P11A? Frame with number outside of the expected range

Joined
Jan 23, 2020
Messages
20
Country flag
Hello Everyone,
I have just acquired a P11A frame but the number (which appears original an unaltered) and was beneath what appeared to be original paint has a number I would expect to fall within the range of early Commandos.

The number is: 12794X.

Am I puzzled for a good reason or have I simply misunderstood something?

Thoughts?
Thanks,
Chris
 

Ron L

VIP MEMBER
Joined
Feb 27, 2004
Messages
3,026
Country flag
That number does fall after the last (supposed) P11A (Ranger), S/N 126123 and the first Ranger 750, S/N 128646. However, I suggest you have the number checked by the NOC and/or AMC owners club. It would not be the first time I have seen a number outside the range given by book authors or other "experts".

Is the frame relatively original? If so does it have a "hook" for the front the seat welded to the junction of the front spine tube and the two rear upper tubes? That would indicate a Ranger 750 frame. If the rear fender support loop is still intact with center fender support, the P11A has a hole in the center support on either side of the rear fender that fastens the rear of the seat. The Ranger 750 support lacks these holes.

You are certain it is not a G15/N15 frame?
 
Joined
Jan 23, 2020
Messages
20
Country flag
Hi Ron,

I am certain its not a G15/N15 frame, as they are very different. Mine does not have the hook welded for the seat. The centre fender support is missing (cut off) and heavy rear loop was welded on over top of the two rear frame sections. Apart from that and a sideside lug being welded on, the frame is very intact.

Thanks for your reply.
 
Joined
Jan 23, 2020
Messages
20
Country flag
I tried the AMC club's frame number search. The result was Commando. That's crazy. I have a Commando and this frame couldn't be more different. It looks like every P11 frame I've seen. I wouldn't think that early Commando's used this frame. Perhaps someone swapped the engine and stamped a Commando number into it??? The frame is clearly P11A.

The number that I can find is on the headstock casting on the left side down tube. Is there another location for a number?

Also i looked at another P11A and the stampss font looked the same.
 
Last edited:
Joined
May 7, 2005
Messages
4,389
Country flag
It was common a few years ago to take some valid paper work for a destroyed bike and apply the stamps to another set of parts, hence a recent advertised on ebay T120 with T100 numbers stamped on engine and frame. Much more common on Triumphs as they were the most stolen bikes back in the day.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jan 23, 2020
Messages
20
Country flag
I've been an avid collector of Brit machines for 30 years and I've seen a lot of that. Poorly done. Almost perfectly done. And the whole range. When I first checked the number and found it outside of the range I thought that may be the issue, so I examined it very closely. There are no ghost numbers. No distortion in the metal from removing the old numbers. The stamped numbers look perfect. Possible, but an extremely gifted counterfeit would be required to do this. I'm not wholesale dismissing the possibility, but I find it on the unlikely end. I may never have an answer to this.
 
Joined
May 7, 2005
Messages
4,389
Country flag
Looking only at online info will got not you any further, if the published info on the last P11 and first Ranger 750 are wrong only the factory records will confirm this so you need to get the Owners clubs dating people involved or the VMCC who have been found to not charge when asked by email and no paperwork is needed.
 

L.A.B.

Moderator
VIP MEMBER
Joined
Nov 20, 2004
Messages
15,839
Country flag
I have just acquired a P11A frame but the number (which appears original an unaltered) and was beneath what appeared to be original paint has a number I would expect to fall within the range of early Commandos.

The number is: 12794X.
Not every bike from 126125 was a Commando.


That number does fall after the last (supposed) P11A (Ranger), S/N 126123 and the first Ranger 750, S/N 128646.
According to Roy Bacon's Norton Twin Restoration book, 126846 = "P11A Ranger". 129145 = "last Ranger"
 
Joined
Jan 23, 2020
Messages
20
Country flag
The challenge I'm having is the when i searched the number on the AJS Matchless owners club site, the number was linked to Commando in the factory records. Pretty strange.
 

Ron L

VIP MEMBER
Joined
Feb 27, 2004
Messages
3,026
Country flag
According to Roy Bacon's Norton Twin Restoration book, 126846 = "P11A Ranger". 129145 = "last Ranger"
One problem is identifying the difference between P11A, P11A Ranger, and Norton Ranger 750. Even the "experts" throw around terms such as "Ranger", "P11A Ranger", "P11A Ranger 750". The final batch of "P11" production actually dropped the term "P11A". The three batches of P11A's don't distinguish between P11A and P11A Ranger, but it is well known there were several variations in their production (chrome vs. alloy fenders, oil tanks, etc.). Add to this the rumor that Berliner informed dealers that any P11A in stock would be shipped as a "Ranger".

Also, I take Bacon's info as suggestion rather than fact. The books have some incorrect items. I tend to believe Curzon and the Hycam group in most instances when it comes to hybrids.
 
Last edited:

L.A.B.

Moderator
VIP MEMBER
Joined
Nov 20, 2004
Messages
15,839
Country flag
One problem is identifying the difference between P11A, P11A Ranger, and Norton Ranger 750. Even the "experts" throw around terms such as "Ranger", "P11A Ranger", "P11A Ranger 750". The final batch of "P11" production actually dropped the term "P11A". The three batches of P11A's don't distinguish between P11A and P11A Ranger, but it is well known there were several variations in there production (chrome vs. alloy fenders, oil tanks, etc.). Add to this the rumor that Berliner informed dealers that any P11A in stock would be shipped as a "Ranger".
Precisely, so couldn't this "P11A" actually be a 'Ranger'?
 

Ron L

VIP MEMBER
Joined
Feb 27, 2004
Messages
3,026
Country flag
Not if you believe Mr. Curzon. (P11A Ranger 750 = Norton Ranger 750).

Curzon.JPG
 
Joined
May 7, 2005
Messages
4,389
Country flag
Fake numbers are rarely stamped in the wrong place, so yours being stamped in the right place does not add much information. Your 2 avenues for tracking down how the bike is as it is currently, a proper search on the factory records and the official paperwork going back to the first registration if possible. If the bike is from the US then the official title records probably no longer exist so you are left with factory records.

I have an early sequence numbered 72 Commando Combat but with later 72 features on the crankcases, the dating info from the NOC shows it was actually late build 72 on the factory records so it matches the features, so the early number was for some reason missed out or used but then either recycled or rebuilt with new cases before it left the factory. Without the NOC build date matching the features it would look like a restamped set of cases.
 
Joined
Nov 10, 2012
Messages
2,948
Country flag
My frame number is located on steering head casting on the left side above the downtube. I have found another 1968 P11 that has it's number in the same location as mine. It can be seen by expanding a photo in the link:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/122714923@N02/sets/72157644068401909/with/14067425146/

same bike:
https://www.aclmotorcyclecollection.com/motorcycles/1968-norton-p11/
Do you have the engine that can confirm the frame numbers?
If not you dont need such frame numbers.
The company often changed the numbers of hybrids N15/G15/33 where you can see the engine (and some frames too) numbers stamped on the previous numbers.
So that i am aware that this could happen with P11 too.
Ciao
Piero
 
Top