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Dec 22, 2006
What is a fair market price for a basket case MK 3 850 Interstate?

I looked at one last week, asking price was $2500. The bike was all there and somewhat together except the transmission cover was off with some parts removed, plus the cylinder and head were off and timing cover was removed.
On the primary side the inner and outer primary were removed as was the clutch. There were a couple of boxes of parts with the bike. It looked as though the removed parts were accounted for in the boxes.

I'm looking for a project bike to build a 920 cafe racer from so the 850 MK 111 with the stronger crankcases and other improvements is ideal.

I thought the price was a tad high for such a horrible looking bike that needs pretty much everything. I thought the wheels might be salvageable but on close inspection they had little flecks of rust everywhere, so I would plan on using alloys instead.
The owner (a dealer) said he would come down a couple hundred on the price but that was it. He suggested I sell the unwanted portions of the bike such as the seat and steel Interstate tank, on ebay for huge gain. He claimed the steel Interestate tank is worth $800 on Ebay. The tank doesn't appear to have any dents, but the paint is horrid, so I think $800 is a bit over the top.
Perhaps I should suggest he keep the tank and take $800 off the asking price, that might be a fair deal!
Good idea to knock $800 off for the tank, but they really are worth $750 if in good shape for painting.

Otherwise, you'd be amazed at these two facts:

1. How much value there is in a basket case Norton

2. Regardless of what's there, if you intend to refurbish it to good running, sharp looking, you'll spend a BUNDLE with the current price of all the bits and bobs accounting for the exchange rate.

If it were me, and I had the cash, I'd probably buy it.
this probably isn't the best time to say this but my 71 basket case cost me the princely sum of $150 bucks 8) BUT................. I probably have $4,000 into it now......

so $1700, iff everything seems to be there and servicable seems pretty fair. I've seen raw metal tanks for around $ you'd save $300 bucks if he kept the tank

I'd do it too.
To build a cafe racer, you will probably be using a lot of special or hand-made parts. For example, the tank, seat, footpegs, and handlebars will likely not be original. Then depending on style, the fenders, rims, sidecovers, oil tank, carburetors, headlight mount may also be changed.

If you have the cash available to invest in this basket, and the parts that you don't plan on using are in good shape, you can likely sell the parts for cash to make or buy the parts you want. Personally, I would prefer to pay less to get a frame and engine with title to start a project like a cafe racer. Then I have the cash in hand when that NOS production racer tank or original Dunstall rearsets suddenly become available.

I have learned the hard way that an engine "just rebuilt by a good mechanic" is no more valuable than the clapped out oily mess in the corner (providing the basic lump is not broken and welded up). You are going to tear the engine down anyway and in your case, the barrels will need to be sleeved for the 920 kit and the crank magnufluxed and rebalanced.

Just my $0.02. (oops, I just checked the stock market, make that $0.01)
Thanks for the replies and good advice. If I can get him down to somewhere around $1700 without the tank I think I will go for it.

I have been looking for two years and haven't seen any other MK111 basket cases for sale locally, or even any 850s of any sort in this price range. Of course most are in far better condition, but since I plan on a total rebuild this one fits the bill.

I'm thinking the final finished product will probably cost 8- 10 thousand, with copious amounts of free labour done by me. I'll learn a lot and have some fun in the process, but a money making venture it is not!
Not a basket, but I paid $6500 CAD for a running but scruffy MKIII last year. Just giving you perspective for a what a runner would cost up here in Canada for comparasin purposes.

I think that guy is aking too much at $2500.
Too late, I called this morning to offer on the bike and it is already sold.

If the purchaser doesn't follow thru I may get another shot at it.
I located another project bike today. This one is described as a 1970 Commando S rolling chassis with along with an unrelated 750 bottom end and transmission.
Asking price is $800
It won't work for the 920 kit but it might be worth a look anyway. I'm thinking I might build it as a fastback, I'm quite fond of them. I see RGM sells all the fastback bits for a fairly reasonable price.

750 barrels and heads regularly come on Ebay for cheap, so the initial cost for all the big bits should be quite low, leaving money on the table for all the expenses involved in a total rebuild/resto.

I can keep looking for a suitable 850 for the 920 kit. A MK111 850 with the strengthened cases and crank would be ideal, although I've been told that the first strengthening of the crankcases occurred in 1973 with the webbing added to all 750 cases built that year. The same source claims 73 and 74 850 crankcases are the identical to 73 750 cases. I'm not sure about that, I thought the 850s had a different bolt pattern for the cylinder to crankcase connection.
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