The Norton Commando was a bike that spawned many variants just based on cosmetic differences. The most collectible of these models was the John Player Norton Commando, a distinctive endurance-inspired Norton with unique bodywork surrounding a completely stock Mark 2A Commando. We’ve never thought the dual headlights upfront were very attractive, but they caught they eyes of many fans 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. Good luck finding one for less than 3 times that number now. 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.
This specific John Player Norton Commando (VIN: 316990) has just 974 miles and is offered for sale by an owner who has it for over 30 years. It has not been ridden since 1987, and has spent that time in a climate controlled environment. It will need some service, but the engine turns over and the tank is clean on the inside. The listing suggests that the only reason it was put away in storage was because “the current owner had too other bikes to enjoy.” I’d love to see the bikes that this guy had which were so enjoyable that a John Player Norton wasn’t good enough to make the cut!
Find this John Player Norton Commando for sale in Maple Lake, Minnesota with an opening bid of $14,500