1972 Norton 745cc Commando Interstate
Registration no. FOU 116K
Frame no. 205766
Engine no. 205766
The Commando's vibration-beating Isolastic frame enabled Norton Villiers to successfully prolong the life of their ageing parallel twin. Launched in 1967, with production commencing in 1968, the Commando used the preceding Featherbed-framed Atlas model's 750cc engine and AMC gearbox, and was an instant hit with the motorcycling public, being voted Motor Cycle News 'Machine of the Year' for five consecutive years. It might have been a little down on top speed compared to rivals such as BSA-Triumph's 750cc triples and Honda's CB750 four, but the Commando more than made up for this minor deficiency with superior mid-range torque and steadier handling. New variations on the basic theme soon appeared, commencing in 1969 with the addition of the more sporting, though conventionally styled, 'S' version, complete with high-level exhausts. This was followed by the Interstate, a new introduction for 1972, which came as standard with the (hitherto optional) five-gallon fuel tank and the high-performance Combat engine. As is well known, the latter's increased output, combined with lowered overall gearing, quickly wore out the already highly stressed main bearings, leading to countless warranty claims and a hasty redesign.
This 750 Interstate was purchased in January 1996 from previous owner John Worsley, who had acquired it in March 1988 from Ashley West, its owner since May 1980. The obviously enthusiastic Mr West appears to have been most fastidious when it came to maintenance, as evidenced by his hand written notes detailing work carried out and the large number of related invoices on file. Noteworthy improvements made include MkIII adjustable Isolastic mountings and a taper-roller swinging-arm bearing conversion, while the engine was rebuilt by competition specialists FBS Motor Cycles (Fred Barlow) of Glascote, Staffordshire and the gearbox overhauled. It is noted that FBS gas-flowed the cylinder head and that a standard camshaft and pistons were installed. The machine is offered with the aforementioned notes and invoices; assorted technical information and related literature; Swansea V5 documents; and a quantity of old MoT certificates dating back to 1979 (most recent expired February 1997).