronic racing ignition hidden in the stock magneto housing, and initial timing was set at the factory.  (NOTE:  If you intend to purchase this motorcycle to race in a class that prohibits electronic ignitions, I do have a newly rebuilt Lucas magneto that is available separately.)

Andy Molnar is well aware of this motor and will be pleased to discuss it with a purchaser.  The initial cost of the motor is roughly half the Buy It Now price.

An individual purchasing this motorcycle to display will be pleased with the beauty of the bike and the quality of construction and the fact that there has never been petrol or oil in the tanks (I believe this makes international shipping easier as well).  A racer acquiring the bike to compete will need to safety-wire as required by sanctioning bodies.

1961 Norton Manx Replica Shifter

Keep in mind that, in this case, “replica” is underselling it a bit. Molnar makes what are basically recreations of the original Manx bikes, similar to “continuation” Cobras. They’re the real deal in every way, except that they weren’t built fifty years ago. In many ways, this is actually more desirable to anyone who wants to use the bike in anger, since they won’t be risking an irreplaceable piece of racing history and will get a very authentic experience racing one of the most perfectly designed and executed motorcycles of all time.

-tad

1961 Norton Manx Replica L Side

Faster! Faster! Supercharged and Fuel Injected 1974 Norton 850 Commando

1974 Norton Commando SC L Side

Introduced in 1967 and displacing 745cc’s with pre-unit construction that was rather unimpressive in specification, Norton’s Commando was a development of the Atlas and distinguished by its simple but effective “Isolastic” engine-mounting system that allowed for the needed increase in displacement without the associated increase in paint-shaker vibrations. The Commando’s rakish leaned-over engine was largely a visual update to the engine, although Norton also claimed an improved center of gravity and increased space for carburetors and airbox.

1974 Norton Commando SC L Engine

So for vintage biking fans, the Norton Commando has it all: decent power, classic good looks, a great soundtrack, and tons of aftermarket and community support. All it really needs is a bit more poke and something to make it just that bit more exotic so it stands out in a crowd.

1974 Norton Commando SC Dash

Kawasaki have gotten a lot of ink recently with the introduction of their supercharged H2 and H2R bikes. While there have been a number of production turbocharged motorcycles, supercharging generally seems to suit motorcycles a bit better: the performance is more linear and the plumbing is much simpler.

1974 Norton Commando SC R Rear

Simply: a supercharger is generally belt-driven off the crankshaft and works as an air pump to cram more fuel/air mixture into the engine than would be available at normal atmospheric pressure. Technically, a turbocharger is also a type of supercharger, but is driven by exhaust gas instead of a belt, meaning power is determined by throttle-opening and revs. Turbos are a great way to get “free” horsepower, but since turbos are driven by exhaust gasses, you have to route all that air from the exhaust to the turbo and back into the engine. Something that’s generally not such a big deal with cars, but often difficult and very inconvenient on a bike.

1974 Norton Commando SC Oil Cooler

This particular Norton 850 Commando is fitted with a period Drouin supercharger unit. Period tests saw north of 100hp, up from the approximately 60hp produced by the stock unit. Early versions used a side-valve carburetor that apparently leaked, so this later, fuel-injected setup should be a big improvement.

From the original eBay listing: Supercharged and Fuel Injected 1974 Norton 850 Commando for Sale

A 1974 Norton 850 SC Commando with 13,669 original miles. A series of tasteful custom features adore this wonderful street bike. They include the following; Competition Fairing, Full instrumentation Package, Wickedly Beautiful Black Paint, Corbin Gun Fighter Seat, Carry On Tool Kit, Light Weight Front Fender, Back Dated & Vented Front Drum Brake, Custom Oil Lines, Twin Oil Coolers and the incredibly Rare Drouin Super Charger with Fuel Injection. 

The Drouin unit, Slide Throttle Fuel Injection unit and the Instrument Package were after market item that could have been purchased in the 1970’s, through the Norton dealer. The Drouin Super Charger and the Slide Throttle Fuel Injection unit are fully operational and produces amazing and quick 100 HP. The Fuel Injected Slide Throttle system was the very last iteration of the Drouin Super Charged series intake systems, therefore, being the most advanced and powerful. Upon riding this custom Norton there is sense of amazement in the additional torque and power that comes from the bike. It runs properly and smoothly. The shifting in precise and positive. The brakes are quite ample in bringing this bike to a halt. The tire have some age on them, but are quite usable. The fuel tank interior has been cleaned and sealed. 

The rear fender has some small dimples and a little discoloring. There is some very minor pitting on the wheels, a 1/8″ hole that had been drilled through the front, between the forks. Otherwise, this Norton 850 SC was shown recently at the prestigious “Riding Into History” Motorcycle show in May and was judged as a first runner up in the all Norton class, next to a very well known, twin engine Bonneville Norton. A spare Super Charger Drive Belt is included with the sale of the Norton, as well as an original Drouin Super Charger Manual.

