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#632677 - 12/30/15 11:47 pm 1974 John Player Special Norton Commando 850 resto  
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I've been quite busy lately and jut realized I haven't posted the whole saga of re-obtaining a '74 JPS Commando that I owned a few years ago (long, sad story).

Short version: It is a true JPS from the factory, and EVERYTHING on the bike was original JPS apart from a PR replica seat/tail, Ducati SS style bikini quarter fairing, set of K&N air filters, and set of Emgo Decibel replica mufflers.

I got it running the first time I owned it, with very little fuss apart from cleaning the carbs and tossing in a good battery.

I got it running the second time after the turkey that reneged on the deal turned around and sold it to a mutual friend some years later. Our mutual friend commissioned me to get it roadworthy, which I did.

THIS time, I thought about it but decided it might be better NOT to try to get it running without having a look-see inside the engine. Good thing I did that.

I also though about simply giving it a thorough flushing and major tune-up, and obtaining an original fairing and mufflers for it. Found a decent used fairing in England and bought it (transport is still being arranged). After pulling the bodywork and a few other parts off to thoroughly clean the bike up, I decided it really needed a complete restoration as the frame paint was in poor condition, all the rubber and plastic bits were perishing, and it had stood many years off the road in dusty garages.

So, on with it. This will be a post copy process from AccessNorton, as many members here aren't over there...

Last edited by GrandPaul; 12/30/15 11:50 pm.

GrandPaul (does not use emoticons)
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Too many bikes to list, mostly Triumph & Norton, some BSA & European
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#632678 - 12/30/15 11:57 pm Re: 1974 John Player Special Norton Commando 850 resto [Re: GrandPaul]  
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11/7/15

I just RE-acquired this '74 MkII JPN 850; it's been a long 17 years getting it back in my garage after an auspicious first go at owning it (long story).

I want to eliminate ANY doubt that this is indeed a JPN model. I have photos of several key parts of the bike that should provide clues, here they are...

Welded gas tank extension (topside has been smoothed over and tank is repainted)



Gas tank cover with cap cover



Rivet holes where original serial number plate once was (there are no holes on the steering neck)



Last edited by GrandPaul; 12/30/15 11:58 pm.

GrandPaul (does not use emoticons)
Author of the book "Old Bikes"
Too many bikes to list, mostly Triumph & Norton, some BSA & European
"The Iron in your blood should be Vintage"
#632679 - 12/31/15 12:02 am Re: 1974 John Player Special Norton Commando 850 resto [Re: GrandPaul]  
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More clues-

Unique rearset footpegs



Choke lever mounted on pipe stub in handlebar clamps



Very limited JPN dual seat



Never mind the very NON-standard paint job...


GrandPaul (does not use emoticons)
Author of the book "Old Bikes"
Too many bikes to list, mostly Triumph & Norton, some BSA & European
"The Iron in your blood should be Vintage"
#632680 - 12/31/15 12:04 am Re: 1974 John Player Special Norton Commando 850 resto [Re: GrandPaul]  
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More clues-

Front/lower fairing mount bracket & muffler brackets



Black chrome headers with regular chrome crossover pipe, shifter



Frame part number stamping



Left sidecover fixing



...


GrandPaul (does not use emoticons)
Author of the book "Old Bikes"
Too many bikes to list, mostly Triumph & Norton, some BSA & European
"The Iron in your blood should be Vintage"
#632681 - 12/31/15 12:07 am Re: 1974 John Player Special Norton Commando 850 resto [Re: GrandPaul]  
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There are plenty of non-definitive bits including the electrical controls, front brake master cylinder, AMAL carb stampings, and box-type head steady (would JPN model have had another type?)



Not sure at all about this front/top fairing mount, it's NOT JPS spec...





I would like to obtain some sort of affidavit / documentation based on whatever original factory records are available before I present it as a bona fide JPN model (if that is indeed possible). Any help is appreciated.


