Just in time for All-Hallows Eve comes word of yet another proposed Norton return from the dead. The venerable English firm (originally founded in 1898, although the first motorcycles weren’t built until 1902) is supposedly on life-support once again.
To say the financial history of the company has been checkered is like remarking that the Pope seems rather Catholic … the first bankruptcy was in 1913 and the company, while never quite completely shuttered, has staggered from crisis to crisis ever since.
In recent years it’s existed only as a small supplier of parts for its rotary engines, most of which ended up in military drone aircraft.
U.K. businessman Stuart Garner says he’s spent several million pounds getting "the sole rights to the Norton brand for racing, road bikes, and all rights to the name", according to the British bike tabloid MCN.
Garner says he’s building a factory near the Donington Park racetrack, and that "we want a range of four new Nortons in the next three years," including "getting the rotary NRV588 sorted out as a road bike." Not to mention racing it again. Somewhere.
Good luck, mate. The most likely scenario at this point is a nice new line of Norton T-shirts, but who knows? John Bloor managed to revive Triumph, although there was no rotary or ultra-short lead time involved.