Norton is a British motorcycle marque from Birmingham and founded in 1898. By 1913 they had begun manufacturing motorcycles. This began a long series of production and racing wins. more...
They were one of the great names of the British motorcycle industry, producing machines which for decades dominated racing. The original company was formed by James Norton in Wolverhampton in 1898. The Isle of Man Senior TT, the most prestigious of events, was won by Nortons ten times between the wars and then every year from 1947 to 1954.
Post war, the Norton brand was renowned for the quality of the design and handling of their motorcycle frames, particularly the Norton Featherbed frame. So much so that Cafe racers would use this frame with an engine from another manufacturer to make a hybrid machine with the best of both worlds. The most famous of these were Tritons - Triumph twin engines in a Norton frame.
In 1960, Norton was sold to Associated Motorcycles (AMC), who also owned the brands AJS, Matchless, and Villiers. The Wolverhampton factory was closed and production was moved to AMC's Woolwich factory in Southeast London.
By the late 1960s competition from Japan had driven the whole British motorcycle industry into a precipitous decline. In 1969 the Commando was introduced, its revolutionary isolastic frame and powerful engine made it competitive with Japanese superbikes of the era. Despite different variations and strong sales, the company declined in the 1960s and went into liquidation in 1974, but in 1973 Norton was reformed by the British government as Norton-Villiers-Triumph (NVT), taking the Triumph brand from BSA. Due to a labor dispute, NVT went into receivership in 1974, ending production of the original Norton Motorycles. The name was relaunched on an ambitious scale in Lichfield in 1988. The new models have succeeded on the race track - winning the Senior TT in 1992 - but they have moved rather more slowly in the commercial market.
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