1975 Norton Commando 850 Mk3

Gus

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Tell your friends, tell you family, tell anyone that might be interested :D

http://cgi.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAPI...40035813405&rd=1&sspagename=STRK:MESE:IT&rd=1

1975 Norton Commando 850 Mk3
 
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Amazing...if true.

Knew a fellow in Connecticut in the early 80's that had been a dealer that naturally had to give up the flag when Norton went bottoms-up and he had 20 some machines still in a garage....in sealed crates. Wonder if a few are still there.....stranger things have been known to happen.

My father...in the early 90's...happened to meet the widow of an old friend in a store one day and got to talking about the old days. The conversation turned to the Jaguar X120 that the friend had ordered from the factory with special brakes, blueprinted motor and all sorts of doo-dads to soup it up back in 52 or so when they were getting interested in racing. She said he had never driven it much. When asked what had happened to it...she said she wasn't sure, but that it was likely in one of the barns in back of the house.
It was. Under a tarp and a pile of hay. 4000 miles on it. She wouldn't sell it....but she did so wish to have the barn cleaned out...she said with a wink.
My father drove it for his last couple of years...after all...what are old friends for?
 
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There doesn't seem to be any documentation confirming that it is fitted with a monkey-metal camshaft :) .

Unused MkIIIs are not all that rare (although a '75 one might be) because even back in the late 70s, people realised it was going to be the last proper Norton and a number were squirrelled away. I wonder if they were really a good investment ?
 
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79x100 said:
I wonder if they were really a good investment ?

Considering what they were being dumped for at that time...they might indeed have been. I seem to remember that about 800 bucks, two months pay..... would have gotten me one at Gus Kuhns in London...in 76.....any machines out there in this day and age for 2 months pay? Don't think you could get a 125cc for that...but I might be wrong...even considering inflation etc.

Anyway...what would you do with a "New" Norton anyway? Would be tempting to just let it sit and not to spoil it by using it. On the other hand....what good does it do to have it sitting in the livingroom...rough question.

:wink: That should set the stage for a good discussion..... :wink:
 
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800 bucks or £800 ? I don't know what you were earning in 1976 but I started my first full-time job in 1978 and it paid about £40 per week. Before that it was saturdays only on the pumps of a National Benzole garage at .75p per hour. Commandos (discounted or not) were just a far-off dream !

I think you're quite right about what the possibilities are for such a machine and I suspect the seller has come to the same conclusions. As soon as it turns a wheel it's just another used Commando.

If I was choosing one for my sitting room, it would probably be an early drum-braked Roadster or a Fastback. Much purer lines uncluttered by Indicators, square tail lights or big clockholders. My main bike is a MkIII so I'm not really biased, but the 750's do have "something" that was diluted over the years.

I have seen a stack of NVT stencilled crates at one of the former European main dealers and there are rumours that he has crated Rocket 3s as well. Yes Please ! Want One ! :)
 
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I'd say it was around 800 bucks....I paid that for my 750 and it had been used...so a new machine for the same money and electric start to boot...., was a good deal. You must also remember that the wages in the UK were indeed less than we used to get...I got about 400 dollars a month, and at that time, the pound exchange rate was so good for us that I just bought all the extras I wanted for my bike, panniers...luggage rack....an extra seat....2 34mm Amal carbs(MK2s?) that are still sitting in the shed, unused. I just used to either drive over on the weekend or order from Gus Kuhn's and get any old thing that I thought I might want...extra nuts and bolts...bushes...clipons...rearsets anything I might need....maybe...someday.... :lol:
That's why I have a lot of stuff in the shed that I have never used, or needed. Ths stuff was dirt cheap and I had enough to spend on any old thing I wanted to....I wasn't married and living in the barracks was cheap. We used to get paid in cash...believe it or not. No wonder most guys pockets were empty a day after payday. Booze and girls will do it every time... :wink:
My extra went into my bike...in addition to the booze...and girls. :wink:
 

MichaelB

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hewhoistoolazytologin said:
Knew a fellow in Connecticut in the early 80's that had been a dealer that naturally had to give up the flag when Norton went bottoms-up and he had 20 some machines still in a garage....in sealed crates. Wonder if a few are still there.....stranger things have been known to happen.


Would it have been this guy?

http://nortoncommando.com/start.htm
(click on Nostaglia)
 
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Truthfully been too long to say...he was a friend of one of my friends and we went out there one time to talk to him and we got shown a garage full of crates...but just where it was...what his name was and what eventually happened to the stuff...Lord knows. I left very soon after that, to return to the military in Europe and at this point...I have even lost contact with the friend who took me there. Brain too rusty to recall all that stuff...this must have been in about 79 or so...he had a shop still but did some other makes instead and at that time...you had problems giving a Norton away. They were at dumping prices at the end and the factory and dealers just wanted them out...gone...see ya later. He had aquired them at a real good price from the main distrubutor as he had a feeling they were going to be interesting to have at some time after the dust settled...pure spekulation.....investment.

