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Opinions Please (Especially from US Members)

Discussion in 'Norton Commando Motorcycles (Classic)' started by marshg246, Jul 11, 2018.

  1. marshg246

    marshg246 VIP MEMBER

    Jul 12, 2015
    I'm rebuilding a 1972 bike that started life as a Yellow Combat Roadster. In the mid 70s the original owner wrecked the bike. His son bought a 72 Black Combat Roadster to fix his father's bike. Even though there was nothing wrong with the original bottom end, the best I can figure is that he used the original gearbox, the original serial number plate, the donor frame, the black tank and side covers, the donor engine and then to keep the serial number the same he ground off the numbers and stamped in the originals.

    So, now I have two cases with 201251. The bike is nearly rebuilt as all matching numbers since the original gearbox (201251) was still in the bike. So, I see four options and am interested in opinions.

    1) Destroy the original 201251 cases.
    2) Give the original 201251 cases to whoever I eventually sell the bike to prove that the title is valid.
    3) Renumber the original 201251 cases to the donor serial (209458). I have the matching gearbox and a frame but no title for 209458.
    4) Grind off the serial numbers and sell the cases.

    I've been planning on number two but I'm wondering what others think.

    You might wonder why I didn't rebuild it with the original cases. All case screw holes in the other cases have been Heli coiled so I decided to stop future problems by using those cases - I've flip flopped on that choice many times!

    For more on the rebuild: http://gregmarsh.com/MC/Norton_1972.aspx
  2. htown16


    Apr 29, 2009
    Give the original cases to the buyer. I sure wouldn't destroy them. What if a rod let go either for you or the buyer. Grinding and restamping is fraud no matter how good the intent. Don't know about other states but in Texas all the DMV cares about is the frame number. They don't even look at the engine number. I have a bitsa Trident with non matching cases. Never been a problem titling and licensing it.
  3. marshg246

    marshg246 VIP MEMBER

    Jul 12, 2015
    Excellent point!
  4. concours

    concours VIP MEMBER

    Dec 29, 2011
    Grinding & restamping = theft coverup.
    Stolen parts were a low cost alternative to repair crashed bikes before cheap pattern junk was available.
    Romantic story though...:p
  5. marshg246

    marshg246 VIP MEMBER

    Jul 12, 2015
    How well know - my first Triumph was stolen in 1970 and the police assured me that I would not get it back because they were always parted out the day stolen. I was even 99.99% sure who did it, but that was no help - the police refused to do more than take the report.

    In this case, the seller would have been a idiot to keep it all and tell me up front. Of course, I cannot go back to the 70s and investigate if anyone reported the bike stolen and all the current sites don't list it - I did my due diligence before buying.

    So, I'm as confident as I can be that the story is true.
  6. Bob Z.

    Bob Z.

    Mar 30, 2012
    Just my opinion:
    If you have a clear original title for frame 201251 there should not be a problem to sell the bike or put tags on for the road.

    If the re-stamping job on the engine case was done well, that is a positive detail and not to worry in 2018.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
  7. MexicoMike


    Jan 31, 2010
    FWIW, a properly helicoiled repair is much stronger than the original threads.

    As far as the renumbered case - I sure wouldn't destroy it. As noted, it could be needed at some point.
  8. concours

    concours VIP MEMBER

    Dec 29, 2011
    Engine numbers are not required to match the VIN, in any state in the union. Some manufacturers match, some do not.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
  9. RoadScholar

    RoadScholar VIP MEMBER

    Dec 28, 2008
    Truth is your friend.

    If you are really concerned about a theft in your motorcycles past then I'd call the local police have them run the number(s). If it turns out that the motorcycle was, in fact, stolen property you may be out what you put into it, but you won't get arrested, you may well be able to recover what you paid.
  10. Torontonian


    Dec 28, 2009
    Yes , all those helicoils are stronger and better. So that can affect either choice.
    I'd choose the helicoiled cases.
  11. dave M

    dave M

    Oct 19, 2005
    Heli coiling is such an easy process and cheap even if you get a machine shop to do it. Why not upgrade the original cases and make your decision based on your number preference rather than the condition of the cases.

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