How much are Nortons really worth?

Discussion in 'Old's Cool' started by canoeguy, Dec 21, 2017.

  1. canoeguy

    canoeguy Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,548
    Location:
    SW Virginia
    So I manufacture and build log homes and I have a customer whom I was talking to the other day and like most folks building a home he is a little stretched. He joked around about selling me a truck and I told him no thanks I am more of a motorcycle guy, especially the old ones. Well, he says, I have a couple of those too. One is a 1973 Laverda and the other is either a '68 or '73 Norton.

    I know...either a '68 or '73?!?... So here is what I am gathering. I think the guy has had these bikes since the 70's and has had them parked in his basement for decades. I could tell when I mentioned motorcycles it was like a light bulb for his memory that he had a couple of those.

    I love old Triumphs and Nortons are ok in my book but I have never had one. I don't have much interest in the Laverda as I worry about getting it going and keeping it going. Regardless I have been looking at Nortons on craigslist and around a bit and they are priced all over the place.

    Now this isn't my first rodeo so I realize everything is dependent upon condition. so lets just assume these are complete, with free engines, and minimal rust but they have been in a basement for 30 years. Also no title. He has them but, god knows where. I can address that here in Virginia.

    But lets talk about what Nortons are actually selling for in restored, running, and less than running conditions.
    #1
    Hi-De-Ho likes this.
  2. noman

    noman Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,185
    Location:
    the sticks, southern vt
    my first thought is ethanol gas vs fiberglass tanks, are the tanks fiberglass? if so, replacements can be had of course, but not cheap.

    second thought is about the "superblend bearing upgrade". not sure what years, benefits etc. but certainly a bargaining chip.

    i track norton values a little bit, maybe i'll rediscover my youth some day ( below, from marin cty 1976 ). value varies by season and location, un-restored but running ranges from 6 to 8 or so in new england .

    levis jacket, frye boots, bell helmet and hair. had life by the ballz back then. :D
    [​IMG]
    #2
    Hi-De-Ho and Mista Vern like this.
  3. canoeguy

    canoeguy Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,548
    Location:
    SW Virginia
    Nice! Those are some serious heels on those boots!

    I cant help but wonder when folks look back forty years from now what they will think of the space suits we often ride in. Who knows, maybe we will circle back around to the bell bottoms yet again.
    #3
  4. noman

    noman Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,185
    Location:
    the sticks, southern vt
    850 commando, first year of the electric starter. it wasn't actually a "starter" per se, more like a suggestion. after one or two slow strokes of the kicker to get fuel goin' where it should, i'd put my entire weight on the kick starter whilst ( whilst? ) pressing the start button. so i needed a good heel while riding the kicker. always started, and those pipes - oh what a sound.

    hmm, forgot about that 'stach, i look like some cheesy spaniard -- oh wait.
    #4
  5. bodine003

    bodine003 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2015
    Oddometer:
    963
    Location:
    Melbourne Florida
    Brian Slark at Barber Motorsport Park is who I would ring up/ask
    #5
    maydaymike likes this.
  6. Voltaire

    Voltaire Titanium and Ceramic Hipster

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2011
    Oddometer:
    2,409
    Location:
    Auckland,New Zealand
    The Laverda would be interesting,SF750 perhaps?
    I have a 72 Combat Interstate in very good condition that I bought this year, was 13K NZ around 10K US.
    Lots of variables, supply in area, condition, storage, milage etc.
    Emgo do new steel tanks probably around $500 US, you can get most if not all parts new although it starts to add up.
    Roadsters seem to be the most popular at the moment, and you also get Highriders that have been converted to Roadsters.
    Pictures would be useful.
    #6
  7. canoeguy

    canoeguy Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,548
    Location:
    SW Virginia
    Yea, I know the pics would be good. I have given him specific instructions on the pics I need. But he is an older fellow and as I said a customer. I am not pushing him. But he seems excited. Every time he calls or sends a message he mentions it. He is likely a more eager seller than I am a buyer. If nothing else I will make sure he knows what it is worth even if I don't take it.
    #7
  8. noman

    noman Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,185
    Location:
    the sticks, southern vt
    bet he could sell it here ...................
    #8
  9. sparkingdogg

    sparkingdogg Prisoner In Disguise

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2014
    Oddometer:
    6,221
    Location:
    Omahell, Nebraska
    I bought a pile of crap '74 High Rider from a buddy, to help him out. Maybe 5 years ago. Paid $1,000 for it... it was rough, non runner, partly taken apart, grenaded generator. I thought I was paying waaay to much. I parted it out, and it sold something like $12,000 worth of parts.