Buyers were somewhat hard to find towards the end at NV...as... who wanted a bike that was supported by a long list of dealers that had just closed their doors, or dumped all their parts on the market and gotten rid of the stuff. No one....no new customers to the Marquee anyway. No one came into the fold from Honda or such. No guarentee of support/parts, etc.
The 750's still had a following that the 850's didn't share though. A 750 could be sold....an 850 was another matter. Said to be not as fast, less compression and the electric start...that was a story in itself. I remember looking at the 850's in Gus kuhns...I could have driven one home...left my 750 there and taken a new one...and something told me I wasn't ready to do this...they looked good, but why give up my "known good" for something I wasn't even sure was as good as what I had? There had to be, after all...some reason why the dealer was trying to get rid of them... :wink:
 
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hewhoistoolazytologin said:
You must also remember that the wages in the UK were indeed less than we used to get...I got about 400 dollars a month, We used to get paid in cash...believe it or not. No wonder most guys pockets were empty a day after payday. Booze and girls will do it every time... :wink:
My extra went into my bike...in addition to the booze...and girls. :wink:

I thought all that "Overpaid, oversexed and over here" stuff was a myth from the 1940s - So, it's bloody true then ?

Strange what you later say about 750s and 850s, I remember, at about the same time, Honour Oak Motorcycles on the South Circular used to buy up ex-Old Bill Interplods and whilst they would sell an 850 on, they refused to do that with 750s and would only break them for spares due to reliability problems. We all thought that the bike to have was the MkII 850 (must have read it in "Motorcycle, Scooter and Three Wheeler Mechanics" or something :)

I have the impression from this forum that left foot shift 'leccy tart MkIIIs are almost more sought after now though.
 

MichaelB

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hewhoistoolazytologin said:
... who wanted a bike that was supported by a long list of dealers that had just closed their doors, or dumped all their parts on the market and gotten rid of the stuff. No one....no new customers to the Marquee anyway. No one came into the fold from Honda or such. No guarentee of support/parts, etc. ... :wink:

That's why I sold my original 73 850 in 1978. I was subjected to buying my parts from a Trumph dealer, the horror of it.
Service help? Forget it. They didn't want me any more than I wanted to be there.

Little did I know a chap by the name of Brian Slark had opened a shop, British Marketing, about 10 mi from me.
Oh, things would have been different.
 
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When I left N-V in June 1968 to emigrate to Boeing, I could've bought a '69 Commando for the employee discount price and Boeing would have paid to ship it.

I think the going employee price at the time was about 375 UK pounds, which would've been around $1000.

I've often wondered whether I'd be dead by now if I'd brought one over. After settling in Seattle, I concluded fairly quickly that the environment for bikers back then was extremely hazardous. There was a quote on TV not long after we arrived from the head of the State Patrol who said that "there are two kinds of motor cycle riders - those who have had a bad accident and those who soon will."

My main concern was that the US drive on the opposite side of the street. When you're in a car, you have a built-in reminder because you're sitting on the other side. On a bike, no such stimulus. I did a bit of off-road riding in the first few years, but packed that in due to family commitments.

Now that I've retired a second time (from being a transit coach driver) I might consider a Honda Helix for in-town use, but I don't think there are any high-performance biks in my future. I don't like being dependent on one vehicle, so if I come across an AJS Stormer in someone's barn, I might be tempted.
 
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Well....definately not someone that wants to ride it...for that money you can get a more than fine machine that has all the updates already done on it. That is a person that sees it as an investment and it will sit for more years in a livingroom.....he will surely not get that money out of it again though...or? By the time it will be worth that again...the oil reserves will be depleted and it won't be possible/allowed to drive it anyway.....another 40 years or so.

Sobering.

If that's the case...... grin and bear it.....enjoy your rides while you can....your grandsons won't have much use for your machines...sadly, no need to save it for him, it would give him no pleasure if he can't ride it and sitting in a livingroom isn't what the machine was made for. Sort of like owning a Thompson Submachine gun that has been welded shut...what fun would that be?
 
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does that mean........

does that mean........ they will at some point weld up the spark plug fitting or crankshaft or other major moving part so it is not rideable?
Rick

hewhoistoolazytologin said:
Well....definately not someone that wants to ride it...for that money you can get a more than fine machine that has all the updates already done on it. That is a person that sees it as an investment and it will sit for more years in a livingroom.....he will surely not get that money out of it again though...or? By the time it will be worth that again...the oil reserves will be depleted and it won't be possible/allowed to drive it anyway.....another 40 years or so.

Sobering.

If that's the case...... grin and bear it.....enjoy your rides while you can....your grandsons won't have much use for your machines...sadly, no need to save it for him, it would give him no pleasure if he can't ride it and sitting in a livingroom isn't what the machine was made for. Sort of like owning a Thompson Submachine gun that has been welded shut...what fun would that be?
 
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Certainly does, he has certainly surpassed his original asking price, it will be interesting to see what the final price is.
Cheer up Hewho :D you never know, as fossil fuels become more scarce everyone may be forced out of cars and onto motorbikes to help to ease consumption, and in 40 years time they may still be riding our own motorised vibrators.
As a great man once said "always look on the bright side of life, da dum, da dum, da dum da dum da dum" :wink:

Mike.
 
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