Mid 1980's. I sent word to a good friend who was currently living in the UK that I wanted a good 850 Commando. A MkIIa Roadster would be my best choice. By return mail he told me he had found a good example with 26000 miles on the clock.

His photo also revealed that it had a large-ish handlebar fairing and some Triumph knee pads - but was otherwise very original.

I decided to take the punt, so sent him funds to buy it and freight it.

It was many months later when it turned up in a carefully packed crate with many parts my friend had secured for himself neatly packed as well.

The Norton ran well but was in need of a real good clean up, so I stripped all the bodywork and cleaned and replaced all the parts needed as I put it back together. The chrome on the blackcap mufflers was well gone, but I figured that most new owners would be replacing them with their choice of something that sounded better anyway - so would leave them as they were to keep the resale price down. A few mates came round to try it out.

I was contacted by a chap up in Golden Bay who had heard that I was doing one up to sell, and he was super keen to buy it. I agreed to ride it up there so he could see it in the flesh.

It was looking quite smart and running impeccably so I figured it was worth whatever I was hoping to get for it at the time. I forget now how much that was..

I rode it up staying overnight in Blenheim. Lovely ride and never a missed beat. When I got to Golden Bay the guy was so pleased with it he gave me a cheque on the spot. I had to find my own way home.!

The cheque worked fine and despite being less one very nice Norton - I now had funds for the next bike purchase.