1968 Commando 750
In the early 1990s we bought about half a dozen derelict Commandos off an importer in England who brought them in from the States, with a view to sell them on to customers who wanted a Norton to restore. The machine above came as a "chopped" Commando, i.e. the rear frame loop had literally been sawn off and it was in a very sorry state (picture on the right!).
On close inspection we found it was an early Commando. This was- and often still is- not generally considered remarkable, because the Norton collectors and afficinados haven't yet quite woken up to the fact these early bikes are very rare beasts by now, and very difficult to restore back to original. Many parts and features were only built into these early bikes, and some parts on this machine are rare as rocking horse manure.

Dieter Cordes, a German Norton mechanic who, even then, had an interest in and a love for these early Commandos, was engaged to take the poor heap and put it back in as-original condition. This he did, helped by the fact the owner was also the German Norton importer and cost was no object. Another great boon was that classic bike journalist and friend Stefan Knittel had a Fastback petrol tank in his dark cellar in original red metallic, which could then be used as a sample to have the tank and tailpiece repainted in the original colour.

The motorcycle is often admired by customers, but it has been ridden in all weathers since, on road and, as the first Commando she ever rode, on the Sachsenring GP circuit by Christine Seifert, then aged 14.
In 2011 it was an exhibit in the motorcycle design exhibition at Villa d'Este in Italy which meant it was thoroughly cleaned for the first time in years!
It now deservedly graces the cover of Steve Wilson's "Norton" book.

Early Commandos were all Fastbacks, hence that name was used only when other variants were introduced.

The bike, according to the production records, was supplied to Cristobal in the Panama Canal Zone on 11th September, 1968. As it came back from the US we suspected it was probably supplied to a GI stationed there.

In August 2014 we received a mail from Patrick Fallon, who writes:
"I saw the picture of the 68 Commando on your site. I believe I owned the bike in the Panama Canal.
I bought it for $750 US in the fall of 1968 and had it shipped to the Panama Canal Zone.
It was the only Fastback in Panama.
I was an electrician apprentice and made $1.75/hr,It was my first vehicle I purchased.
I souped it up and beat everyone at the drags strip.Lots of good memories .
The frame broke while sitting at a stop light.
Patrick Fallon"
Villa d'Este
Our Fastback at the Concours d'Elegance, Villa d'Este, 2011
Cover Girl
Our Fastback as "covergirl" of the then only German classic motorcycle magazine in 1996. Green Fastback ridden and owned by journalist and friend Stefan Knittel.

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