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How to Get Your Hands on a 1932 Norton Commando

1932 Norton Commando

Trying to find a vintage motorcycle can sometimes feel like looking for a needle in a haystack. That sentiment has probably never felt more true for you than if you are searching for a 1932 Norton Commando. After all, there are bikes that are difficult to find and then there are those that are so hard to find, it's almost as if they never even existed in the first place. The 1932 Norton Commando definitely falls into the latter category.

The Norton Commando

A lot of people have heard of the Norton Commando, a popular British motorcycle that got its claim to fame on the racing circuit. However, their most well-known motorcycles involve the ones that were built in the 1960s and 70s. While they're not exactly easy to find, locating one is practically as easy as child's play when compared to finding one manufactured in the 1930s. In fact, a quick search of the Norton Commando lists motorcycles made from the late 1960s and later. It's almost as if the versions made in the early 1930s just vanished into thin air. What does that mean for you as an avid collector of such rare motorcycles? It means that if you want to get your hands on an early 1930s model Norton Commando, you're going to have to start doing some major research, searching the globe from one end to the other. It also means that you will have to jump at the opportunity to buy one whenever it presents itself.

The First Norton

Believe it or not, the first Norton motorcycle was made in the 1880s, 1898 to be exact. Manufactured in Birmingham, UK, it was what amounts to a much earlier version of the 1932 Norton Commando. From that point forward, The Norton motorcycle was one of the most sought-after British motorcycles in existence. However, the company didn't really hit its stride until it started producing the Norton Commando in the early 1930s. That's why it's so hard to believe that today, this particular model is almost unheard of. In fact, many people aren't even aware of its existence. As previously mentioned, that makes it difficult for collectors because there are not that many options available to choose from in the first place.

Where to Find One

If you want to find one, where are you supposed to turn? You might get lucky looking through tons and tons of used motorcycle ads, especially those that pertain to classic motorcycles. On the other hand, you might decide to peruse these types of publications, both in print and online, for years without finding anything that is even remotely close to what you're actually looking for. Your best bet is to look at various auction houses that specialize in dealing with motorcycles and other types of vehicles. Granted, you might be paying more for one that you find through this particular avenue, but it's also very likely that this is the only avenue that you will be able to use successfully in your search. Remember, these particular motorcycles are extremely rare. If you're going after a 1932 model, you're definitely going to have to adapt your search in order to take that into account. After all, this is not your typical run-of-the-mill motorcycle. When looking for something that is this rare and this highly sought-after, it's very unlikely that you'll be able to find one through the same method that you would use to find virtually anything else on the road. It's also worth noting that if you do find one, you’ll likely need to have quite a lot of cash on hand, as most of them that do sell are worth more than $30,000.

Find a Private Collection

It might also be a good idea to look into a number of private collections. By using VIN numbers to track down individual motorcycles, you might be able to locate the individuals who own them. The overwhelming majority of them are sitting in private collections that incorporate a number of other motorcycles in addition to vehicles of that same era. By locating these collections that have been amassed over the years, you can keep a close eye on them in order to know right away if an individual decides to sell part of their collection. Who knows, you might get lucky and find that the very motorcycle you want is among those items being sold.

Follow Forums Online

If you still feel like you're at a loss when it comes to finding this gem of a motorcycle, you might try following forums online that deal with classic motorcycles, Norton motorcycles or similar subject matter. By doing so, it might be easier to get turned on to specific 1930s era Norton Commandos that become available for sale. Even if the only thing you can find is one that needs a significant amount of work, it might still benefit you to go ahead and snatch up when you can, then have the necessary work done over a period of time. Considering how rare these motorcycles are, that might very well be your only viable option. It would be a shame to refrain from purchasing something that is available in hopes of waiting for a fully restored version, only to miss out completely on your opportunity to have a bike like this. Chances are, anyone who is looking for a 1932 Norton Commando has a great deal of love for classic motorcycles that are extremely rare. That might actually be to your benefit, because you may have access to knowledge about bikes for sale that aren't commonly known about. Despite the fact that so many things can be found online, that isn't always the case. If you're lucky enough to find one that's for sale which hasn't been published online, you would do well for yourself to buy it while you can. The chance to own one may never come your way again.

Benjamin Smith

Written by Benjamin Smith

Benjamin Smith is one of the managing editors of Moneyinc. Ben's been focusing on the auto and motorcycle sector since 2005. He's written over 1000 articles in the space and continues to learn about it each day. His favorite car is "any Bugatti" and he's a die hard Harley Davidson fan.

Read more posts by Benjamin Smith

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