Lot 2
1975 Norton 850 Commando


Selling on Wednesday

CHASSIS NO: 850333917

• Odometer reads only 1,801 miles
• Produced from 1973-1975 and targeted for the American market
• Revolutionary vibration-reducing Bauer frame
• Highly sought-after early 1970s import bike

828cc air-cooled OHV parallel-twin motor, 58 HP, four-speed chain-driven manual transmission, 2.6-gallon fuel tank, front and rear brakes; wheelbase: 56”

Produced by Norton-Villiers, the Norton Commando was one of the most popular motorbikes of the era. In the United Kingdom alone, the Commando won the Motorcycle News “Machine of the Year” award for five consecutive years from 1968 to 1972. The success of the Commando came largely as a surprise to Norton’s engineers. Interestingly, it's hemi-type head, like all OHV Norton engines, was a pre-unit design from the 1940s. One component that was all new on the Commando was the revolutionary Isolastic frame. This frame was developed by former Rolls-Royce engineer Dr. Stefan Bauer, who believed that Norton’s traditional Featherbed frame went against engineering principles. This new design connected the engine, gearbox, and swing-arm assembly together. It then used specialized rubber mountings to isolate these components from the tubular frame causing a great reduction in the vibration problems that plagued classic twin vibration problems.

The 850cc Commando, launched in 1975, was highly successful upon import to the United States. By now, the range of Commando models had been reduced to just two machines, the ' Mk.3 Interstate' and the 'Roadster'. While the Roadster included a more basic setup, the Mk.3 included an electric starter, improved isoelastic absorbers, left side gear change, a right-side foot brake, and a rear disc brake. While an updated model, the Norton 76, was planned for the following year, it never came to fruition because the British Industry Minister refused the renew Norton’s export credits.

The 850 Commando Mk.3 offered today was purchased from its original owner in 1993 and used as “office art” at the new owner’s Corvette dealership in Texas. It is in completely original condition with only 1,801 miles on it; amazingly its present owner has never ridden it! A true survivor, no restoration work has ever been performed, down to the original Dunlop tires and unused toolkit. Also included in the sale are the original Bill of Sale, Service Vouchers, Assembly Instructions, Dealer Card and Owner’s Manual. With additional attributes including stainless-steel rotors, aluminum fenders and calipers, it would be very difficult to find a nicer example of this motorbike.