Dave Kaufman’s Norton Commando Fastback Memories

A reader shares a story from his teenage days about a Norton Commando Fastback that met with an unfortunate fate.

Reader Contribution by Dave Kaufman
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by Dave Kaufman

Too hot to handle

I am responding to the short article on Page 6 of the January/February 2020 issue of Motorcycle Classics about the Norton Fastback: “Another Fastback.” I had my own “flame-on” experience with my Fastback, similar to the author of the article. As a 17-year-old in 1975 I had built a Fastback from a basket case. I had ridden it to a spray-and-wash to clean it. After soaking it down, I popped off the points cover (mounted under the carbs) to dry out the points. I left the cover loose and took off. Sometime later a float bowl screw vibrated loose resulting in gas dripping onto the points. A buddy and I were on the bike when flames shot up from below. He jumped off and I ditched the bike only to watch it go up in total flames.

After the fire department put it out, I found that the fire had melted the carbs into a puddle on the asphalt. I scraped them up and kept them for several years. I finally put them in a shadow box (see photo) as a memento. You can see the slide springs, mounting studs and main jets in the picture.

I thought I was the only one, but after reading your article, I feel a bit of vindication …

Dave Kaufman, aka AJS Dave/Georgia

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