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GearheadWed Feb-18-09 11:26 PM
Member since Mar 18th 2009
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"68 MK1 (Fastback) 126594 questions"


  

          

Currently building my first Fastback. I've built a few Nortons but this is my first of the first Commando's. Un-chopperizing is a challenge. Learning alot about this early machine as I go along. More to learn.

The original frame is trashed beyond feasable repair. I'm using a 1969/70 frame. I was told that's what the dealers used when one came in the shop with the main tube cracked. Is that true?

I have the satin chrome kick and shift levers. Were the foot pegs satin chrome also?

The frame number plate has been removed from my 1969 frame. I'll fill in the rivet holes. Should the frame number be stamped to the tank bracket? Left or right?

I don't have a number on top of the tranny. Should I have a matching number? Did they have a number on the trans in 1968 on the Commando?

20m3 126594 is the lowest number I've seen. I'm sure lower numbers are out there. Roy Bacon's Norton Resto book shows mine as the 469th Norton (all models) built in '68. Does anyone know what number first Commando started with?

What's the differance between 1968 and 69 tail sections? Badge location?

Mostly I build Nortons the way I or the owner wants them. Upgrades, modifications, and some times customized. I'd like this machine to be as near correct as I can make it.

I'm in need of a seat, tail pieces, exhaust, and chain gaurd. Any help?
[email protected]

  

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rl900Tue Feb-24-09 10:38 AM
Member since Mar 18th 2009
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#1. "RE: 68 MK1 (Fastback) 126594 questions"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

>The original frame is trashed beyond feasable repair. I'm
>using a 1969/70 frame. I was told that's what the dealers used
>when one came in the shop with the main tube cracked. Is that
>true?

Yes, the factory replaced the early gusseted frame with the triangulated frame used until 1971.

>I have the satin chrome kick and shift levers. Were the foot
>pegs satin chrome also?

Yes, early '68 had dull chrome footpeg supports, brake lever, gear shift, and kick start.

>The frame number plate has been removed from my 1969 frame.
>I'll fill in the rivet holes. Should the frame number be
>stamped to the tank bracket? Left or right?

'68-'70 frames did not have frame numbers. Only the engine number stamped in the red plate on the headstock


>I don't have a number on top of the tranny. Should I have a
>matching number? Did they have a number on the trans in 1968
>on the Commando?

Yes, all Commandos, including early fastback, had matching number on frame plate, engine and transmission.

>20m3 126594 is the lowest number I've seen. I'm sure lower
>numbers are out there. Roy Bacon's Norton Resto book shows
>mine as the 469th Norton (all models) built in '68. Does
>anyone know what number first Commando started with?

Supposedly 123666, but there are a lot of discrepancies in Commando serial numbers.

>What's the differance between 1968 and 69 tail sections? Badge
>location?

Sometime in late '68 or early '69 Norton stopped using the badges and went to a smooth tank and tail with decals. Rumor is they could not keep the badges glued in. All badge tanks and badge tail sections are alike.

>I'm in need of a seat, tail pieces, exhaust, and chain gaurd.

RK Leighton makes the best fitting reproduction seat, Glass From The Past does new tailsections. Exhaust can be sourced from several vendors such as Walridge Motors. Chainguard is hard to find, especially the lowers.

Ron L

Ron L
1973 MkV 750 Roadster
1973 850 Interstate
1975 850 cafe racer
1968 750 Fastback
1967 P11
1969 Ranger 750

  

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GearheadSat Feb-28-09 05:05 PM
Member since Mar 18th 2009
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#2. " RE: 68 MK1 (Fastback) 126594 questions"
In response to Reply # 1


  

          

Thanks Ron.
A lot of conflicting information around, as I'm sure you know. Vague information from the factory documentation. I've read that the 68 didn't have the red VIN plate on the head stock and the number was on the tank bracket. Get many opions about this too. Haven't found a photo yet.

First trans I'd seen without a number except for my Quaffe. Replacement housing I'd guess. Easy to fix with a set of stamps. Didn't want to stamp it if it didn't have numbers originally.

Just aquired a nice original tank. See small amounts of glue where the badges were. I'd heard about them falling off. I'll look into the sources you mentioned for the tail piece.

