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850 Mk2 & Mk2A Discussion Split From Another Thread

Discussion in 'Norton Commando Motorcycles (Classic)' started by marshg246, Jan 10, 2020.

  1. L.A.B.

    L.A.B. Moderator VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2004
    All available photos show what appears to be a bare frame being attached to the power unit.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]



    But then the basic motorcycle was often the same under the bodywork. It was bolt-on parts that determined model and colour.

    I would guess the engines and gearboxes were stamped first especially when the main assembly was done at Andover and power units were assembled in Wolverhampton.
     
  2. marshg246

    marshg246 VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2015
    All makes sense, thanks.

    I would love to see how the steering head bearings were inserted. I would hate to do it a shoulder level but attaching the certification plate would probably be more comfortable at shoulder level.
     
  3. L.A.B.

    L.A.B. Moderator VIP MEMBER

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    Nov 20, 2004
    They probably did go in first but not much else by the look of it, not even the horn! ;)
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2020
  4. marshg246

    marshg246 VIP MEMBER

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  5. Danno

    Danno

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    Feb 7, 2010
    That would include The Titanic, 307241. Build Date May 73 RH4 head.
     
  6. Danno

    Danno

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    Feb 7, 2010
    The SS Clone's '75 Mk III motor came new with it's RH4 head.
     
  7. marshg246

    marshg246 VIP MEMBER

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    Jul 12, 2015
    Wow! Really early!. Do you know for sure that it started life with the RH4 and with that date on the certification label?
     
  8. L.A.B.

    L.A.B. Moderator VIP MEMBER

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    Nov 20, 2004
    Why wouldn't it as 307241 makes it a (late) Mk1.
     
  9. MichaelB

    MichaelB VIP MEMBER

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    Jan 14, 2004
    Wow, 3077** is Sep, 73. So 500 bikes from May to Sep?????
     
  10. L.A.B.

    L.A.B. Moderator VIP MEMBER

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    Could've been the last day of May and the first day of September. 500 seems a low number and why the date stamp information doesn't seem to be all that reliable.

    Edit: There could have also been a two-week summer shutdown during that period.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2020
  11. marshg246

    marshg246 VIP MEMBER

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    Jul 12, 2015
    Brain cramp! Read it wrong - thinking later than 307311 :(
     
  12. marshg246

    marshg246 VIP MEMBER

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    Jul 12, 2015
    So far, we have:

    307241 May 73
    307542 Aug 73
    3077xx Sep 73
    3087xx Sep 73
    310311 Nov 73
    3104xx Jan 74
    3104xx Nov 73
    311032 Dec 73
    312xxx Feb 74

    Using Aug 73 to Feb 74, there is a difference of 4958. Using the middle of the months and 312500 for the Feb 74 bike, that's 6 months so about 826/month; or using Aug 73 to Dec 73 there is a difference of 3490 and again middle of the months, that's 3 months so about 1162/month. Yes, I know it's not scientific and probably wrong but I'm thinking roughly 1000/month.

    The two:

    3104xx Jan 74
    3104xx Nov 73

    Are interesting. Especially the Jan 74 - how did that get so out of order?

    BTW, in the US the VIN/Owner are a matter of public record. That's why I don't mind posting the entire number. Is that different in other parts of the world?

     
  13. L.A.B.

    L.A.B. Moderator VIP MEMBER

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    Nov 20, 2004

    Certainly not 'public' in the UK.
     
  14. jbruney

    jbruney

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    Jan 5, 2019
    I've been mistaken on my date for some time so allow me to toss it into the mix of things. 5-74 315114 MkII with RH-10 head.
     
  15. MichaelB

    MichaelB VIP MEMBER

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    Jan 14, 2004
    Looking at both my 72 Mk. IV and 74 Mk.2, it is apparent the dates were stamped at a different time than the serial number.
    It appears they were stamped while the tag was on the head stock. Each date stamp is in a different spot because of the rotation of the tag on the head stock to stamp at an accessible spot.
     
