Norton Motors Ltd
goes back to the original company founded by James
Lansdowne Norton in 1898. It takes the old name back
to England, where it first started, via a joint
venture company in Germany.
Norton Motors (1978) Ltd established a
daughter company, Norton Motors Germany, as a joint venture with the then German
importer Joachim "Joe" Seifert in 1988, and Seifert, in turn, registered
Norton Motors Ltd in England in 1996 together with Richard Negus, the last
Norton Motors Ltd "Chief of Motorcycles".
Norton Motors raison d'čtre was first and foremost to keep the Rotary
Nortons on the road, supporting their owners with spares and services. The
Rotary motorcycle owners were virtually left out in the rain in the years
Norton Motors/England was owned by a Canadian Company, 1993-2001. Though
the situation improved a little under its new owner, the late Keith Moore, it is fair to
say Mr Moore had no background in the motorcycle industry and
was, therefore, not in an ideal position to constructively rebuild the
At the auction of everything inside the old Norton factory in
Shenstone in November 2003, Negus and Seifert bought all spares, tooling and
drawings for the Norton rotary motorcycles. By March 2004 Norton
opened their new premises in Rugeley. They improved their services
against the past decade, ploughing all profits (and more!)
back into the parts stores and gradually rebuilt the availability of parts to a decent level.
However, with Richard's retirement in February 2009 Norton Motors Ltd had to close
At the end of March 2010
Norton Motors Ltd vacated the Rugeley premises.
Richard Negus, ex-Managing
Director, Norton Motors Ltd
was the last Norton "Chief of
Motorcycles". Having started his working life at BSA,
progressing as a draughtsman to Norton Villiers Ltd, then on to
Yamaha Europe as a project engineer on a joint project with Norton,
back to Norton Motors (1978) Ltd in Shenstone, he resigned there (in
disgust) in 1994 after having had enough of the new Canadian owners.
Richard then progressed to Mid-West engines, technically supervising
the (ex-Norton) aero engine development, and finally coming home to
Norton Motorcycles with the aquisition of the Norton Rotary
Motorcycle business in November 2003 by Norton Motors Ltd, something
he, and fellow director Seifert, had tried to accomplish since 1994!
Joe Seifert, Director, Norton Motors Ltd,
Andover Norton (International) Ltd and Managing Director,
Norton Motors (Deutschland) GmbH, started his Norton career rather unspectacularly with the
purchase of a 1937 Norton 16H in 1976, buying his first Norton Commando in 1977. He
became a dealer in 1980, official Norton spares outlet in 1982, official
Norton importer for Germany in 1987, and finally managing director and co-owner of
Norton Motors (Deutschland) on 1st January 1989.
In 1993, Norton Motors
(Deutschland) actually produced the last ever Norton F1 Sports from parts;
in 1997, having at Norton Motors Ltd's urging registered the Norton
Trademark for most of Europe in 1990, and seeing nothing constructive
happening at Norton Motors/England, Seifert started development
of the Norton C652 International, using the BMW F650 engine. A small production run
was built in 1998/1999, and the trademark later sold on to Norton America
in late 2002.
Both also have a racing history. Richard Negus once built
and owned very sucessful Racing Norton Commandos, that were known to occasionally
beat the Norton works efforts, one making 2nd place at the Barcelona
24 hour race (the factory bikes had fallen by the wayside early on in the
race). Here you see the man himself behind one of his racebikes, devoid of
the more fashionable "Norton Motors" Cap (see Andover
Shop), and with slightly longer hair than is currently his style.
Seifert still races in vintage races, with
success, on either a 1949 Garden Gate 30M Manx, a 1960 30M Manx, or a 750 Commando.
He also fielded the very first F1 ever to leave the factory (frame # P55
0001) in German Battle of Twins racing in the years 1990-1993 under an
experienced, if average, rider.
As of April 2010
Norton Motors Ltd became part of Andover Norton International Ltd
and was closed to the general public. All Rotary Spares are now in
Hungerford at Andover Norton International