Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum, Alabama, USA
There can’t be much doubt that George Barber’s bike collection is the largest and most comprehensive in the world.
The Vintage Motorsports Museum, which opened eight years ago in the dairy multi-millionaire’s home town of Birmingham, Alabama, holds approximately 1300 machines, of which roughly half are on display at any one time.
The museum sits alongside Barber’s similarly spectacular racetrack, which regularly holds National level Superbike and car meetings.
Most of the museum’s bikes are in immaculate condition, with info panels alongside. Some are stacked in vertical columns reaching to the ceiling of the purpose-designed five-storey building. More than 200 marques from over 20 countries are represented, from Honda and Harley-Davidson to long since deceased firms including Cleveland, Adler and Showa. The machines range from vintage singles to modern, multi-cylinder superbikes, with just about everything else in between.
Most are roadsters but there are also racers ranging from early American board track V-twins to more recent Daytona winners. Additions in the last few years include a Honda RC161, the 250cc four-cylinder works racer from 1960, and a replica of Gottfried Daimler’s Einspur, the 1885 machine regarded as the world’s first bike.
There’s also a section devoted to John Surtees, the only man to win motorcycle and Formula 1 world championships. Ex-Surtees bikes including a factory MV Agusta 500 sit alongside the Ferrari 158 in which he won the F1 title in 1964.
For more info, go to www.barbermuseum.org
Words and Pics: Roland Brown
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