The most collectible of the Commandos (in my humble opinion) was the John Player, a distinctive endurance-inspired Norton with unique bodywork surrounding a completely stock Mark 2A Commando. I’ve never cared for the dual headlights , but they caught they eyes of many fans worldwide who were obsessed with the hottest motorcycle racing competitions of the time – endurance races.
John Player refers to a tobacco company that sponsored Norton’s 750cc racers with distinctive black/gold and white/red/blue liveries. The replica you see in front of you was based on the 850cc bike, and features the large race fairing protecting low clipons, the lovely single-seat, and a black chrome exhaust. The initial plan was to produce 1,000 of these replica bikes, but only approximately 200 were made between ’74 and ’75. Very few were imported to the US, and because endurance bikes had not caught on in the States yet, even the small number of imports struggled to sell at a MSRP of $2,995. Weighing 475 pounds, the JPN was capable of 115 miles per hour. Want to learn more? Check out a great feature by Motorcycle Classics here.
While there are plenty of replicas, this example (VIN: 314401) is claimed to be an original JPS with 8,519 miles in “excellent mechanical and cosmetic condition.” The seller acquired it 15 years ago, and when he bought it there were a few non-original parts like the mirrors, stainless steel screws to replace the Dzus fasteners used to secure the gas tank shroud to the main fairing, one of the black chrome exhaust silencers, and the Dunstall brake pedal. Per the seller, everything else is factory original, though the paint and graphics were redone in 2009. In th elast 200 miles, the engine oil, gearbox oil, and front brake fluid has been replaced. The sale includes a rare two-up seat, an extra set of replica exhausts, and lots of paperwork. The only thing this bike will need before it’s ready to run is a battery – don’t get me started on how silly it is that the seller couldn’t be bothered to replace it before listing his/her bike. The seller does include a 45-second video walkaround:
Find this JPS for sale in San Jose, California with bidding up to $13,095