This 1977 Norton 850 MkIII Commando Interstate, the very last one built, no. 336539, sold at Bonhams' April auction in Stafford, England, for $30,748.
The very last Norton Commando built, a 1977 850 MkIII Interstate, was sold at Bonhams’ April 24 auction in Stafford, England, for an eye-popping $30,748, with buyer’s premium. That’s 15 times the cost when new and easily double what any Norton Interstate has brought at auction to date.
Given this bike’s unique provenance – it is verifiably the absolutely last Norton Commando to leave Norton’s Wolverhampton factory before the doors were shut for good in 1977 – the high price is hardly surprising. The story goes that Norton’s general manager, John Pedley, built the bike after he and a skeleton crew had assembled a final batch of 25 Interstates for distribution to Norton’s Andover sales outlet. With those bikes complete, Pedley decided they should make one more, that wouldn’t pass on for customer sale.
The bike carries frame, engine and transmission number 336539, and has never been registered. The seven miles showing on its odometer have been accrued simply from being moved around over the years. Bonhams’ says the bike hasn’t been started since it was given its factory test upon completion in 1977. Some 50,000 Commando were built between the model’s 1968 introduction and Norton’s final closure only nine years later. It has since become one of the most iconic British motorcycles of all time, along with larger and more prolific Triumph and smaller and more regarded Vincent. – Richard Backus