Norton sold 961 engine rights just before going under
REPORTS are emerging that seem to show that the ex-Norton CEO, Stuart Garner, sold off the rights and tooling to the 961 engines to Chinese Jinlang of January this year.
The reports, from a Chinese website, Motorfans.com.cn, suggest that the deal was struck by then CEO Garner and the firm’s own CEO, Mr. Wu Huacong, just before the Norton brand officially slipped into administration.
The website claims that a strategic cooperation agreement was signed which would see Jinlang take over the manufacture of the engines and the supply of parts to 961 owners worldwide. It goes on to claim that Jinlang would hold its own independent production and operation rights to the powerplant, meaning they would be free to use the engine in future models under their own branding.
The link with Jinlang can be traced through Norton to its 650cc twin-cylinder engines, that should have been powering the firm's Atlas and Nomad machines. The engines of those two bikes were to be built by Zongshen, a brand that Jinlang already has close ties with.
Jinlang now claims that the deal with Garner was done in advance of the historic British marque falling into administration, meaning the engine deal is a separate case and almost a done deal in their eyes.
The news will be shocking for some and less so for others, as it looks more and more like Garner was simply asset-stripping the company as it fell further and further into decline. There is one ray of hope this for current Norton 961 Commando owners though, in that if Jinlang is indeed the legitimate owners to the engine rights, parts and spares may continue to be found should they be needed.