GrandPaul (does not use emoticons)
Author of the book "Old Bikes"
Too many bikes to list, mostly Triumph & Norton, some BSA & European
"The Iron in your blood should be Vintage"
#632684 - 12/31/15 12:15 am Re: 1974 John Player Special Norton Commando 850 resto [Re: GrandPaul]  
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For general information, all the questions posed in these copied posts have been answered, it IS A GENUINE John Player Special.

The JPS is based on the 850 Mark IIA roadster, with a few tiny differences, plus the entire JPS parts supplement items. This bike will have all the correct tidbits, although a few will be new replacements from several of my favorite Andover Norton dealer/distributors.

The rivet counters will not like the fact that I've had the black parts powdercoated, and you can't get modern spec Dunlop K81s with "Made in Great Britain" stamping any longer (now made in Indonesia). You also cannot obtain original black chrome mufflers with the gold stenciled patent data near the pipe ends. Apart from that, it will be very darned near 100% original spec.


GrandPaul (does not use emoticons)
Author of the book "Old Bikes"
Too many bikes to list, mostly Triumph & Norton, some BSA & European
"The Iron in your blood should be Vintage"
#632685 - 12/31/15 12:27 am Re: 1974 John Player Special Norton Commando 850 resto [Re: GrandPaul]  
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Here are a couple of photos of an original John Player Special...





GrandPaul (does not use emoticons)
Author of the book "Old Bikes"
Too many bikes to list, mostly Triumph & Norton, some BSA & European
"The Iron in your blood should be Vintage"
#632706 - 12/31/15 4:49 am Re: 1974 John Player Special Norton Commando 850 resto [Re: GrandPaul]  
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Looks like it will be a nice bike Paul. Can't wait to see how it will progress.


beerchug
#632727 - 12/31/15 8:12 am Re: 1974 John Player Special Norton Commando 850 resto [Re: GrandPaul]  
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(November 7th)

When I first owned it (however briefly), it had the un-finished, welded gas tank with the white cover on it, and the original (rusted out) black chrome bean can mufflers, no fairing and no seat.

The guy I bought it from was somehow convinced by a mutual friend that is was supposed to be a production racer and so he proceeded to obtain replica parts, thinking he'd get "thirty grand" (his words) for it.

So, here is how it sits in my garage, I added the little windscreen for the photos because it looks better than without it.





If anyone is able to obtain a definite determination based on the serial number, I can provide that off-line.


GrandPaul (does not use emoticons)
Author of the book "Old Bikes"
Too many bikes to list, mostly Triumph & Norton, some BSA & European
"The Iron in your blood should be Vintage"
#632728 - 12/31/15 8:14 am Re: 1974 John Player Special Norton Commando 850 resto [Re: GrandPaul]  
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From Joe Seifert in an NOC forum post 6/27/12...

"Unfortunately, whilst I have some records that neither the NOC, not the VMCC have- original despatch ledgers- there are gaps, mainly the very late 750s (#235...; this includes the 750 short stroke engines) and most early 850s including all the Mk2As, and thus the JPNs. If anybody claims his JPN is verified by "the experts", forget it. Nobody can, unless the history of the bike can be proven from point of purchase till today."

So, I may be out of luck; although this bike has a lot going for it, like the steering neck undrilled. In fact, this may be a VERY important point.

Were ANY other '74 frames NOT DRILLED on the steering neck? Production Racers? (ended in '72, no?) Might be a strong argument right here.


GrandPaul (does not use emoticons)
Author of the book "Old Bikes"
Too many bikes to list, mostly Triumph & Norton, some BSA & European
"The Iron in your blood should be Vintage"
#632729 - 12/31/15 8:16 am Re: 1974 John Player Special Norton Commando 850 resto [Re: GrandPaul]  
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A few more points of consideration..

Head is RH10



Right side carb is 932/R33; I'm not inclined to remove the carbs and check the left one yet...



Throttle is not like any I recall seeing on a Commando


...


GrandPaul (does not use emoticons)
Author of the book "Old Bikes"
Too many bikes to list, mostly Triumph & Norton, some BSA & European
"The Iron in your blood should be Vintage"
#632730 - 12/31/15 8:19 am Re: 1974 John Player Special Norton Commando 850 resto [Re: GrandPaul]  
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More still...

