It’s a sad story, but all too common. Someone steals your motorcycle, leaving no trace. Police don’t do anything to help. The bike that you owned for years is gone, never coming back. All you’re left with is bittersweet memories and a photo or two.
Thankfully, that isn’t the exact story here! This video is the tale of the Jeff and Jason Ledellaytner and their mission to restore their dad’s 1969 Norton Commando. Their dad put many miles on the Norton as a younger man, but eventually, responsibilities caught up. The Commando died, and he retired the bike to his basement, where it sat in pieces from 1993 through 2009. It’s the same old story: Family, finances, whatever—many classic bikes end up jammed into a cobwebbed corner, and eventually meet their end due to rust and dry rot.
Not this Norton, though. The Ledellaytner brothers made it their mission to restore their dad’s vintage bike. They wanted to make it a Christmas surprise, so they actually kinda-sorta stole it from their parents’ basement and sneaked it off to The Classic Bike Experience in Essex, Vermont. As for their dad—he never even noticed the boxes full of bike parts were missing.
A few weeks later it was ready, just in time for Christmas. The brothers picked it up and drove home through a nor’easter. They hid the machine in a friend’s garage to wait for its big reveal. A bit more subterfuge, and they delivered the Norton to their dad along with a custom-printed poster.
They’d reproduced one of the famous “Norton Girl” posters, but Photoshopped in a picture of their mom in her prom dress, sitting on their dad’s bike, with these words: “Dad, this is your bike. We stole it right from under you and drove it to Vermont where we had it fully restored. We both felt it was about time she was resurrected from the basement. Turns out it’s a 1969 Norton Commando 750. She certainly is sweet looking, and so is Mom.”
It’s too bad every bike theft doesn’t have the same happy ending! Listening to the revived engine blast through the revs, at the end of the short film—we’d be happy if someone came and stole our motorcycles, too, if they came back sounding like that.