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A British bike made by Norton-Villiers, theÂ Norton Commando 750 was in production from 1968-1973. It has a air cooled, twin cylinder 745cc engine and a top speed of 117 mph (188km/h)
The Norton Commando was introduced in 1967 at the Earls Court Show. The first production machine completed in April 1968 had frame problems, removed with the introduction of a new frame in January 1969. The original model, called the 'Fastback' was joined by the scrambler style 'S Type'.
Production of the machine was complex and located across different parts of England, with the engines produced in Wolverhampton, frames in Manchester, while final assembly was at Burrage Grove in Plumstead which closed in July 1969 the assembly line then moved to North Way, Andover.
A production racer, featuring an OHV tuned engine, front disk brakes and painted bright yellow was known as the 'Yellow Peril'. In March 1970 the updated S called the 'Roadster' had the 750cc OHV engine and in September 1970 saw the introduction of the classic 'Fastback Mk2', which added alloy levers with modified stands and chain guards. Several more versions were introduced, the 'Street Scrambler', the 'Hi Rider' in May 1971, with the 'Fastback Long Range' in July 1971 with increased tank capacity.
The 'Combat' engine was introduced in January 1972 saw the appearance of the 'Mk4 Fastback', updated 'Roadster' and the '750 Interstate'. The 'Combat' delivered 65 brake horsepower at 6500 rpm with a 10:1 compression ratio, but the stressed engine proved extremely unreliable, with main bearing failures and broken pistons common. The 'Combat' engine combined with quality control contributed to the company's bad reputation and ultimate downfall.
By the mid 1972, Triumph Motorcycle group was in serious financial trouble. The UK Government bailed the company out with a financial rescue package, providing it would agree to merge with Norton Villiers. Norton Villiers Triumph was formed and the new company got off to a shaky start, they were eventually liquidated in 1978, with Triumph the only company remaining.
The last of the Commando 750 series, the MkV was produced from November 1972 to mid-1973. During Commando's years in production, it was popular all over the world. In the United Kingdom it even won Motor Cycle News "Machine of the Year" award for five successive years from 1968-1972. Even though Norton is no more, the motorcycles it produced in the 60s and 70s are still highly sought after today.