    :eekers

    So a total pile of crap is worth $1k all day long. Good ones go for probably an average of $8k around here, they come up on Craigslist fairly often. Condition is everything. Original paint and unrestored will be worth the most if the bike is nice.

    Be aware that you have maybe one wrench in your entire metric and SAE tool collection that will fit anything on this bike. It uses neither. :patch
    #9
  10. bmwrench

    bmwrench Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2006
    Oddometer:
    5,672
    To quote my father, "I wouldn't give you a nickel for a boatload of 'em."
    #10
    YJake, David4, MZRider and 1 other person like this.
  11. GsGrins

    GsGrins does his own stunts

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    Oddometer:
    511
    Location:
    T-burg, NY
    $9,000. A few years ago. I delivered it several states away. I bought it in ‘79 for $900. D8F04E04-E7D3-4E3B-A647-6D755155F3BB.jpeg
    #11
  12. jeep44

    jeep44 junk collector

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,491
    Location:
    Canton,Michigan
    I paid about $1500 for this '66 Atlas at an auction (it would have been $1000, but some jackass decided to try to jump in at the last moment). I've since spent at least $4000-$5000 to bring it back to restored condition. Bringing a motorcycle back from the dead is always more expensive than you figured, and you likely won't get your money back out of it when you sell. A Commando isn't especially complicated, and parts are probably more readily available than any other Brit bike. Without seeing the bike, you are going to probably spend $3000 just to get it running dependably again.

    Attached Files:

    #12
    mikeysduck likes this.
  13. jeep44

    jeep44 junk collector

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,491
    Location:
    Canton,Michigan
    I would.
    #13
  14. bmwrench

    bmwrench Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2006
    Oddometer:
    5,672
    Great answer! But you can have 'em.
    #14
  15. LJ3

    LJ3 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2008
    Oddometer:
    118
    A complete commando needing restoration but all there is worth around $3500-5000 with a title.
    Decent runners go for a couple thousand more.
    Nice unmolested original bikes get into 5 figures. Restored bikes can go up to the high teens and in at least one case I've seen a very nice restored one go for over $20,000.
    It costs ALOT of money to restore one of these.
    I've been riding, buying and selling britbikes since the 1970's, I've bought several really nice commandos for under $1000 but that was 30-40 years ago.
    If you do get to the point you are considering getting his commando be aware that the engine, frame and gearbox should all have matching numbers, if not it cuts the value by about half.
    #15
  16. LJ3

    LJ3 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2008
    Oddometer:
    118
    Maybe your father was wrong? Riding a well sorted commando is a joy, a BMW airhead feels like a riding lawnmower in comparison. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing but respect for old airheads, they are truly legendary machines but they are pigs to ride.
    You will never hear a Norton referred to as a 'rubber cow'
    #16
    robbie0365, numbat and Hi-De-Ho like this.
  17. Voltaire

    Voltaire Titanium and Ceramic Hipster

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2011
    Oddometer:
    2,409
    Location:
    Auckland,New Zealand
    Mmmmmm rubber cows :raabia

    Attached Files:

    #17
  18. villageidiot

    villageidiot Long timer

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2010
    Oddometer:
    7,010
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    i know a guy with 20 ish nortons. has em everywhere, id hazard in my neck of the woods, $2500 for a complete, but total project, and 10-12 for a nice runner. some guys at the local vintage bike meet i go to every month, have over $35k in their restored nortons, but thats paying someone else to do it.

    colorado norton works does some pretty (albeit too much shiny bits) nice work.
    #18
    sparkingdogg likes this.
  19. Strong Bad

    Strong Bad Former World's Foremost Authority

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2007
    Oddometer:
    8,792
    Location:
    Omicron Persei 8
    I paid $2500 for a 1969 750 Commando that was a runner but needed a fair bit of work. It has 2 interstate tanks, one fiberglass & one steel. It also had interstate pipes. The thing about "restoring" old bikes is that you can spend boat loads on making them better than new, and while that does make for a sweet ride, I personally fail to see the point of making it better than new. I've gone with the electronic ignition, larger alternator, and single Mikuni carb. I got it to make it into a daily rider for around town. It is really easy to kick start and if it doesn't start on the first kick, I reach down and turn the key on and it starts 2nd kick every time, so I see no reason to do an electric start conversion.

    There are gazillions of Triumphs out there, but fewer Nortons. I swear that my old Norton is smother than my 07 GSA on the freeway at 65 mph.
    #19
  20. LJ3

    LJ3 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2008
    Oddometer:
    118
    touche!
    #20
    Voltaire likes this.