9th Annual The Quail Motorcycle Gathering Celebrates 50 Years of the Norton Commando

1973 Norton Commando 850.
1973 Norton Commando 850.

Each year, attendees at The Quail Motorcycle Gathering marvel at the more than 400 motorcycles, scooters and bicycles across a variety of categories, from rare specimens in the Antique class to the most innovative designs in the Custom/Modified class. This year the festivities will be centered around the 50th Anniversary of the Norton Commando, setting the tone for the event while spotlighting one of the most recognizable and influential bikes in motorcycling history.

Read our coverage of the 2016 The Quail Motorcycle Gathering.

Norton Motorcycles unveiled the Commando at the lavish 1967 Earls Court Show in London. The Commando was an immediate hit, thanks to the revolutionary “Isolastic” frame-dampening system that eliminated the excessive vibrations that plagued its predecessors. Over the next decade more than 50,000 units were produced and sold, and by 1972 it had been awarded “Machine of the Year” five consecutive times by the UK’s Motor Cycle News. The bike’s uniquely smooth ride, the unforgettable “Norton Girls” advertising campaign and TT racing success in the early 1970s, all contributed to the Commando’s success both in the UK and abroad.

VIDEO: the upcoming 2017 The Quail Motorcycle Gathering.

“Personally, Norton Commandos struck a chord with me even before I owned my first motorcycle,” remarked Gordon McCall, Director of Motorsports at The Peninsula Signature Events. “I was just mesmerized by it, and I think a lot of motorcyclists had the same reaction I did. I don’t know that there’s a specific model that resonated more with people that were into British bikes.”

The Quail Motorcycle Council is working hard to bring this feature to life, curating a variety of Commandos as well as other Norton models that serve as the centerpiece for this year’s event. “We are working on getting one of every Commando model as well as one of every color from those early years,” explained Lorin Guy, advisor to The Quail Motorcycle Council. “This was the late 1960s, when everything coming out of England was flashy and colorful and the Norton Commando was no exception. This motorcycle is worthy of recognition and we look forward to paying tribute to its unique place in history.”

Witness this celebration of the Norton Commando, as well as motorcycles in ten other classes, only at The Quail Motorcycle Gathering on Saturday, May 6, 2017. Discounted pre-sale tickets are available online at www.quaillodgetickets.com.


  1. Have you ever heard a sentence start with “back in the day” that ended well? Well, back in the day when the bike pictured was new, I rode it – and also a new CB750. The Norton was a magic machine, but the Honda was a miracle. And, therein lies a story I’m still trying to unpack.

    Here’s my memory: Wow, rubber engine mounts. Wow, an engine that doesn’t need rubber engine mounts. Holy cow, who’s that girl! Sorry . . . that’s all I got.


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