1974 Norton Commando SC L Rear

Drouin superchargers are desirable period mods should add significantly to the performance and value of this bike. Bidding is very active at this point, with several days left on the auction. I’m thinking this would make for a possibly fiddly, but very rewarding motorcycle. I’d love to hear that classic British twin noise with a supercharger whine laid over the top!

-tad

1974 Norton Commando SC Front

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.

-tad

1974 Norton VR880 R Side

Vintage Rider: 1964 Triton for Sale

1964 Triton L Side Rear

It’s interesting that a bastardized hybrid like the Triton could become such an iconic classic motorcycle. It’s an anecdotal observation, but it seems that engine swaps are more acceptable among the motorcycling fraternity than they are in the automotive world. Certainly, there are subcultures of swappers and hot-rodders putting all sorts of engine into cars, regardless of make or model. But they’re looked at a bit askance by more “cultured” enthusiasts… Not so much in the motorcycling world, it seems like. Maybe it’s that motorcycles are easier to work on, more modular. Or maybe it’s that the engines and parts are generally less durable, meaning owners are more likely to have replaced some or all of the original components through attrition…

1964 Triton R Side

The Triton used Triumph’s famous parallel-twin engine and Norton’s justifiably famous “featherbed” frame, combining what was considered to be each bike’s strongest feature and turning them into a high-performance motorcycle: virtually the only custom parts needed to build one were custom engine and transmission mounting plates. Although some established shops built, and continue to build these, many were built in sheds by your average Joe Enthusiast.

1964 Triton L Side Front

Power wasn’t an issue for Norton’s parallel-twin engine, in fact it actually had a bit of an advantage over the Triumph in stock form. But the long-stroke Norton engine was pushing what was considered at the time to be the limits of acceptable piston speed, and the more “square” Triumph engine was more durable by far, and could be easily tuned. The pre-unit construction of both bikes even made it easy to keep the Norton four-speed box that was considered the better choice of the two, although some used the Triumph transmission.

1964 Triton R Side Engine

From the original eBay listing: 1964 Triton for Sale

Good running motorcycle. Its been very reliable and has never given me issues or failed to get me to my destinations. It’s not perfect cosmetically, it’s not a show bike so if that’s what you want then this bike is not for you. Fiberglass tank is solid but paint has some scratches. Fiberglass oil tank is nice, and fiberglass seat is solid but leather cover has some scuffs here and there. The frame is a 1964 Norton Atlas, and powder coated, both front and back fenders are too for that Manx look. Both 19″ Rims and spokes are brand new, laced to a front TLS and rear brake. Avon tires are new too. Forks are rebuilt, new bushings and seals. Swing arm has copper bushings. The ’65 T100R Daytona unit engine has about 3000 miles since rebuilt, converted to single carb. The right side header has a weld due to hairline crack few years ago, it’s been solid since. I consider this bike my daily rider, it’s been garaged these last couple of years. Reason for selling..??.. Now a dad!

This Triton runs very well. The TLS brake does have the backing plate bracket that helps stop this bike well! 

1964 Triton Front Brake

If this were mine, I’d want to source a couple of appropriate Smiths gauges, and I understand that the “twin carburetor” configuration is the hot set-up, but I expect the single carb improves rideability. I’m also not clear on when the bike was originally built: was the recent work a refresh of a vintage Triton build, or was it a more recent conversion? Either way, the seller freely admits this is no show bike, and personally that’s how I like them. These will always need more attention than a modern machine, but it speaks volumes that the seller considers this a “daily rider.”

-tad

1964 Triton R Side Front

No Haters: 1974 John Player Norton 850 in Denmark

1974 JPN L Front

In spite of all the race-replica motorcycles named after their riders like this week’s Eddie Lawson Replica Kawasaki, the John Player Norton was not actually named after a particular rider. It was named after the British tobacco company that sponsored Norton’s race teams and the distinctive looks effectively bridge the 1960’s half-fairing sportbike style of the Ducati Super Sport and the later, fully-faired GSX-R750.

1974 JPN R Side

For the most part, it’s a Norton Commando under the skin and features the same strengths and weaknesses of those bikes. The main changes were cosmetic, with the wild, twin-headlamp bodywork and solo-seat tail section. Road-going examples used Norton’s standard 828cc parallel-twin and four-speed gearbox, although an optional short-stroke 750cc version was available for US race classes.

This one looks to be in excellent shape, and is fitted with the road-oriented “850,” rather than the short-stroke engine, and is currently located in Denmark.

1974 JPN L Rear

From the original eBay listing: 1974 John Player Norton 850 for Sale

This is a very, very cool bike.

