James Lansdowne Norton, originally from Birmingham at the age of 19, founded the Norton Manufacturing Co. in 1898 with the original goal of producing bicycle chains. In 1902 he produced the first Norton motorcycle by adding a small motor to a bicycle at the bottom of the frame. In 1908, as a continuation of the first model, Norton developed a 633 cc single cylinder engine. that would be mounted on five models of the brand enjoying a long life. In 1916 the famous Norton logo appears for the first time. In 1924 the pilot Alec Bennet wins with a Norton the famous Senior TT race that is held annually on the Isle of Man. During the years of the Second World War, between 1939 and 1946 there were about 100,000 units of the brand for use military. In 1952, the Geoff Duke rider proclaimed himself world speed champion with Norton motorcycles in two categories: 350 cc. and 500 cc. In 1967 the mythical Commando model was born]]. In 1971 Street Scambler is released. 1976 marks the beginning of the brand’s decline: the Commando model ceases to be produced, due to the recession of the English market and the arrival in Europe of the Japanese brands. In 1977 the brand changed hands, with the financing of the English government a new rotary engine was developed and its mechanical developments were applied to motorcycles and also to small boats and light aircraft. In 1992 Norton wins again in the Senior TT, but despite the sporting success the brand’s financial stability is low and the company ends up closing.

In October 2008, it was news that businessman Stuart Garner had bought the rights to the Norton brand and was setting up a new factory and offices in the Donington area. After rumors about the company’s work on a motorcycle for the street that would bear the name of Commando, it was finally presented in public as a prototype at several fairs. The manufacture of the definitive model called Commando 961 SE limited to 200 began in September 2009 and will be on sale in 2010. This model is a Cafe Racer in the purest style. Described by experts as a true aesthetic wonder, it is a model manufactured by hand and with top-level components (Öhlins suspensions, Brembo brakes, BST carbon wheels). It probably exceeds € 20,000 of P.V.P., although this is only speculation. The brand ensures that it will later manufacture a standard version with economical components to reach the general public.

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