I may refinish foot peg brackets and brake pedal in satin chrome. Sand blast and rechrome. I'll save that for the final details.

Thanks again,
Steve Smith
Alabama Vintage Motorcycle Association

  

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dynodaveMon Mar-02-09 06:55 AM
Member since Mar 18th 2009
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#3. " RE: 68 MK1 (Fastback) 126594 questions"
In response to Reply # 2


  

          

I've been a studier of VIN plates on nortons for 20 years . A few years back I saw a very early widowmaker frame (without the bracing tube) that did have the red VIN plate. It was an original unmolested frame.

  

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GearheadMon Mar-02-09 08:01 PM
Member since Mar 18th 2009
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#4. " RE: 68 MK1 (Fastback) 126594 questions"
In response to Reply # 3


  

          

Thanks Dyno.
I haven't filled in the VIN plate rivet holes on the 69 Frame yet. Just put a dab of black RTV in them to keep things dry inside. I may install the red VIN plate just to make the police happy in the event I get stopped.

Glass From The Past is making my tail piece. Seem like nice helpful folks. Thanks for the recomendation guys.

Cleaning the tank now in preparation for coating. I'm using the Caswell two part stuff. Found a repop seat I may purchase. Will look for muffs, chain gaurd, and tag bracket as I go along. Hopefully the British in the Blue Hills Rally swap meet vendors will help me finish this thing up.

Started on this machine the day after Christmas. All together and running now but a few details remain.

  

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dynodaveWed Mar-04-09 06:33 AM
Member since Mar 18th 2009
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#5. " RE: 68 MK1 (Fastback) 126594 questions"
In response to Reply # 4


  

          

FWIW
I bought a repop seat(big money for the time...) and the foam was SO bad that on my first trip to the 95 NY rally my a$$ was killing me in less than 75 miles.
The sheetmetal pan was OK but had to be reworked to mke it fit correctly. The curve where it meets the tail section was not curled corretly.
The seat pans are very much home technology. Seeking professional help for proper density foam pad is essential for a bike that is to be ridden.

  

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GearheadWed Mar-04-09 11:03 PM
Member since Mar 18th 2009
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#6. " RE: 68 MK1 (Fastback) 126594 questions"
In response to Reply # 5


  

          

I've had a bad experience with a Roadster repop seat about 15 years ago. Paid a little over $200 for it then. After 10 miles you knew it wasn't going to be a pleasent ride. Sold it at a swap meet with a Roadster. Now that same horrible foam seat sells for $375! The same company has a Fastback seat but I'm leary of getting it due to my last seat experience with them. I wanted to go with the seat folks in England that was suggested. Haven't called them because I think the shipping costs and time wouldn't be feaseble. It'd be nice if they had a US distributor. Found one at Rabers. May take a chance.

A friend in the upholstery business educated me in seat foam density. He said too hard can be as bad as too soft. I agree. Remember the story of Goldielocks and the Three Bears?

  

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GearheadMon Aug-03-09 08:03 AM
Member since Mar 18th 2009
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#7. " RE: 68 MK1 (Fastback) 126594 UPDATE"
In response to Reply # 6


  

          

Between working on my other bikes and those for my friends, I've got the Fastback on the road. Old Brits sold me a nice seat. Very comfortable. Compliments the flat drag bars. They also had a NEW powdercoated tag/tail lamp plate. Glass From The past made the tail piece. Good folks, good products.

Carbs need to be sorted once more. I had an uncoated fiberglass Roadster tank on it for testing for a few months. Right side pilot circuit stopped up after 200 miles of riding. I can confirm that todays gas will weaken glass tanks and send the resin to the carbs and engine. I've since install a 69 Fastback tank with Caswell coating. Only coating I'll use. I modified the carbs by drilling the pilot port (oposite the pilot screw), removed the jet/plug, and installed screw in type pilots.

This bike is turning out rather well considering what it was when I found it. Sure has put a drain on my Norton parts stash. Well, that's what I was collecting all those parts for anyway.

STILL LOOKING FOR A SIDE COVER (right side of course)! Once I find one I'll paint the bike.

Before and after photos soon

  

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