Misty Green by Brian Fuller 03 March 16
Kyle Frey had seen Fuller Moto Cafe Racers and was interested in transforming the 1968 Norton Commando 750 he inherited from his Uncle Fred who lived in Manheim, Pennsylvania and was a Laverda dealer. Fred restored bikes in his garage and one day he found this Norton as a matching number unit with a frame and four milk crates of parts. It had been sitting for years.
Fuller started the disassembly phase and found a solid piece of 1.5” or 2” round stock used to repair the backbone of the frame. In this model, oil was in the frame so they decided to do the same for cleanliness and to leave more room in the tail for the Speedcell Lithium Ion battery and regulator.
This was the first bike they had used the frame as the oil reservoir. It’s definitely a challenge, especially on such a minimalist ride. There’s a bit of reserve in the tail that had to be vented back up to the cap. The pump is on the lower back right side of the engine by the transmission. We ran lines up from the frame directly to the pump inlets so they are clean looking and have smooth flow. There are also two bungs under the frame there for draining during an oil change.
They did some special mods for venting, too. The vent comes out of the crank case in front of the left pulley. A tube was welded into the down tube to vent up to a special oil separator box welded into the neck as an additional brace. In order not to add another tube in that region, they made it vent around the steering tube. Basically a donut that vents to a slot in the front of the neck hidden from view.
The swing arm was lengthened by 2 inches. It was easier to remove the right tube and put another one in due to its shape and location with the new larger wheel combo. Fox Racing Shox hooked us up with a pair of their modern version of Cafe Racer style adjustable shocks.
They dusted off a set of dirt bike hubs laying around from the Barber Swap meet that seemed to suit the bike well. Buchanan laced them up to Aluminum rims 18” in the rear and 19” in the front. Berringer brakes were originally red but Kyle liked the red rims and brakes but felt Norton Green was called for on this project. They disassembled everything and re-powder coated and anodized to get the colors they wanted. They opted for the satin black anodize on the Berringers to give them more of a business look. The front end of the Norton was heavy so they shortened the springs on a Honda CB 550 setup that was laying around, which worked perfectly. NYC Norton supplied the triples with a custom drill for the CB forks.
The motor was delivered to Beno Rodi who is an english bike expert. He’s in his 70’s and still races 100 motorcycle races a year! He knows these old Norton’s inside out and has a stash of old and new parts when necessary to fill the gaps. The motor wasn’t in too bad a shape, he did a basic ring, hone, valve and port jobs. He put it together with custom ARP studs and nuts they made specialy for this project.
Beno also went through the transmission and tidied up a few things so it shifts nicely. Wentworth threads are a pain but they replaced all that made sense with ARP 12 point SS fasteners. They bought the open primary kit with the included clutch that is light to the touch and doesn’t slip. Bryan Heidt aka “Super B” cut the original cover into a cool shape that covers the Stator a bit and protects Kyle’s foot from the open belt at the control.
Once the design, reminiscent of the old Manx racers, was done they made Hammerforms out of MDF to create the bubbles on the tank, tail, and fairing. This works well to get a sharp line and makes for easy symmetry. A big dead blow roughs them in well and then used the JET English Wheel and Planishing Hammer to finish. Tops and sides are trimmed, rolled, and metal-finished. Voila!! You get a tank, tail, and fairing.
The graphics were sprayed by Atlanta paint guru Joe Patterson aka JDK. Color was matched to the green dot on the Smith’s gauge then pinstriped by Chastin Brand. John Whitaker did the Leather upholstery on the seat, tail, and tank.
Photographer Matthew Jones found a great spot out in the Georgia countryside to take these photos and in the mist in the air the morning of the shoot she became - Misty Green.
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Alan Goodsell , 03 March 16