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P43 "Classic"

When Philippe Le Roux took over the semi-dormant Norton Motors Ltd he found an exhaustively tested product in the form of the Interpol II, but nothing to sell to the man in the street. The answer of the marketing man in this case- and Bloors Triumph did the very same some years later- is to come up with a "First Edition" bike to be snapped up by the collectors. The answer of the production manager was to take an Interpol II and, with radical changes to styling but as little change as possible to the actual well-tested core motorcycle, produce a fully evaluated but, to the eyes of the public, completely new model. 
The Classic was not just a "Collectors Item", it was in fact a very nice  motorcycle. The low centre of gravity made it feel lighter than it actually was, and devoid of all the police equipment and fairing it was a pretty quick handler on twisty roads. In the British tradition, it had a functionally well-constructed centre stand that dug into the tarmac with its footstep in every lefthander- some things never seemed to change- "They all do that, Sir", as old Norton Commando and Triumph Bonneville riders can tell you!

So the Classic is in fact nothing but a glorified Interpol II with nicer looks and without a fairing. As such, there are some high-mileage examples about that have done phenomenal distances with minimum fuss, but there are also some low-mileage lemmons around, the problem being storage- a rotary engine is prone to corrosion when laid up for long periods without the necessary precautions. By the time it is started up after a long period in a possibly damp environment (unheated garage), things will go seriously and costly wrong. Norton Motors, being aware of the problem, sent out a service release about how to prepare a Classic for storage. 100 Classics were built, as well as one prototype, and several more were later made up by private owners from Interpol IIs- the giveaway always being the engine/frame numbers, which on Classics run from P43LE001 through P43LE100.
At the Birmingham Show in 1989 Norton showed a prototype "Classic Mk2" with a watercooled engine as a teaser for the public. Norton was in deep trouble financially, and the show did not bring in any orders that would justify a production run. The bike was sold off, and that was it- but for a standart Classic that was converted to watercooling in the factory some time later.
This picture actually shows a P53 "Commander" in the foreground, but it is not only nice to look at but gives an idea how much smaller and lighter a "Classic" is in comparison. The "Commander" was the bike for the long-distance traveller- the "Classic" a fun scratcher for B-roads- even though their raw bones are not very different.