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John Player Special restoration project

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John Player Special restoration project

Postby grandpaul » Sat Nov 07, 2015 10:22 am

I just RE-acquired this '74 MkII JPN 850; it's been a long 17 years getting it back in my garage after an auspicious first go at owning it (long story).

I want to eliminate ANY doubt that this is indeed a JPN model. I have photos of several key parts of the bike that should provide clues, here they are...

Welded gas tank extension (topside has been smoothed over and tank is repainted)

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Gas tank cover with cap cover

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Rivet holes where original serial number plate once was (there are no holes on the steering neck)

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...
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Re: Eliminate doubt on this JPN

Postby grandpaul » Sat Nov 07, 2015 10:37 am

More clues-

Unique rearset footpegs

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Choke lever mounted on pipe stub in handlebar clamps

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Very limited JPN dual seat

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...
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Re: Eliminate doubt on this JPN

Postby grandpaul » Sat Nov 07, 2015 10:41 am

More clues-

Front/lower fairing mount bracket & muffler brackets

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Black chrome headers with regular chrome crossover pipe, shifter

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Frame part number stamping

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Left sidecover fixing

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...
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Re: Eliminate doubt on this JPN

Postby grandpaul » Sat Nov 07, 2015 10:45 am

There are plenty of non-definitive bits including the electrical controls, front brake master cylinder, Amal carb stampings, and box-type head steady (would JPN model have had another type?)

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Not sure at all about this front/top fairing mount...

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I would like to obtain some sort of affidavit / documentation based on whatever original factory records are available before I present it as a bona fide JPN model (if that is indeed possible). Any help is appreciated.
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Re: Eliminate doubt on this JPN

Postby grandpaul » Sat Nov 07, 2015 10:50 am

When I first owned it (however briefly), it had the un-finished, welded gas tank with the white cover on it, and the original (rusted out) black chrome bean can mufflers, no fairing and no seat.

The guy I bought it from was somehow convinced by a mutual friend that is was supposed to be a production racer and so he proceeded to obtain replica parts, thinking he'd get "thirty grand" (his words) for it.

So, here is how it sits in my garage, I added the little windscreen for the photos because it looks better than without it.

Image

Image

If anyone is able to obtain a definite determination based on the serial number, I can provide that off-line.
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Re: Eliminate doubt on this JPN

Postby L.A.B. » Sat Nov 07, 2015 11:12 am

http://www.andover-norton.co.uk/JRP/jrframes.htm

Image

06-6266 JPN Supplement, for Commando 850Mk2A. List covers the ca.300 JPN Replicas produced and integrates latest additions.
£4.95
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Re: Eliminate doubt on this JPN

Postby grandpaul » Sat Nov 07, 2015 11:17 am

Wouldn't it have to be down to a documented despatch of a particular series or list of serial numbers?
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Re: Eliminate doubt on this JPN

Postby L.A.B. » Sat Nov 07, 2015 11:22 am

grandpaul wrote:Wouldn't it have to be down to a documented despatch of a particular series or list of serial numbers?


Probably. I think Andover Norton would have that information-if it exists?


grandpaul wrote:Very limited JPN dual seat


None of the JPNs had a dual seat (or passenger footrests) originally as far as I'm aware, although I've seen similar style dual seats on used JPNs?
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Re: Eliminate doubt on this JPN

Postby grandpaul » Sat Nov 07, 2015 11:53 am

L.A.B. wrote:None of the JPNs had a dual seat (or passenger footrests) originally as far as I'm aware, although I've seen similar style dual seats on used JPNs?


The dual seat for JPN is actually a Gus Kuhn aftermarket part.
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Re: Eliminate doubt on this JPN

Postby Bob Z. » Sat Nov 07, 2015 11:55 am

Small point: The December 1974 Cycle magazine test on the John Player Special shows black chrome shock springs.

Your kick start lever looks correct.

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Re: Eliminate doubt on this JPN

Postby grandpaul » Sat Nov 07, 2015 12:06 pm

From Joe Seifert in an NOC forum post 6/27/12...

"Unfortunately, whilst I have some records that neither the NOC, not the VMCC have- original despatch ledgers- there are gaps, mainly the very late 750s (#235...; this includes the 750 short stroke engines) and most early 850s including all the Mk2As, and thus the JPNs. If anybody claims his JPN is verified by "the experts", forget it. Nobody can, unless the history of the bike can be proven from point of purchase till today."

So, I may be out of luck; although this bike has a lot going for it, like the steering neck undrilled. In fact, this may be a VERY important point.

Were ANY other '74 frames NOT DRILLED on the steering neck? Production Racers? (ended in '72, no?) Might be a strong argument right here.
Last edited by grandpaul on Sat Nov 07, 2015 12:28 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Eliminate doubt on this JPN

Postby L.A.B. » Sat Nov 07, 2015 12:07 pm

Bob Z. wrote:Small point: The December 1974 Cycle magazine test on the John Player Special shows black chrome shock springs.


I've never known Girlings to have "black chrome" springs? Black painted, yes (as it soon cracked and flaked off). :wink:
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Re: Eliminate doubt on this JPN

Postby dennisgb » Sat Nov 07, 2015 1:26 pm

grandpaul wrote:So, I may be out of luck; although this bike has a lot going for it, like the steering neck undrilled. In fact, this may be a VERY important point.


If you plan to restore it (which I think you will), then just assume it's authentic. Since the records don't show anything who's to question it?

There are methods to trace things back, or maybe the pieces of the puzzle will find you :-)

It looks like a cool bike no matter what.
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Re: Eliminate doubt on this JPN

Postby nortriubuell » Sat Nov 07, 2015 2:08 pm

Go for it !!! I think the JPNs are cool looking, even if its a "copy", or not even "all correct" ... I would not care one bit. 8)
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Re: Eliminate doubt on this JPN

Postby grandpaul » Sat Nov 07, 2015 2:32 pm

A few more points of consideration..

Head is RH10

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Right side carb is 932/R33; I'm not inclined to remove the carbs and check the left one yet...

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Throttle is not like any I recall seeing on a Commando

Image
...
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