Sunday, 10 July 2011

Norton History - 4

Machines in the UK continued to improve and evolve. The mid-to-late 1930s saw some of the most innovative designs in motorcycling, and some of the best machines come from the post-Depression period. But they were also more expensive. The role of the motorcycle as inexpensive public transportation devolved through the 30s: it became more of a hobbyist or competition machine. Use in police and armed forces also grew, providing a stable market for more utilitarian machines - especially as Europe rearmed. But motorcycling was increasingly an enthusiast's hobby.

The Second World War again brought a closure to many factories. A lot of firms went on to make products for the war effort, some simply closed. Only a handful continued to make motorcycles, mostly to supply the British Army. Export sales dwindled as shipping was strangled by U boat raids. German bombing raids in Coventry and London spelled disaster for some companies: they never recovered from the loss of plants and equipment. Others simply never returned to make motorcycles.