Intakes have smooth tops rather than "stepped" ribbing, I believe they're proper 32s



Clip-on handlebars are more robust than many I've seen with thin sheet metal and skinny screws



Steering neck looks as if it has never been drilled for a data tag


...


GrandPaul (does not use emoticons)
Author of the book "Old Bikes"
Too many bikes to list, mostly Triumph & Norton, some BSA & European
"The Iron in your blood should be Vintage"
#632732 - 12/31/15 8:22 am Re: 1974 John Player Special Norton Commando 850 resto [Re: GrandPaul]  
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11/7, From AccessNorton member Robert_Norton:

Original JPN's would have a plastic airbox, which I think in turn means a different battery tray than earlier styles of 850. So you could check for that. The shift lever is also unique, and from your photos it appears you may have the correct one.

The JPN license plate holder is unique among various Nortons. Your bike appears to have the correct one, but your photos make it difficult to tell for sure.

JPN Nortons also have twin Zener diodes, and this bike seems to have the correct Z plates to support that feature. The (alternator, rotor, or both?) were also higher output items than other 850 models (except the MK III).

You have the correct left hand side cover for a JPN.

The fairing bracket is not correct.

Did you get the original fairing?

I recently acquired a JPN, and it came with a 2nd fairing, made by Sprint. The previous owner commented on how it was substantially thinner than the original Avon fairing, which I just verified and it appears to be.


A good thread is needed here documenting all the little details about the John Player model.

Years ago I had one that had the horizontal stripes and the cutaways in the cowling to access the spark plugs. It was originally sold in San Jose, if I remember correctly. It looked like the one featured in the sales brochure. The lower stripe was black, not blue, as was the lower parts of the left and right seat stickers. In the brochure the colors do look to be red and black.

Andover Norton may be making JPN parts now, as indicated at the below links. I doubt they've got the finer points sorted, though. Search for "JPN" on the first link, as they don't refer to the after market parts with the full "John Player Norton" name on the web page:

http://www.nortonmotors.de/ANIL/News.htm

http://www.nortonmotors.de/ANIL/Norton% ... art=067345

My reply from 11/8:

I have a plastic airbox complete from my '75 Interstate which I can install if it comes down to a total restoration, I know it's not going back on my street bike.

Looking like I will PROBABLY paint this fairing white with the commemorative Blue and Red/Gold stripes, maybe something on the seat as well. I kinda hate to paint the tank, even though it's already been somewhat "distracted" by smoothing over the topside welds; the Black paint job it has now is quite nice...

Last edited by GrandPaul; 12/31/15 8:25 am.

GrandPaul (does not use emoticons)
Author of the book "Old Bikes"
Too many bikes to list, mostly Triumph & Norton, some BSA & European
"The Iron in your blood should be Vintage"
#632733 - 12/31/15 8:31 am Re: 1974 John Player Special Norton Commando 850 resto [Re: GrandPaul]  
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From AccessNorton member jeandr:

11/8
"I recognise a lot of parts that were on the burned out JPN I bought. The serial number plate was indeed on the top frame tube, and your rearsets as well as one part of the fairing mounts look like what I had. The gas tank was extended and the welds were very crude looking. I still have the rearsets

Here are pics of the real JPN rearsets





Some have made reversed shift levers, but they don't have the same bend. Print out a copy of my shift lever and place yours over the picture, I bet the cure would be very close if it is a real JPN lever.

Obviously, since what I bought was a burned out bike, the rubber has burned off both sides.

Last edited by GrandPaul; 12/31/15 8:31 am.

GrandPaul (does not use emoticons)
Author of the book "Old Bikes"
Too many bikes to list, mostly Triumph & Norton, some BSA & European
"The Iron in your blood should be Vintage"
#632734 - 12/31/15 8:33 am Re: 1974 John Player Special Norton Commando 850 resto [Re: GrandPaul]  
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From AccessNorton member ZFD:

"In case it is of interest we have the original molds to make the JPN fairing parts and do so if/when anybody wants them. See http://www.andover-norton.co.uk/News.htm and scroll down to August 2014."
Joe/Andover Norton

My reply-
I appreciate that Joe, in fact I've seen your parts page many times from everyone I've discussed this with off-line. My biggest problem is a shoestring budget!

