FASTBACK Tank Transition Date

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Can anyone tell me when the fastback tank transitioned from the medallion tank and tail to the smooth? A serial number transition would be great. Thanks Barry
 
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I don't have any frame number info but can confirm what the publicity material shows.

The 1968 brochure has the badge on tank and seat.

I have two 1969 brochures which mention the 1968 Motorcycle News "Machine of the year" poll (I think that took place late in the year IIRC)

The brochure also showing the Mercury appears to have decals on the tank and no seat badge (at least on the silver version) and the bikes have black headlamp brackets.

The main 1969 Commando only brochure shows a machine in red with chrome headlamp brackets and decals on the tank but it clearly still has the raised boss on the tail unit, although no badge is fitted and it has been airbrushed out of one view !

I'm sure there will be some experts who can give more detail but it would seem that some point in 1968 was the transitional point. What year are you concerned with ?
 

Ron L

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The badge was phased out sometime in the late 1968 model run. Unfortunately, Norton, like most British bike manufacturers, used what was in the bin at the time, so a serial number as to when the change was made would be of little value even if it was available.

To make it more difficult, model year changes are also rather vague. I have two 1973 MkV 750 Roadsters with November 1972 build date and the proper 22XXXX serial. A friend has a 1972 Combat 750 with a build date of December 1972. And at least one published record shows the first MkV build as March 1973!
 
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Point of discussion is a 1968, about 10 numbers past the listed date for the frame update, with a raised tail section and smooth tank.

Is it possible to have a raised tank and a smooth tank considering the change over in 69? The tank rack was empty?

Barry
 

Ron L

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It is certainly possible, although I would think it is more likely that the tank was filled and painted when the original badges were lost.
 
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teamtiger21 said:
Point of discussion is a 1968, about 10 numbers past the listed date for the frame update, with a raised tail section and smooth tank.

Is it possible to have a raised tank and a smooth tank considering the change over in 69? The tank rack was empty?

Barry

Barry, that's exactly what the 1969 brochure shows (It would have been photographed in 1968)

They airbrushed out the raised boss on the plan view but these fore and aft pictures show a tank with decals and a seat unit with boss but no badge. The fact that it was brushed out of one picture suggests to me that it was not the factory's intention to retain this feature.

My guess is that if you've got the same gel coat colour on both components that they're probably a pair

FASTBACK Tank Transition Date


Interesting as well that the number plate bracket looks central to the shocks but not to the rear wheel ! :)
 

Ron L

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79X100,

That is a very peculiar brochure. Is it a home market one? I don't believe I have ever seen one like it. The raised badge mount would indicate early '68, but the chrome headlamp ears suggest late '69 or '70! I don't think I have seen a '69 with the chrome ears, I always used that as sight recognition point for the '70. I have seen '70's both with peashooters and Atlas mufflers. Both owners claimed to know the history of the bike from original and swore they came that way.

Early Fastbacks are as confusing as P11's!
 

L.A.B.

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It certainly seems to be an early 20M3 model, as it has the timing cover rev counter drive and tapered clutch primary cover.

I would think the Norton management decided against the chromed fork shrouds before actual production started?

I would consider it doubtful that extra chromed parts would be supplied fitted to the model intended for the (rather more conservative) UK home market?
Period UK Fastback model photos only show black shrouds up until the parallel tube pattern used 1972-on.

The brochure model also appears to have chromed front mudguard stays? The Fastback stays were black.
 
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I have the impression that the brochure was for all English language markets although there is no mention of Berliners which there was in the earlier 1968 "2's Company" brochure which also quotes the May 1968 Motor Cycle news roadtest. Only the later brochure mentions the MCN Machine of the year award for 1968.

It quotes capacities in Imp. gals, litres and US gals (in that order) but it refers to a "gas" tank which suggests a US bias. On the other hand, it uses the spelling "colours"

Perhaps the most significant wording is "...But the Commando is still a new bike. Hardly a year old. So its potential has hardly been scratched."

My copy has no dealer stamp. It was published by Norton Villiers Ltd., Matchless Division, North Way Andover.

As I mentioned, I have another 1969 brochure which I assume is earlier as it includes the Mercury (was the Merc sold in the US ?) The publisher there was Norton Villiers Ltd., Norton Matchless Division, 44 Plumstead Rd.SE18

This brochure also mentions the "S" type "New for 1969" and shows a frame with bracing tube. It mentions a redesigned centre stand (UK spelling) and once again gives capacities in UK and US measurements. The illustrated models all have black headlamp brackets.

Sorry if this is all a bit rambling. I would try scanning them but these older brochures are a bit awkward with an A4 scanner.
 
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teamtiger21 said:
Point of discussion is a 1968, about 10 numbers past the listed date for the frame update, with a raised tail section and smooth tank.

Is it possible to have a raised tail and a smooth tank considering the change over in 69? The tank rack was empty?

Barry
 

grandpaul

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AHA!

Check out the rear tire, it's offset to the left of center.

I see that too often to think the rear tire is supposed to be centered.
 
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79x100 said:
FASTBACK Tank Transition Date


Interesting as well that the number plate bracket looks central to the shocks but not to the rear wheel ! :)

Weird ain't it ? After all these years I still don't really have a good explanation but I suppose it's not possible to build a motorcycle with a hinge in the middle and not have it look a bit odd from one angle or another :)
 
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Hello all, Well just picked this one Titled a 1970 (not) 20M 3 12785* Bought in Flint,MI at Flint Indian Sales on or about 06-71 It has very low miles, maybe and it also has a late model frame boo who and wrong rear fender maybe a clue to the frame change?
FASTBACK Tank Transition Date

The other side.
FASTBACK Tank Transition Date
 

jimbo

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norbsa48503 said:
Hello all, Well just picked this one Titled a 1970 (not) 20M 3 12785* Bought in Flint,MI at Flint Indian Sales on or about 06-71 It has very low miles, maybe and it also has a late model frame boo who and wrong rear fender maybe a clue to the frame change?
FASTBACK Tank Transition Date

The other side.
FASTBACK Tank Transition Date
Is that red solid or metallic? I have a bike you might be able to use for reference ,I could send some pics.
 
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Metallic , I have a shot of a bike done right that was done up at "The Battle of the Brits" last year. I wouldn't mind more in ether red. PM me.
 
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check out this ad i just found while surfing, it's for the 68 model, and the badges look like the n15 hybrid ones. a little different, anyone actually seen one?

FASTBACK Tank Transition Date
 
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