‘It’s heady stuff’

MCN - - GREAT EXPERIENCES -

In 2010 Ben, then work­ing for MCN’s sis­ter mag­a­zine Clas­sic Bike, vis­ited four key Nor­ton factory sites re­spon­si­ble for the leg­endary Com­mando: Nor­ton Vil­liers in Wolver­hamp­ton, where the Com­mando was de­signed; the AMC factory at Wool­wich where it was built in 1968 and 1969; North Way An­dover, which took over the pro­duc­tion be­tween 1969 and 1973 and Thrux­ton where the Norvil race shop was.

Like with Tri­umph, there’s not much left but there’s still enough to im­press. “In Wolver­hamp­ton the sheer scale is still ev­i­dent.” At Plum­stead, where the factory was de­mol­ished and the land was sold for hous­ing, “I walked the perime­ter of the old site and it took me 10 min­utes.” Then fi­nally at Thrux­ton: “Nis­sen huts evoke the area’s his­tory with proper busi­nesses weld­ing bits of me­tal to­gether; it’s heady stuff. We walked over to a long, blue­painted, brick build­ing where the Com­mando pro­duc­tion rac­ers were de­vel­oped and tried to imag­ine how ex­cit­ing it must have been to work here as a bike-mad young man.”

Ben Miller Rid­ing for 30 yearsOc­cu­pa­tion For­mer edi­tor of Clas­sic BikeBike Nor­ton Com­mando

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