Up for your consideration is a 1974 Norton John Player 850.  (It’s kind of like a Commando but my boss says don’t call it that…)

From the sales brochure:

“Limited production run of this eye-catching luxury machine for the connoisseur.  Powered either by the high torque 850 unit to provide outstanding flexibility for the highways or by the 750 c.c. short-stroke high output engine as a base for competition.  White fibreglass fairings give the same aggressive appearance as the machines which carried the Norton name to yet one more victory in the 1973 Isle of Man T.T.  This model offers the ultimate in exciting high performance motorcycling combining style with comfort, speed and safety.”

“Features Twin double-dip headlamps with halogen light units if required; high output alternator with twin zener diode charge control.  Rear set footrests, brake and gearchange pedals; clip-on handlebars.  3½ gallon (15 litre) steel petrol tank.  Access to flip cap through quick-release cover in the styling.  Access to steel oil tank by lifting seat panel.”

This bike comes from a good a respectable home where it has accrued only 12,198 original miles over its lifetime.

1974 JPN Dash

While somewhat awkward in appearance, the JPL has undeniable presence and is historically significant, an evolutionary step to the sportbikes of today. Approximately 200 are believed to have been made in 1974, their only year of manufacture. At the time, they were not especially desirable and were difficult for dealers to unload but this, as so often seems to be the case, simply makes them rarer and more valuable now.

There’s very little time on this auction, so move quickly if this strikes your fancy!

-tad

1974 JPN L Side

Clean Commando: 1969 Dunstall Norton 750

1969 Norton Dunstall R Front

Today, we have a very clean Dunstall Commando 750 . The seemingly modular nature of British motorcycles of the 1960’s allowed for a dizzying number of permutations: compact singles and parallel twins from Norton and Triumph fitted to frames from either manufacturer, with non-unit gearboxes that allowed additional installation flexibility… And that’s before outside companies like Dunstall and Rickman got into the act, with purpose-built racing and road machines so different from the donor bikes that they were sometimes considered manufacturers in their own right.

1969 Norton Dunstall L side

After getting his start customizing and then racing a Norton Dominator in the late 1950’s, mating the twin-cylinder engine with a Norton Manx gearbox and frame, Paul Dunstall parlayed his unlikely success with the hybrid machine into a business producing a range of tuning parts for British twins.

Instead of focusing on frames like other British businesses, Paul Dunstall tuned engines and offered a range of bolt-on parts to improve performance, as well as completely built machines based on various British brands.

1969 Norton Dunstall Dash

Although complete bikes fit into general “levels” of performance and customization, there were many options in the Dunstall catalog, and no two bikes are exactly alike. This particular bike has twin discs at the front, although the seller does mention that the original drum is included with the sale, so you can make that switch to old-school aesthetics if you like. The twin-disc set up was available from Dunstall, so the current set up is period-correct and should provide reliable stopping if you plan to ride rather than display the bike.

1969 Norton Dunstall L Foot Control

The original listing includes details from the build sheet regarding the engine and options for the rest of the machine: 1969 Dunstall Norton Commando for Sale

Here we have a Genuine Dunstall 750 Commando that that received a complete restoration early this year.  I purchased this bike from the original owner who in 1981 completely disassembled it.  It remained in boxes since 81′ until I rescued it in 2011.  This is an original bike that was ordered from Dunstall’s 1968-1969 Catalogue.  I have the original build sheet that was provided to the new owner upon purchase.  You will also see a picture from a motorcycle magazine in the UK that featured a 69′ 750 Dunstall just like this one.
 
First I want to say that corners were not cut during this EXTENSIVE AND ALSO EXPENSIVE restoration.  These early frames had a weak spot where the top frame meets the neck.  They would crack and the factory had a recall on them.  This frame was not one of the bikes that received the upgrade so I had a professional welder do this.  Pictures of the upgrade are also available (before and after).  I replaced the red plastic brake lines for more modern braided lines.  Plastic red lines are also included.  Also included is the original early Dunstall Decibel 2-2 exhaust system. These are very rare and earlier than the famous 2-1-2 system.  They were originally black so I had the mufflers ceramic coated.  The pipes need new nuts and collars soldered back on.  They are are in pristine condition.  The seat covers still wears the original leather on top.  I had my upholstery guy remake a new cover using the original top side leather.
 all sides and red bead are new.
1969 Norton Dunstall Rear Hub
With five days left and bidding up to $7,900, there’s still plenty of time to get in on the action, and I’d expect bidding to go a good bit higher: this bike is in excellent condition and represents a high-water-mark for Dunstall in terms of style and performance. While Dunstall continued into the 1970’s and added Japanese manufacturers to its range, the Norton-based machines have a definite cachet.

-tad

1969 Norton Dunstall Cockpit