1968 Commando? I am not sure, help

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Dec 27, 2004
Greetings. A friend of mine has recently picked up what I think is a 1968 Norton Commando at a yard sale. I am thinking about buying it from him, but I need to know some more about it. There seems to be no conventional frame plate and it looks to have some after market parts on it. The number that is on the engine is: 20m3-126517. Which after Googling, looks to me like 1968 Commando. It has a fiberglass fuel tank. flat two passenger seat that comes up and beside the tank on each side. It also has pretty high handle bars (10 inch rise) and really short exhaust. It also has metallic orage paint, so it appears to be a 70's custom, chopper sort of a thing. It does have solid green circles on the gauges, no turn signals, drum front brake and there are a few spots where the original orange paint can be seen. It has 13K on the odo, and it has been sitting for about 20 years, so it needs a complete overhaul. Any tips for identifying the make and model? Any records of the numbers or links to good info? Any help is gratly appreciated. :D
If it is indeed a '68 Fastback, there should be two indentations in the tank for round plastic badges. The early frame had a metal gusset at the steering head rather than the small tube. This frame should NOT be used. They were replaced after many early frames broke at the steering head.
The early Fastback also had an Atlas style front end with full rubber gaiters.
The serial number you gave indicates that the engine has the points behind the timing cover, which is correct for a '68-'69 Fastback also.
68 norton

location of points assembly is on left side as compared to post late 69 70's, from then on points located on right hand side of machine
If you go to this page

Scroll down & you will see a totally original fastbck owned for 35 years by Geoff. His cousin purchased it brand new & Geoff acquired it from him and has owned it since.

You may notice the "domed" primary cover also.

I have more photos of this bike from different angles if you r interested.

The only thing Geoff told me he replaced was one tank badge, as he lost one somehow. (souvenir hunter, he thinks)
I have some pics to show the difference between the '68 and '70 frame.

1968 Commando? I am not sure, help
'70 -->
1968 Commando? I am not sure, help

Another way to check the frame is to look at the triple trees. The early ('67-'70) ones have a bolts & nuts to tighen the forks in the lower yoke. The early ones have the stem welded to the bottom yoke, so there is no nut at the bottom center of the tree.

the pic is from my site http://www.nortonfastback.com/html/top.html where I am (sproadically) documenting the rebuilding of my '70 - but I do like the look of the '68.

Good Luck!

'70 Fastback

Fastback, Nice looking bike so far. Also, thanks for the websight. I gave you some bogus info a while back re: the lower fork covers, but I figured you realized I was in error about the way the gaitors mounted. I've had a couple of roadsters, but this is my first Fastback and I'm becoming fairly knowledgeable about it, but did'nt realize the previous owner had mounted euro style gaitors beneath the cover. I thought thats the way they were. I notice in the shot of your ID plates that your serial # is in the first block and build date is in the lower block. My bikes' plate has all the info in the lower block, the year stamp is actually outside at the end. I have to be pretty certain I have the original plate or it's a masterful forgery. Do you know if they were stamped in any particular way for reason? My bike was built in Dec '69.-Rob
thanks Rob,
The pics make everything look better then reality! :wink:
I found the lower shrouds at Raber's for a very decent price, NOS I believe.

I haven't seen enough plates to speak with any confidence on what may or may not be the correct way, and from what I gather about Norton production, there was seldom "one correct way" for anything. :shock:

Perhaps DynoDave or someone that has seen a good variety of plates could comment on that issue.

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