1971 Norton Commando 750cc Production Racer Frame no. 145102 Engine no. 145102

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Lot 245Ω
1971 Norton Commando 750cc Production Racer
Frame no. 145102 Engine no. 145102

US$ 24,000 - 28,000
€ 21,000 - 25,000
Amended
1971 Norton Commando 750cc Production Racer

Frame no. 145102
Engine no. 145102

• Fully Documented, to AMA 750 Spec
• Ex-Phil Schilling

Its innovative vibration-beating Isolastic frame enabled the Commando to prolong the life of Norton's aging parallel twin. Launched in 1967, the model was an instant hit with the motorcycling public, being voted Motor Cycle News 'Machine of the Year' for five consecutive years. A true 'skunkworks' project, the Production Racer variant was introduced for 1971 and hand-assembled at Norton race manager Peter Inchley's famous 'Long Shop,' a hangar at the old Thruxton air base. A homologation special built for little more than one season to qualify for various 750cc road racing series, the street-legal 'Proddy Racer' was the fastest/quickest Commando made, capable of 130mph as delivered with a list price double that of standard Commandos. Credit for the performance goes to the blueprinted engine, meticulously assembled to race spec, good for at least an additional 10bhp. Handling likewise was improved upon thanks to test rider Peter Williams, also an excellent development engineer, who could simply throw open the hangar doors and commence to hot-lapping the adjacent Thruxton race circuit. It certainly did the bike's credibility not one iota of harm when Williams and co-rider Charlie Sanby took a Production Racer to victory in the 1970 Thruxton 500 endurance race. While records aren't definitive, it is believed that fewer than 200 Production Racers were made, perhaps as few as 120.

The example on offer here, is a tad more special than the average, already rare Norton Proddie Racer. The bike was built for Executive Editor of Cycle magazine and famed racer, Phil Schilling. A great collector of classic machines, Schilling sensed the collectability of the Norton, so had Peter Williams personally build him the ultimate iteration of the ultimate Commando.

Wilder than that of the standard Production Racer, the engine was built to the same specification of Williams' AMA 750cc Class Special with Norvil 'Triple S' cams, high 10.25:1 compression pistons, big 32mm Amal Concentric carbs and twin megaphone exhausts. A Quaife five-speed gearbox replaced the standard item. Fork sliders and internals have been reworked for superior damping, while the swingarm bushing was totally revised, and the arm itself was lengthened. A 6-gallon gas tank replaces the standard Production Racer item. The bike was extensively tested by Peter Williams on the Thruxton track before delivery in August of 1971.

This amazing piece of Norton history is accompanied by a letter from Norton Villiers' Chairman, R. D. Poore to Cook Nielson at Cycle magazine discussing the delivery of the "Schilling Norton", original spec sheets from Norton, and the magazine article.

Factory records confirm engine/frame number 145102 was recorded as a racer, dispatched to Berliner, the US distributor, on August 4th, 1971.

This irreplaceable, historically significant bike has been on static display, and, as such, some re-commissioning will need to be undertaken before returning to the track.

Footnotes

  • Please note that the title for this bike is in transit.

Saleroom notices

  • The Title is in transit.
Contacts
1971 Norton Commando 750cc Production Racer Frame no. 145102 Engine no. 145102
1971 Norton Commando 750cc Production Racer Frame no. 145102 Engine no. 145102
1971 Norton Commando 750cc Production Racer Frame no. 145102 Engine no. 145102
1971 Norton Commando 750cc Production Racer Frame no. 145102 Engine no. 145102
1971 Norton Commando 750cc Production Racer Frame no. 145102 Engine no. 145102
1971 Norton Commando 750cc Production Racer Frame no. 145102 Engine no. 145102
1971 Norton Commando 750cc Production Racer Frame no. 145102 Engine no. 145102
1971 Norton Commando 750cc Production Racer Frame no. 145102 Engine no. 145102
1971 Norton Commando 750cc Production Racer Frame no. 145102 Engine no. 145102
1971 Norton Commando 750cc Production Racer Frame no. 145102 Engine no. 145102
1971 Norton Commando 750cc Production Racer Frame no. 145102 Engine no. 145102
1971 Norton Commando 750cc Production Racer Frame no. 145102 Engine no. 145102
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