Classic 1977 Norton Commando

Posted in Vehicles

10 Oct
Classic 1977 Norton Commando image 1

The 43-year-old motorcycle that really is good as new! Classic 1977 Norton Commando still in its wooden shipping crate to be sold at auction for up to £30,000

The Norton, built in the UK, was shipped to a customer in Belgium in 1977

The buyer never unpacked it before selling it to a collector who took it to Spain

The vintage motorcycle has remained in its storage box for its entire life, making its availability in a sale in November a unique opportunity for bike collector 

The 850 Interstate is one of the final examples of the original Norton Commando

It has an 828cc parallel-twin engine, 4-speed gearbox and a top speed of 115mph

When owners say their second-hand vehicles are ‘as good as new’, the reality is usually far from it.

But this classic motorcycle being sold at auction in November definitely lives up to the claim, with it still being packed inside its original delivery crate. 

The Norton Commando is already a highly-collectible vintage motorbike, but this 1977 example will likely be in huge demand having never been unpacked in it 43-year history.

The unique opportunity to buy the ‘time capsule’ Norton - which will remain in the manufacturer’s packing crate for the sale - will be offered at the H&H Classics auction at the National Motorcycle Museum, directly opposite the NEC near Solihull in the West Midlands, on 14 November. The bike is estimated to sell for £20,000 to £30,000 and remained in a shipping state since it was made, with the front wheel removed and the exhaust silencer also packed separately into the wooden box.

The 1977 850 Interstate - notable for having an electric start as well as a kickstart - is one of the final examples of the original Norton Commando, which features an 828cc air-cooled parallel-twin engine, a four-speed gearbox and a top speed in excess of 115mph.

You might be wondering why a motorcycle built in Britain - with production of Norton motorcycles at the time taking place in Wolverhampton and Small Heath, Birmingham - is being sold in a shipping container. 

That’s because it was sold to a customer in Belgium in 1977, with the dispatch documentation even included in the November sale. 

The bike remained untouched and unpacked from the time it arrived with its first keeper to when they decided to part with it.

It was subsequently sold and transported to a buyer in Holland who shipped it to Spain before it was recently purchased by the vendor and returned to the country where it was made. That means it has had three owners in four different countries in its 43-year history.

However, not one of these collectors removed it from its crate, let alone rode it.

They were simply happy to admire the bike and imagine its potential’, according to the selling auction house.

Mark Bryan, head of motorcycles at H&H Classics, said: ‘Every now and again one of these remarkable things appear in the collecting world. 

‘This particular instance is quite amazing. How on earth has everybody over 43 years managed to restrain themselves and not un-crate this bike?’ The motorcycle has been consigned by Kevin Maddocks, who has been a long-time Norton fan and collector.

‘Imagine how excited I was when I recently heard of a 1977 Norton Commando 850 Interstate that was still in its original packing case - 43 years old and still ‘brand new’. I just had to buy it and I tracked down the owner in Spain,’ he explained, 

‘The Spanish collector, who owned 98 bikes, had bought it 10 years earlier at an auction in Belgium, after the owner of a Belgian motorbike shop passed away. 

‘Apparently he had kept it in his store room, in its original packing case, for about 35 years and for some strange reason refused to sell it to anyone!’ He added: ‘Since owning her I have never really touched her - she would look even better if I could give it a spring clean but to do it properly, I’d have to remove her from the packing case. 

‘Everything is there; three sets of keys, manufacturer’s advice sheets for the dealer, owners manual, service book, plus even a small spray can of Norton chain lube!’

Mr Maddocks said his intention was to show the motorcycle at events across the country and display it in museums, but the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has seen his circumstances change and he’s been resigned to selling the timewarp bike.  

Compared to some of the ‘barn-find’ classic cars we’ve seen sell for staggering sums in recent years, this untouched collectible will be a worthy addition to an motorcycle collection.

The bike’s auction sale includes three sets of keys, manufacturer’s advice sheets for the dealer, owners manual, service book, plus even a small spray can of Norton chain lube - possibly the last in existence


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