Collectibles

Motorcycle connoisseurs find inspiration in Alabama

This Indian single resides in the workshop of the gargantuan Barber Museum
This Indian single resides in the workshop of the gargantuan Barber Museum
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This Indian single resides in the workshop of the gargantuan Barber Museum
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This Indian single resides in the workshop of the gargantuan Barber Museum
The Barber Vintage Motorcycle Museum and "The Chase" which was commissioned by the museum as an artistic representation of motor sports
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The Barber Vintage Motorcycle Museum and "The Chase" which was commissioned by the museum as an artistic representation of motor sports
Part of the Daytona Speedway section
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Part of the Daytona Speedway section
This bridge is the newest addition to the complex and features a glass bottom over the track
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This bridge is the newest addition to the complex and features a glass bottom over the track
1996 Britten V- 1000
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1996 Britten V- 1000
2006 Fueller built by Bryan Fuller for the Discovery Channel show "Biker Build Off"
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2006 Fueller built by Bryan Fuller for the Discovery Channel show "Biker Build Off"
(Lower) 1971 Triumph Trident Production Racer (upper) 2008 Triumph Street Tracker
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(Lower) 1971 Triumph Trident Production Racer (upper) 2008 Triumph Street Tracker
(left) Stainless steel Cobra body made in Poland, (center) Solar Challenge Car (right) Ferrari body shell
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(left) Stainless steel Cobra body made in Poland, (center) Solar Challenge Car (right) Ferrari body shell
Motorcycle "Towers" line the elevator from the basement to the 5th floor
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Motorcycle "Towers" line the elevator from the basement to the 5th floor
The Daytona Speedway display
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The Daytona Speedway display
The exhibits include a rotating selection of close to 1500 motorcycles
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The exhibits include a rotating selection of close to 1500 motorcycles
Board Track racers are displayed on an actual board track replica built inside the museum
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Board Track racers are displayed on an actual board track replica built inside the museum
Porsche cars on track can be seen from the museum floors
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Porsche cars on track can be seen from the museum floors
This day the track was getting ready for a historic car race featuring a number of famous Formula 1 cars like this John Player Special
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This day the track was getting ready for a historic car race featuring a number of famous Formula 1 cars like this John Player Special
Contrast: Custom chopper sits next to a Michael Graves designed Aprilia 6.5 Moto
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Contrast: Custom chopper sits next to a Michael Graves designed Aprilia 6.5 Moto
2006 Moto-Guzzi MGS - 01 production race bike built in Italy
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2006 Moto-Guzzi MGS - 01 production race bike built in Italy
3 cylinder 1969 BSA A 75 Rocket 3
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3 cylinder 1969 BSA A 75 Rocket 3
Rotary powered 1990 Norton F1
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Rotary powered 1990 Norton F1
1997 Honda NR 750 - a technical wonder with no expense spared
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1997 Honda NR 750 - a technical wonder with no expense spared
1920's Rush built in Belgium – it's 348 cc motor produces approximately 10 bhp
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1920's Rush built in Belgium – it's 348 cc motor produces approximately 10 bhp
1952 F.B. Mondial 125 SS. This double overhead cam 123.5 cc Grand Prix racer was capable of 100 mph
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1952 F.B. Mondial 125 SS. This double overhead cam 123.5 cc Grand Prix racer was capable of 100 mph
1952 F.B. Mondial 125 SS (detail)
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1952 F.B. Mondial 125 SS (detail)
Keeping track of all these restorations, parts and pieces the old fashioned way everyone involved can find things
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Keeping track of all these restorations, parts and pieces the old fashioned way everyone involved can find things
More than 60 Lotus cars make the Barber Museum's Lotus collection the most extensive in the world
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More than 60 Lotus cars make the Barber Museum's Lotus collection the most extensive in the world
The Lotus wing of the museum
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The Lotus wing of the museum
The museum library is not open to the public but arrangements can be made to visit. Museum staff are well known for willingness to help with identifying parts or advice on correct restorations
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The museum library is not open to the public but arrangements can be made to visit. Museum staff are well known for willingness to help with identifying parts or advice on correct restorations
The Barber Museum library is one of the most complete resources of motorcycle manuals and reference books in the world
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The Barber Museum library is one of the most complete resources of motorcycle manuals and reference books in the world
Great way to use those all t-shirts – this quilt featuring t-shirts from Flat Track racing is just one of a number of quilts donated to the original museum in downtown Birmingham
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Great way to use those all t-shirts – this quilt featuring t-shirts from Flat Track racing is just one of a number of quilts donated to the original museum in downtown Birmingham
Art is scattered all over the 750 acre property, and placed in ways that are unexpected