  16. marshg246

    marshg246 VIP MEMBER

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    Jul 12, 2015
    That's certainly possible, especially in 72. 201251 was the 25th "built" on Jan 4, 1972 according to the record AN has and the date on the certification label is Dec 71. "Built" could easily mean finished and the date could easily mean assembly complete (before testing). However, the AN record I have for 320691:

    Machine No.: 320691
    Motorcycle Batch No.: 6HA
    Frame No.: 114572
    Date Off Track: 23.10.74 (Oct 23, 1974)
    Date Passed Test: 5.11.74 (Nov 5, 1974)
    Date Packed: 6.11.74 (Nov 6, 1974)
    Date Dispatched: 26.11.74 (Nov 26, 1974) Edit Typo
    Color: Black
    Destination: USA


    Certification Label: 8/74 (Aug 1974)

    So, the date on the certification label is quite a bit earlier than the first date in the record. This leads me to believe that they did things very differently in 1972 and 1974. The 1972 record is simply a hand-written list that gives the serial and color. The 74 record is like a table with a typed heading, stamped "Machine No.", and hand written entries in the rows.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2020
  17. Blewdy Yaink

    Blewdy Yaink

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    Nov 10, 2018
    Exactly right. A legal definition of a "model year" for motorcycles in the US began in 1979 with emissions standards which included a requirement that a model year had to be set and emissions control equipment (and certification paperwork). The concept of a "model year" was begun by car manufacturers for marketing purposes in the 1950s and adapted by State registration authorities. Since it was on titles and registration papers, if began to be required of motorcycles but there was never any Norton factory adoption of a "model year".
    What DID happen during the Commando years was that the states required a "MSO" -- a certificate that linked a motorcycle to it's paperwork as "first retail sale" in the US. That "MSO" listed a Model Year but they were only issued by legal factory distributors, not dealers.

    The "model year" designation on a US title means *nothing* about the vehicle series designation and design features of a Commando as built by the factory.

    If you don't believe this, you can ask the person who handled this function for Norton-Triumph motorcycles in California (and I'll tell you the same thing over again).
     
    998cc, marshg246 and L.A.B. like this.
  18. Danno

    Danno

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    Feb 7, 2010
    It has less than 4500 original miles on the clock, so if the speedo is original, I doubt the head would have been replaced. Like all archeology, a certain amount of logical speculation must be incorporated. No way to know for sure without being the original owner.
     
  19. marshg246

    marshg246 VIP MEMBER

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    Jul 12, 2015
    Agree all, but lest our overseas friends think there was one rule - there was not.

    For instance, Georgia didn't require motorcycle titles until about 1985. Today, Florida residents can walk into a Florida DMV with a bill of sale that that say is a Georgia bike built before 1985 and walk out with a Florida title. In Virginia or Maryland, it's nearly impossible to get a title for a old bike if you don't have a title.
     
  20. Blewdy Yaink

    Blewdy Yaink

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    Nov 10, 2018
    Thanks for that information, Greg. Of course, Georgia was in "Berliner territory" up until about the the end but I'm pretty sure that we (Norton Villiers Corp.) issued MSOs for Georgia motorcycles. Since they were signed over like titles, they were useful for establishing in a trail of legal ownership. I would be interested to know if a person went to a DMV in Virginia and said "I bought this motorcycle new in Georgia in 1974 and the dealer gave me this MSO but Georgia never issued a title. I'm willing to swear under oath of perjury that I've never sold this bike but kept it in my possession. I've moved to Virginia and want to register it here with a title. Is this acceptable?" I'm going to guess that it might have to go to a senior manager but I think it would probably end up being accepted by Virginia.

    Certainly, I agree with your point about Certificates of Title being handled differently by different states, particularly 45 or so years ago. But this further emphasises our assertion that the "Model Year" number on a US title means nothing about the "series" or production run specification grouping of any Norton motorcycles.
     

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