1975 John Player Norton custom 850 – $28,800

SELLER SAYS: 1975 Norton JPS / custom black and gold. Genuine SMAC magnesium rims imported from France. Collector quality, fully operational and in mint condition. Professionally maintained and stored in custom-built garage. Bike is in New Caledonia and will be professionally crated and shipped to Australia. You can make your own shipping and importing arrangements, or I can recommend Brent Thomas at Bikes Abroad in Victoria who can oversee the process to any port in Australia or elsewhere. (Brent has handled the importation of two previous bikes sold into Australia from New Caledonia through The Bike Shed Times.)  I am happy to organise a video call so you can inspect the bike from your location. I can also put you in contact with a Sydney-based collector who has recently bought a motorcycle from this collection in New Caledonia. Contact Lionel in Sydney on 0404 690 888 or by email at Lionel_roby@yahoo.com.

EDITOR TERLICK SAYS: In the early 1970s when much of the world was predicting the end of the British motorcycle industry (not unreasonably, as it turned out), Norton was doing all it could to turn the tide. The long-loved but long-in-the-tooth Commando was beefed up from 750 to 850 and given, shock horror, an electric starter, while company chairman Dennis Poore (with help from some sponsorship money courtesy of John Player Special cigarettes) told the team to get out there and win some races. And they did. The records show Norton pulled off 14 international race wins in 1972 and ’73, many of them on the so-called John Player specials. Ever keen to profit from track success, Norton started production of an 850 John Player Commando. Only 200-odd were sold, most of them going to the USA. This bike has just 8,000 miles on the clock and replicates one the owner had stolen in Paris, hence the unusual black-and-gold paintwork, back in 1975. (NOTE: This seller has sold bikes through The Bike Shed Times previously, using Bikes Abroad. They both get a thumbs-up from me.) Learn more here.