I will not have the funds to do a proper total restoration on this bike, so it will have to be used parts IF I do the original style JPN refurb at all.


GrandPaul (does not use emoticons)
Author of the book "Old Bikes"
Too many bikes to list, mostly Triumph & Norton, some BSA & European
"The Iron in your blood should be Vintage"
#632735 - 12/31/15 8:37 am Re: 1974 John Player Special Norton Commando 850 resto [Re: GrandPaul]  
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11/9

Now for the next question - The '74 Norton parts book lists EIGHT different meters!

Old Britts shows "none available", rather than a description.

Anyone know with certainty which meters went with the JPN?

The guy I bought the bike from has yet to give me the meters, and I'm not sure they were original to the bike.

From AccessNorton forum moderator L.A.B.:

"The Smiths or Veglia km/h speedo options wouldn't normally be fitted to US market bikes, and also wouldn't have been either of the calibrated Interpol Chronometric MPH or Km/h speedos, so that narrows it down to the standard pair of Smiths or Veglia 'green globe' items and the JPN parts list specifies: "065856, Tachometer cable (Smiths 3003/15)" which is the Smiths green globe item and as instruments were usually fitted in pairs of the same make therefore I think you have your answer."

My reply, after some research:

Yes, SSM 3001/09 1000 150MPH Green Globe Speedo and RSM 3003/15 9K RPM Green Globe Tach w/ 7-8K Red range

So, anxiously awaiting the seller to hand me the meters and see if they're correct...


GrandPaul (does not use emoticons)
Author of the book "Old Bikes"
Too many bikes to list, mostly Triumph & Norton, some BSA & European
"The Iron in your blood should be Vintage"
#632737 - 12/31/15 8:41 am Re: 1974 John Player Special Norton Commando 850 resto [Re: GrandPaul]  
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From Robert_Norton:

The right-hand side foot peg in the photos Jean posted is not original. The triangular plate that would attach to the Z plate looks original.

The upper fairing bracket shown in Grandpaul's photo is nothing like an original. I assume Jean's comment about the fairing bracket being correct is referring to the lower fairing bracket.

There is a lot of variety in the centerstands fitted to the JPN's. For a long time I thought there was one correct one, the type with the round toe catch that has a couple of 90 degree bends in it. Perhaps someone with more knowledge of the progression of kickstands can chime in.

I think another tell-tale sign to consider when sizing up a JPN for originality would be the style of chainguard fitted. All correct JPN's that I've personally seen (just a few) have all been fitted with the brake inspection plug and correspondingly correct chainguard. Did all MKII A models have the rear brake inspection plug?

I believe JPN models also had a unique foot peg rubber, flattened in a similar style to the ones Paul Dunstall made.

Original fairings were made by Avon, with aftermarket ones made by Sprint. The original Avon fairings have a decal placed at the front, beneath the windscreen. A Sprint manufactured fairing would not have the Avon sticker.

Below are some photos illustrating a few of the recent talking points of the thread:











My reply:

Looks more and more like mine is quite original, apart from the fairing, seat and mufflers, which I already knew were not original.

I've definitely got the rear brake inspection plug with the appropriate cutout in the chainguard (and it has the plastic splatter guard also).

I hope to have the bike running in a few days...


GrandPaul (does not use emoticons)
Author of the book "Old Bikes"
Too many bikes to list, mostly Triumph & Norton, some BSA & European
"The Iron in your blood should be Vintage"
#632738 - 12/31/15 8:44 am Re: 1974 John Player Special Norton Commando 850 resto [Re: GrandPaul]  
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11/9

Found my spare set of bean cans, too bad they aren't black chrome...



Chainguard and brake inspection plug detail-



No way to know for sure, but not VERY likely the coils would have been replaced; these are 01/74 manufacture



So, this battery tray won't fit the MkIII airbox?


