Early Fastback at my local shop

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Stopped by my local Norton guy last night to pick up a pile of parts, and he had a real early Fastback on the lift.

Had to be a '68 - Norton Villiers badges on the tank and tail, 2-1-2 exhaust, tach drive out of the timing case, roadholder forks, Atlas-style chainguard, breather off the left front corner of the case, tire pump mounted under the seat, zener diode on a heat sink under the ignition, etc.

Must be a pain to work on the distributor on this thing.

I would have taken some pics, but didn't have my camera.
 
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Bill:

When you say "Norton-Villiers" badges, were they those weird green spherical things or the gold & black decals? A real early 68 would probably have been painted silver with an orange seat.

I don't remember any of the production going out with the old Roadholder front forks, though. Even the two prototypes had the Ceriani style forks with the cast aluminum lower section of bigger diameter and the chromoly smaller diameter tubes attached to the headstock. They may even have been genuine Cerianis.
 

L.A.B.

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frankdamp said:
When you say "Norton-Villiers" badges, were they those weird green spherical things or the gold & black decals? A real early 68 would probably have been painted silver with an orange seat.

The early 20M3 models would normally have looked like this one in Forest Green/Silver (although it has the later exhaust system fitted):
http://www.robinsclassicmotorcycles.com/snrtnrob.jpg

http://www.robinsclassicmotorcycles.com/

And there could have been a few Red ones too?

Apparently, there were some early Silver/Orange seat Commandos made, if so then they are quite rare, and there has been some controversy in the past if they were actually genuine or not, but if you saw them Frank, then that would answer the question.



frankdamp said:
I don't remember any of the production going out with the old Roadholder front forks, though. Even the two prototypes had the Ceriani style forks with the cast aluminum lower section of bigger diameter and the chromoly smaller diameter tubes attached to the headstock. They may even have been genuine Cerianis.

Possibly Bill meant that they have the "Roadholder" badges, that were still fitted to those early Commando models?

I'm curious to know about the "2-1-2 exhaust" that Bill mentioned though?
 

Ron L

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I believe most of the '68 Fastbacks that came to the states were red. All '68-70 were built with Atlas style headlight ears and long fork seal holders with accordion style gaiters like the one in the link Les provided. The bare "Ceriani" type fork did not appear on the Fastback until 1971.

The 2-1-2 exhaust sounds like the Dunstall "Dr. Blair" system.
 
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If I remember correctly, there may have been about a dozen of the silver and orange bikes made. Two of them were on the Norton stand at the 1968 Motorcycle Show at Earl's Court (along with a Villiers-branded scooter, made in India!).

The "new image" crap that the company tried to pull got rid of all references to the older Norton heritage. The brand name didn't appear anywhere on the bike. The green part-sphere was supposed to be the new emblem of the company.

One stand visitor wanted to know why the turn signals were green and someone else thought we were being funded by the Irish Republic, with the colors of the Irish flag (though silver instead of white) used for frame, seat and "turn signals".

I emigrated to the US in July 68 and had only brief contact with the old gang when the AJS motocross team came to a west coast racing series which included a stop in western Washington.

The R&D department had been fairly heavily involved with the M-X effort in the final few months I was there and Commando production had started up in Plumstead. It was also 40 years ago and this old fart's memory isn't the greatest!
 
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The bike at Wes' shop looks very much like the green one in the link, and yes, I meant the 'Roadholder'-badged forks with the gaiters and the atlas-style ears. The one I saw is unrestored, but obviously still going.

The exhaust is a one-piece 'Y' coming off the head and under the center of the engine. A second 'Y' fits into into it and splits under the transmission. Silencers are mounted off the Z bracket and look similar to late '60s Triumph/BSA megaphone.

If its still there next time, I'll snap a couple of pics.
 
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If that isn't it, its a copy of it. That is precisely how the exhaust on this fastback is routed.
 
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