Norton 20M3 "Commando" - 750CC
The Norton Commando was introduced in 1967 at the Earls Court Show. The first production machines began in April 1968. The original model, the '20M3' was quickly dubbed the 'Fastback'.
Production of the machine was initially complex and located across different parts of England, with the engines produced in Wolverhampton, frames in Manchester, while components and final assembly was at Burrage Grove, Plumstead, London. In late 1968 Plumstead works was subject to a Greater London Council compulsory purchase order, and closed in July 1969. With assistance of a Government subsidy, the Plumstead assembly line was phased out and production was moved to North Way, Andover.
Original factory production records show this motorcycle came off the Plumbstead assembly line in April 1968 in the first production run of 'Commandos', and sent to American importer “Berliner Motor Corporation” of Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey.
It is was one of three machines in the initial Plumstead production run reported by factory records to have been painted the optional "Fireflake" red (candy red in American). It is all matching numbers and still retains the original factory installed AMC transmission. Very unusual for first run Commando.
Being a fan of early Commandos. I received word of this very early production motorcycle located in Sarasota, Florida. Due to a major mechanical problem it was about to be disposed of (thrown away). Upon contacting the owner and arriving at his location, I found the motorcycle literally parked next to a dumpster along with a box of original pieces. A deal was struck, the motorcycle repaired and ridden for a number of years.
A full restoration and return to original condition and factory candy red was undertaken this year.