GrandPaul (does not use emoticons)
Author of the book "Old Bikes"
Too many bikes to list, mostly Triumph & Norton, some BSA & European
"The Iron in your blood should be Vintage"
#632739 - 12/31/15 8:47 am Re: 1974 John Player Special Norton Commando 850 resto [Re: GrandPaul]  
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Still don't have the meters, but we were able to dig out one of the original mufflers. It has a stencil over the original chrome; no stamping, no decal.





Too bad it's eaten up...





GrandPaul (does not use emoticons)
Author of the book "Old Bikes"
Too many bikes to list, mostly Triumph & Norton, some BSA & European
"The Iron in your blood should be Vintage"
#632740 - 12/31/15 8:48 am Re: 1974 John Player Special Norton Commando 850 resto [Re: GrandPaul]  
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11/10 From Jeandr:

"The bike I bought was bought new by the guy who sold it to me, he rode it 25 miles from the shop to his garage and it stayed there until a fire broke out. Aside from everything plastic, rubber and fiberglass being burned or charred, most of the zinc parts had melted (carbs). Being stupid at the time, I threw away all the steel parts that had rusted because the bike was burried in ice for about two months. Things like the tank, side panels, mufflers and pipes, rims, spokes all went in the garbage. I only kept what I needed to turn it into a Fastback.

The footpegs are true originals, the rubber (well what was left) that was on was round as far as I can recall. I added a cable adjuster to the brake assembly, there was none before.

The lower fairing mount was like GP's, the upper one was a fairly elaborate part the was mounted to the steering neck and that is why the SN plate was located on the top frame tube.

I suspect the factory may have fitted what they could find for footpegs which may account for some differences."


GrandPaul (does not use emoticons)
Author of the book "Old Bikes"
Too many bikes to list, mostly Triumph & Norton, some BSA & European
"The Iron in your blood should be Vintage"
#632742 - 12/31/15 8:54 am Re: 1974 John Player Special Norton Commando 850 resto [Re: GrandPaul]  
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From AccessNorton member PeterJoe:

"Basically the difference between a Mark IIA and a Mark III battery tray is that the Mark IIA battery tray has a tab for mounting the side cover. Another small difference is that the Mark III battery tray's stiffening bead has a small area flattened so that it won't rub into the gearbox cradle. So you may want to modify your existing battery tray so that it won't rub into the gearbox cradle.

The Mark IIA and the Mark III airbox is basically the same molding. You can convert your Mark III airbox to a Mark IIA configuration by removing the existing side panel mount and then plugging the three rivet holes. Also you will need to add two captive jack nuts for mounting the ignition switch/side panel bracket. Originally the captive nuts (the same nuts that are used for the top mounting bracket) are 1/4-28 which may be very difficult to find. However 1/4-20's seem to be out there. Also the opening for the engine breather is in a different location. You may or may not want to copy that as well. Last and least the John Player had the battery accessory receptacle mounted to the right hand side of the airbox and not to the battery tray. So if you have an original John Player battery tray you shouldn't see any threads in the holes where the accessory receptacle would normally be mounted.

Left hand side of a Mark IIA airbox with the ignition switch/side panel bracket installed



Location of breather hole on a Mark IIA airbox



I would be inclined to just keep an eye on eBay for an original Mark IIA airbox. Sometimes you can pick them up for a reasonable price.

One thing I have noticed is that the John Player parts supplement manual shows the left hand and right hand side panels having totally different part numbers then the standard Mark IIA Roadster side panels. My question is what the differences could possibly be. I know that they are painted black with no pin striping but I would think that would be a /(three digit code) after the basic part number but that is not the case. I am just wondering."

My reply:
Excellent post, thanx for all of that info.

I sure as heck would like to know where all the original stuff for this bike ended up, my guess is it's A) in a garage down the street or B) long ago thrown in the trash...


