Are the first 200 Signature 961 Norton Commandos collectible?

Are the first 200 Signature 961 Norton Commandos collectible? This is a question I have been regularly asked over the last three years, at first I thought not, but with the passage of time, I have changed my mind. Now that they have been bought by the Indian motorcycle manufacturer, TVS Motor Company, I think there’s plenty of investment potential in these machines. The story looks like it will have legs, in spite of some “hiccups” in its recent history. The new owner is a giant in the motorcycle industry and will deliver the global positioning that this brand requires. They clearly have an eye on the future, as they are highly active in the electric scooter market. They sell millions of scooters in India and the purchase of Norton is an oven ready luxury brand with racing heritage and history. Norton will become a massive global player with such backing.

Norton 961 Commando Cafe racer LHS 1 1

Stuart Garner bought the Norton brand in 2008 and delivered a no frills, no nonsense modern upgrade of the legendary Commando without destroying the soul of the motorcycle. He started with a limited edition, numbered run of two hundred units with a plaque on the handlebars giving an individual build number. Norton later continued the machine en masse and dropped the numbering of each model. They evolved the machine, keeping electronic gadgetry to a minimum but only sufficiently adding electronics to acquire type approval.

What is beautiful about this motorcycle is that it’s about the essence of motorcycling. A motor, brakes, frame, forks, engine, wheels, rear suspension, a seat and a fuel tank. That’s it, no frills, just the open road, the motorcycle and your own soul. They modernised the original Commando design just enough to give modern riders what they really want. They retained the shape, character, vibration, sound and style of the original machine from the late 1960s and 1970s. This was not a facsimile of what a Norton used to be, like a modern big twin Harley is a facsimile of the old hogs. The modern Bonneville is another facsimile of the old vintage machine but has nothing in common with the original other than the name and number of cylinders. The Norton Commando Signature is the real deal of modern classic motorcycles.

Henry Cole Norton cafe racer plaques
The first 200 pieces were numbered and this adds great value

Norton had succeeded, where so many others had failed, in staying true to their essence and heritage. This is a great feat that needs to be acknowledged. They went racing at the Isle of Man and delivered what looked like an interesting modern four cylinder motorcycle to double their range. It was a clever move, but things went awry and eventually the company went into administration in early 2020. As they went into administration, my phone was ringing off the hook with investors asking if the first 200 numbered Commandos would be a great investment. At that time I said I thought not. What value does a modern motorcycle have with no spares available? Very little, it will just become an instrument of frustration. Although now the world has since changed, Norton has stability, a bright future and a safe spares supply for the present and future. That changes things dramatically and those first two hundred motorcycles look extremely collectible, certainly better than any interest you may receive from a high street banking establishment, which is not difficult.

Norton Cafe racer STYLISED
Nostalgia can bur modern interpretation of old classics, but these Nortons are the real deal for retro motorcycling

Let’s look at the motorcycle itself, as the story and heritage of the company certainly has plenty of ingredients for producing classic motorcycles. The 961 Commando was the first motorcycle Norton delivered since the rotary-engined motorcycles of the early 1990s. It epitomises what motorcycling is all about, as you can read in this article. It was a very popular motorcycle with investors and enthusiasts alike; a limited edition of only two hundred pieces, hand built and numbered is a great ingredient for investors. The specification was excellent with carbon wheels and Ohlins rear shock absorbers as standard which can now be added as accessories for over £3,000. This motorcycle has had a lot of media coverage, especially from the likes of Henry Cole on The Motorbike Show and in the daily newspapers. The first two hundred of the 961 Commando is a very successful, very attractive motorcycle and is now becoming a collectible motorcycle.

With spares now being available and steady ownership secured for the long term, this motorcycle has a very bright future. Those first two hundred signature 961 numbered Commandos provide motorcycle investors with a secure and fun machine which will deliver profits over the coming years. The modern classic motorcycles that will really make money are the handful of one-off factory builds from these first two hundred. I know of only two or three, the rest were all pretty standard, but those unique pieces will really gain in value.

Paul Jayson

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

2 Responses to “Are the first 200 Signature 961 Norton Commandos collectible?”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Featured in

The Motorcycle Broker
The Motorcycle Broker
The Motorcycle Broker
The Motorcycle Broker
The Motorcycle Broker
The Motorcycle Broker

Download your FREE Top 10 Classic Motorcycles Investments guide

Simply join the Inside-line Members club, it's FREE!

Vintage Motorcycle Investment PDF

Don't miss a post