The resurrection of “historic” brands seems to be on the rise. And Indian manufacturers seem to be taking the lead. For example, TVS is now the owner of the formerly British Norton Motorcycles. Mahindra and Mahindra owns the BSA and Jawa brands, and Hero has just signed a deal with Harley-Davidson to produce small capacity Harley-Davidson branded machines.

But some recent filings by Bajaj Auto have many wondering whether India’s second-largest motorcycle manufacturer wants a piece of the historic bike pie. Apparently, Bajaj purchased the rights to the brand from Daniel Hanlon. Hanlon is the person responsible for Excelsior-Henderson’s resurrection in the 1990s.

In 2018, Bajaj first applied for the Excelsior-Henderson trademark. But more recently, the company appears to be taking more positive action to secure those rights. It recently filed other trademark applications in India and Europe for motorcycles, accessories, clothing, etc. It seems that they want to cover the whole gamut of motorcycle supplies.

Bajaj Excelsior Henderson

Bajaj could be bringing Excelsior-Henderson back. Image credit: Bajaj Auto

So does this mean that Bajaj will soon be rolling new Excelsior-Henderson motorcycles off its production line? No, it does not. But the fact that the company is taking further steps to ensure that its rights are not lost would seem to indicate that they have something in mind.

With their competition snapping up these historic companies, Bajaj may be feeling the pressure to get into the game. A historical name like Excelsior-Henderson could not only open the doors to producing a historic mark. It could also give them an easier transition into the larger displacement cruiser market. And that’s something that many of their other competitors in India do not have or are just starting to develop.

Time will tell.


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