GrandPaul (does not use emoticons)
Author of the book "Old Bikes"
Too many bikes to list, mostly Triumph & Norton, some BSA & European
"The Iron in your blood should be Vintage"
#632743 - 12/31/15 8:55 am Re: 1974 John Player Special Norton Commando 850 resto [Re: GrandPaul]  
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From PeterJoe:

"Big D Cycle has a copy of the JPN parts list Supplement if anyone is interested. Their website doesn't seem to show the link anymore, but I figured it out.

https://bigdcycle.com/tempbooks/nor/jpn.pdf


Also here is a copy of the Mark II/IIA Parts book which is basically a 1973 parts book with the supplement sheets on the right side showing description and part numbers.

http://issuu.com/sealycycleservice/docs/norton-850mk2-2a_06-5988


Here is a link for an illustrated Mark IA parts supplement that L.A.B. supplied which is helpful for Mark IIA owners.

http://www.accessnorton.com/gallery/album.php?album_id=5


Of course there are omissions and errors in the parts books so it is a good idea to have a hard copy so you can make the corrections. I hope this is of some help."


GrandPaul (does not use emoticons)
Author of the book "Old Bikes"
Too many bikes to list, mostly Triumph & Norton, some BSA & European
"The Iron in your blood should be Vintage"
#632744 - 12/31/15 8:56 am Re: 1974 John Player Special Norton Commando 850 resto [Re: GrandPaul]  
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 6,645
GrandPaul Online content
BritBike Forum member
GrandPaul  Online Content
BritBike Forum member

Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 6,645
Laredo (South) Texas, USA
11/11 From ZFD (Joe/Andover):

"Rear fairing mounts I believe we have. They are probably not listed because they are still in some box with the fairing tooling- but I remember I saw them when we had the spares laid out that came with the tooling.

Black chrome we have a major problem with. Due to environmental issues it seems impossible now to get anything black chromed. My boy´s have tried for months to get a pair of shortened Roadster silencers chromed for our "family racer" Commando, and a set of "SS" exhaust pipes for a customer. No success yet. We may have to go for ceramic coating in black!"

My reply:

Black ceramic would be pretty cool (although not original for the JPN)

Once I get the 880 sold, and the JPN running and cleaned up, I'll decide whether I can afford to shoot for the moon or keep it low-key.

Last edited by GrandPaul; 12/31/15 8:58 am.

GrandPaul (does not use emoticons)
Author of the book "Old Bikes"
Too many bikes to list, mostly Triumph & Norton, some BSA & European
"The Iron in your blood should be Vintage"
#632745 - 12/31/15 8:58 am Re: 1974 John Player Special Norton Commando 850 resto [Re: GrandPaul]  
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 6,645
GrandPaul Online content
BritBike Forum member
GrandPaul  Online Content
BritBike Forum member

Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 6,645
Laredo (South) Texas, USA
From AccessNorton member Jimbo:



GrandPaul (does not use emoticons)
Author of the book "Old Bikes"
Too many bikes to list, mostly Triumph & Norton, some BSA & European
"The Iron in your blood should be Vintage"
#632746 - 12/31/15 9:01 am Re: 1974 John Player Special Norton Commando 850 resto [Re: GrandPaul]  
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 6,645
GrandPaul Online content
BritBike Forum member
GrandPaul  Online Content
BritBike Forum member

Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 6,645
Laredo (South) Texas, USA
11/12 From AccessNorton member commando:

"The Issu link to the MK2A parts supplement is a flash shockwave which cannot be downloaded.

The trick is to go to the page source and you can pull out what it links to which is a series of JPG files

This is the first

http://image.issuu.com/150113041017-71b ... page_1.jpg

and the last

http://image.issuu.com/150113041017-71b ... age_72.jpg

You can download these to get 72 JPG files and then use a program to compile a 72 page PDF from the JPG files."

My reply:

No need for all that, just wanted the JPN-specific parts which I got. It's only 3 pages, just under 100 line-items which is just about 2 screens of Excel spreadsheet on my laptop.

(NOTE: I have this spreadsheet available for anyone who wants a copy. PM or e-mail me and I'll send it along)


GrandPaul (does not use emoticons)
Author of the book "Old Bikes"
Too many bikes to list, mostly Triumph & Norton, some BSA & European
"The Iron in your blood should be Vintage"
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