Wow, have we been busy! I’m hard at work going through all the footage we have so far. Very soon we’ll have a trailer for everyone to see. Once that’s done, we’ll be launching a Kickstarter campaign where you can donate to the project and get rewards for your contribution. It’s going to be awesome — I think we have some really special rewards planned.
Last weekend we had a great interview with Chad Harder, Norton’s (actually, Chad goes back before that, to Vintage Rebuilds & Restoration) first marketing guy. Chad had a lot of insightful things to say about Kenny as a creative force and some great stories to tell, like when shipping damage cost the Norton center stage at one of the Guggenheim motorcycle shows at Rockefeller Center. If you check out the images at that link, you just might spot a familiar bike positioned against the wall to hide a hole in the gas tank.
Next up we’ll be speaking to Jeff Foster, Norton’s first CEO. There were several CEOs to come through Norton with the difficult task of raising investment capital in the mid-2000s. Jeff was the first one to make the attempt.
After that, we have Tom Skogley and Rob LaVigne on board and will schedule dates with them soon. Tom worked with Kenny very early on and participated in the Cycle World test rides that landed the VR 880 on the cover of the September ’99 issue. Rob was the guy responsible for the huge splash Norton made at Laguna Seca at the company’s peak.
We’ve also been in touch with Don Niles, the Minnesota attorney who wrested the Norton trademarks from the Aquilini family and oversaw the acquisition of the Norton name worldwide. The trademark portfolio was a big deal — even the original Norton didn’t hold all the trademarks to the Norton brand.
So what do you think the American Norton story is going to be? A tale of engineering and design vision? A story of American ingenuity and resourcefulness when a small team takes on the biggest names in the motorcycle business? Is it about good old-fashioned entrepreneurship? Or is it about legal skullduggery and nefarious schemes?
It’s looking like it might be all of the above.