88 1971 Norton 750 GENUINE Production Racer 1 OF 119 ONLY ENG. 20M138145151 $30,000 - $35,000
ULTIMATE BRITISH TWIN
The Commando Production Racer exists as one of, if not the ultimate development of the motorcycle format the British were to stamp as their own after World War II. To be clear this Production Racer is a box-stock, a genuine factory-built device, and could well be considered the ultimate British vertical twin for the following reasons. 1. Only Norton, of all the British bike manufacturers, attempted to come to grips with the inherent vibration of a big OHV vertical twin, and thus only Norton’s Isolastic-framed Commando, designed by Bob Trigg and launched in 1968, can be said to have dragged the venerable old vertical twin into the post-war world. 2. The Norton Production Racer was the fastest, best-handling, lightest and quickest Commando you could buy. 3. When Tony Murphy took a ‘72 Production Racer to Willow Springs, former Norton factory rep Brian Slark reports, he got the bike around in less than 1:40. Considering that the lap record at the time was around 1:36, the motorcycle had to 74
be taken very seriously as a racing machine. 4. They were hand built by Peter Inchley’s famous “Long Shop” race department team (home to a B-17 bomber wing of the Eighth Air Force, WWII). 5. To turn the street bike rolling-chassis that got delivered from the Andover factory to the Long Shop into a Production Racer, Inchley and development engineer factory racer Peter Williams used an old school run-it-and-see development program fine-tuning the original Wally Wyatt project racer of 1969 considerably. 6. The few bikes that emerged from the Long Shop (estimates vary from less than 100 to less than 120) proved the worth of the machine, because in 1971, ‘72 and most of ‘73, they virtually owned their class in England and Europe. Only the arrival of the Kawasaki Z-l and Honda CB750K (refer Lot 80) put them on their trailers. And, finally: 7. It’s yellow not red. The Production racer elevated the traditional Commando qualities to their highest pitch. The
engine’s vast reservoir of torque, allowed the Commando pilot to dial his speed as though the 70 bhp twistgrip. The Commando’s fundamental agility was sharpened by the chassis tweaks until the bike was so stable and responsive that it could be ridden anywhere on the track at an optimum velocity. The generous suspension travel gave the Production Racer a soft ride almost unknown among racers of the day, allowing the rider to concentrate on racing rather than just staying aboard. At long tracks notably the Isle of Man— the fatigue-reducing aspects of the Commando played a decisive role. This particular example is in pristine original condition. Further still it has been signed by Peter Williams – rider extraordinaire and race bike developer and Norman White who was the Longs Shops head mechanic and originally assembled the is machine. This is without doubt a true collectors piece.
Classic Motorcycles and Cars of the Day auction catalogue