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1974 Norton Cafe Racer: Vintage Dunstall Goodness

William 9


This post is in our archives. Links in this post have been updated to point to similar bikes available to bid on eBay.

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With the holiday season fast approaching and the end of the year right after that, many spend this time reflecting on the past.  They wax poetic about the good old days and times past.  No reason not to do so in a motorcycle context as well.  Even more so when epic vintage bikes like this Norton Commando are on the market.  This era of motorcycle is seen as the birth place of the modern sports bike.  A time when the lines between race and road blurred.

Norton Commandos need very little introduction.  Instantly recognizable and universally loved for the iconic style and sound.  The market for clean stock examples is on fire these days, but it has been a while since a tuned racer has been offered to the public.  This bike is not some cosmetic cafe racer built with a fairing bolted on and a cut seat.  This one was built by the one and only Kenny Cummings of NYC Norton.   Anyone that is not familiar with his work should spend some time digging around his website.  It is filled with amazing street and race bikes.  He is the go to guy in this world, so it is amazing to see one of his bikes for sale.

From The Seller’s eBay Listing:

1974 Norton Commando For Sale

I am selling my Norton Commando Dunstall Café Racer.

The bike was built as a Dunstall café racer by NYC Norton’s Kenny Cummings about ten years ago.

I then couldn’t resist turning it into a Production Racer for a few track days.

It is now back in its “street legal” Dunstall form.

Over $17,000.00 in shop bills alone not including the original donor bike, wheels, tires, paint, powder coating, etc. etc.

Bike comes with:

· Black NOS Dunstall fairing, fiberglass tank, two up seat and other Dunstall accessories.

· Mick Hemmings floating front disk brake and alloy front wheel.

· Dave Taylor Head Steady

· Steve Maney Belt Drive.

· Boyer Electronic Ignition.

· Mikuni 32mm Carburetors.

· Buchanan rear alloy wheel.

· Avon Race Tires/ Street tires.

· Re-laced steel wheels with stainless spokes.

· Build sheets available.

· More pictures available.

· Receipts available.

· Dyno charts. (58 H.P.) @rear wheel.

· Spare Avon “sprint” fairing.

· Pit Bull stand.

Bob McKeever clip-ons.
Doc Z starter
Norton Production Racer body parts.

The seller highlights a laundry list of top tier components used in the build, and even quotes an eye watering bill from NYC Norton for all the work.  At a starting price of $10,000 on the eBay listing, there is no way anyone could duplicate this bike for that number.  Unsure where the reserve is, so it will be interesting to watch the listing and see where bidding goes.  A bike like this offers a very versatile option to a buyer.  It can be an entry ticket into vintage racing, a sure fire conversation piece at the local bike night, an exciting weekend ride or just something beautiful to stare at in the garage.




  1. Mike Mike

    So different from RSBFS normal fare, yet so cool!

  2. Sal Giovanni Sal Giovanni

    I think we as a collective group really need to reevaluate what we’re considering sportbikes. A 58 hp bike won’t even wheelie unless clutched up.

  3. William William

    Thanks for the feedback!

  4. Alex GPz Alex GPz

    Well its a Norton, they look better in original condition, no fairing. BTW, I do believe it was 68 hp not 58 hp. Always loved my ’72 Combat Commando Roadster for around town and short trips, not a highway bike. Something always went wrong with them.
    10 years ago they would go for $2000 or less.

  5. Interesting comments.
    58 rear wheel hp will definitely lift a front wheel, and is that a prerequisite for a sportsbike.
    Are all those old racing singles with 50hp or less now not racers?
    Claims of something always going wrong with old bikes/Nortons, poor preparation and maintenance.
    Not so many Nortons are original unless they are not ridden, just show ponies. Ignitions, Carbs, Suspension, etc will always be played with in riders.
    Nortons are great bikes to ride and cool as.
    This one needs a tidy up, and that exhaust tape!!!!!

  6. eric eric

    this is from a time when the sportbike class hadnt even been created (it was officially christened with the launch of the original Honda CB600F/”hurricane”). Personally I ilike seeing stuff like this occasionally

    And remember, given the brakes on frames on these, 58 rw hp was probably pretty damn scary!

    “Its from a time when men were REAL men, women were REAL women and small furry creatures from alpha centauri were REAL small furry creatures from alpha centauri!” – douglas adams, slightly paraphrased

  7. Deacon Smith Deacon Smith

    When I was a kid, well before I got my farm/school license at 14, I was riding in the family car with my father and saw a guy on a black Norton put the front wheel straight up in the air. With the noise and the power I was hooked. Not too many years later I stood a Triumph 750 on end coming off a light, grinning from ear to ear and hanging on for dear life. Later, racing (an RD400) at an amateur endurance race, I saw a guy launch the front end of a Triumph out of pure exuberance and got the same thrill as I did with that first Norton. From my perspective, those were the origins of sport bikes. I put a cafe faring and clubman bars on a ’78 GS750 and that was a rare thing then. I’m in my mid 60s now and still have a GSX-R750, among others. I enjoy seeing the vintage bikes and any streetable two strokes here at least as much as I do the more mass produced modern stuff. We’ve come a long way and it’s a pleasure to look back now and then.

  8. Years ago I shared an apartment in London with a French guy who had travelled to England for work and raced a Norton Commando which had everything done to it-thing was a gorgeous weapon in yellow with the Dunstall half fairing, race seat etc.
    It was an 810cc if memory serves, and I travelled with him to many races.
    Now between us we werent engineers, but something major fell off that bike almost every time it hit the track- the clutch at one race, a spark plug blew out threads and all another time, main bearings collapsed next time out.
    Still I loved it dearly, the looks, the noise, but really the bikes were hopelessly out of date, adjusting the chain by moving the gearbox, etc etc. The Italian and Jap stuff simply took over, although the British bike lovers put up a strong defence.
    Commandos handle great when set up properly, but dont rev the poor things, they are almost prewar design and deserve respect, and despite everything I would love to have one now.

  9. Deacon Smith Deacon Smith

    The student who posted the fastest lap time at the Keith Code track school I attended at Road Atlanta in the early ’90s was an older guy and his daily rider was a Norton.

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