Think Norton, think Commando. There are many revered models in the brand’s history, yet it’s this big parallel twin that the fabulous logo always brings to mind. To celebrate 50 years since production started, we dig deep into its story, with eye-witness accounts of the Commando’s inception, record-breaking development and daring sales campaign.
We’ve also been out in the spring sun on a bike registered in May 1968 (number 276 off the line), swung a leg over a John Player Norton racer and even nosed inside the reborn firm’s current factory. The birthday party starts on page 37. It’s not the only excuse for cake. To mark his 80th birthday we’ve been talking with legendary race engineer and championship-winning rider Kel Carruthers. The amazing Archie Beggs – 90 this year – takes us through a life spent on some of the world’s most desirable machines and we’ve also met Ernest Walther, who was inspired to build his own frames after his first visit to the Isle of Man, 50 years ago.
There’s also a landmark in the CB workshop – Rick’s project Sunbeam runs! His story heads a collection of workshop antics.
Enjoy the issue.
Mike Armitage, Executive Editor
A look inside the April issue
How Norton went Commando
True icons are a rarity, but this famous twin deserves the accolade, despite its inauspicious inception. Here’s how it all came about..
Rickman, Egli, Drixton – the history of racing is laden with independent frame manufacturers who took on the factories. Yet one of the finest is also one of the least well known...
Barn Find of the Year
Our quest to find the project bike most deserving of a 1000 guinea prize turns up a winner