Scott Somers’ John Player Norton and 850 Roadster

A reader shares the stories of how he acquired his 1974 Norton 850 Roadster and John Player Norton.

Reader Contribution by Letter Scott Somers
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by Scott Somers

I bought my first bike, a Honda CL160, at age 15 and a half. This was 49 years ago. I have owned many bikes including two Ducati 750 Sports, a Laverda 750 SF, a Moto Morini 350 and many Japanese bikes, but never a British twin. I had mentioned to my friend Scott Dunlavey that maybe I was looking for one. Scott and I go back 48 years. He is a racing champion (Baja, Pikes Peak and AMA Dirt Track) and an amazingly talented mechanic. Soon after, he calls. “You need to come look at this Norton!” OK when and where? A short test ride and I am an owner of a 1974 Yellow 850 Roadster which has been converted to an S (high pipe) model. I love high pipes.

Fast forward four years. Phone rings, “Hey it is Scott. Check your email, I sent pictures of a bike you need! It’s a two-owner John Player Norton with under 4,900 original miles and every document including the original sales receipt.” How much I ask? “It doesn’t matter. You can’t buy the miles off of them.” A meeting is arranged. A short 370-mile drive and I am looking at the JPN. When did I know that I had to have it? The minute I looked at the photos and Scott called with the details. So two Nortons now. I am a subscriber and read your magazine cover to cover. Thanks for all of the great info and fine photos. Scott is a Triumph guy so it always amazes me that he keeps finding me Nortons.

Scott Somers/Walnut Creek, California MC

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