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Norton JPS

Bicester Nortons 2020

December 23, 2020

by Guy ‘Guido’ Allen

Our final update from the December 2020 Bonhams Bicester auction: If you had the ambition to develop an instant Norton collection (and to empty an over-flowing wallet) particularly with a focus on rotaries, you could have resorted to this auction. It was an unusual opportunity to pick up three of the latter, representing the entire 1980s-1990s development stream.

At the head of the traditional four-stroke pack (above, lot 213) was the 1974 John Player Commando 850, okay – 829cc, which seemed complete and one of around 200 made according to the auction house. Its last MOT was 2004 and the description suggested it had sat since then.

It sold for Au$26,500 (US$20,000, GB£15,000).

Norton 850 interstate

Next was the 1975 850 Interstate (lot 552), last used in 2002 and in need of recomissioning, but with just 841 miles (1350km). It looked complete and tidy and sold for Au$21,400 (US$16,200, GB£12,100)

And now to the uncannily smooth and sometimes wild and troubled rotaries.

Norton f1 rotary

The star turn was the 1990 F1 racer replica (lot 211), unused for a couple of decades and showing 21,200 miles (34,000km). It was probably a punt on the mechanical side of things and went for Au$71,400 (US$54,000, GB£40,300).

norton rotary classic

More basic but still very important (arguably more so) in the history of the series was the 1988 Classic (lot 553), last ridden in 2005. It came with good paperwork and 4200 miles (6800km) on the odo and went for Au$21,400 (US$16,200, GB£12,100).

Norton commander

Last was the model which probably saw the most wide-spread use, the Commander tourer. This 1993 example (lot 214) was new-old stock and was very late in the build, with 12 miles on the odo and most of the paperwork. It failed to find a buyer at auction and carried a broad estimate of Au$14-21,000 (US$11-16,000, GB£8-12,000).


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