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Art is scattered all over the 750 acre property, and placed in ways that are unexpected
In the day this is the museum guest lunch area. At night it serves corporate cocktail party's. The view out the window will soon be the new 100,000 square foot addition
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In the day this is the museum guest lunch area. At night it serves corporate cocktail party's. The view out the window will soon be the new 100,000 square foot addition
Dan Gurney is just one of many famous champion racers that have a presence at the Barber Museum
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Dan Gurney is just one of many famous champion racers that have a presence at the Barber Museum
The museum gift shop is full of unusual items including art inspired by some found on the grounds
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The museum gift shop is full of unusual items including art inspired by some found on the grounds
1955 Simplex Automatic Power Cycle
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1955 Simplex Automatic Power Cycle
Vintage BMW, Ace and two Yamaha's lined up in the basement display area
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Vintage BMW, Ace and two Yamaha's lined up in the basement display area
Mike Hailwood Ducati used by the returning champion for his trip to the Isle of Man in 1979
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Mike Hailwood Ducati used by the returning champion for his trip to the Isle of Man in 1979
Four fresh Yamaha restorations from a group of 17 purchased as parts in boxes
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Four fresh Yamaha restorations from a group of 17 purchased as parts in boxes
Vintage outboard motors, part of an extensive collection most of which are on display at a marina George Barber developed
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Vintage outboard motors, part of an extensive collection most of which are on display at a marina George Barber developed
Vintage race cars outside the basement workshop
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Vintage race cars outside the basement workshop
Don Vesco Land Speed Yamaha
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Don Vesco Land Speed Yamaha
Replica of the famous Easy Rider Peter Fonda Harley Davidson Chopper
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Replica of the famous Easy Rider Peter Fonda Harley Davidson Chopper
An assortment of small dirt bikes used as decoration over the lunchroom
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An assortment of small dirt bikes used as decoration over the lunchroom
With so many unique and special machines, many of which most enthusiasts have never seen in person, it's easy to spend an entire day looking
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With so many unique and special machines, many of which most enthusiasts have never seen in person, it's easy to spend an entire day looking
This 1913 Flying Merkel 71 sold for the princely sum of $260 new, but is now well into the 6 figures, if you could find one for sale
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This 1913 Flying Merkel 71 sold for the princely sum of $260 new, but is now well into the 6 figures, if you could find one for sale
Detail – 1961 Maserati 50/T2 SS
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Detail – 1961 Maserati 50/T2 SS
1961 Maserati 50/T2 SS built under license to use the family name by the sister of the car builder
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1961 Maserati 50/T2 SS built under license to use the family name by the sister of the car builder
1998 MV Agusta F4 Serie Oro, considered by many to be one of the most beautiful motorcycles ever produced
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1998 MV Agusta F4 Serie Oro, considered by many to be one of the most beautiful motorcycles ever produced
The Pierce Arrow is distinctive for its massive frame and while balloon tires
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The Pierce Arrow is distinctive for its massive frame and while balloon tires
1976 BMW R90S (left) and 1975 Honda Gold Wing (right)
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1976 BMW R90S (left) and 1975 Honda Gold Wing (right)
The 1974 Ducati 750 SS bevel twin (front), considered by many as the most desirable Ducati of all alongside the 2006 Ducati Paul Smart 1000 LE (rear), named for the racer that won Ducati it's most famous victory, the 1972 Imola
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The 1974 Ducati 750 SS bevel twin (front), considered by many as the most desirable Ducati of all alongside the 2006 Ducati Paul Smart 1000 LE (rear), named for the racer that won Ducati it's most famous victory, the 1972 Imola
1960 246cc Aermacchi Chimera, built in Italy
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1960 246cc Aermacchi Chimera, built in Italy
2005 Orange County Choppers "Cat Bike" built for the Caterpillar Company
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2005 Orange County Choppers "Cat Bike" built for the Caterpillar Company
1925 Bohmerland with sidecar. Easily one of the most unusual machines in the museum, this was part of the MOMA Art Of The Motorcycle display in NYC
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1925 Bohmerland with sidecar. Easily one of the most unusual machines in the museum, this was part of the MOMA Art Of The Motorcycle display in NYC
1935 DKW SS250, water cooled, twin piston supercharged two stroke. Believed to be the only one in existence.
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1935 DKW SS250, water cooled, twin piston supercharged two stroke. Believed to be the only one in existence.
1962 Honda CR 93 and CR 110
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1962 Honda CR 93 and CR 110
1951 Moto-Guzzi Dondolino
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1951 Moto-Guzzi Dondolino
1953 Matchless G45
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1953 Matchless G45
1972 Kawasaki H1 RA similar to the one Yvonne DuHamel raced in the AMA national road race series
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1972 Kawasaki H1 RA similar to the one Yvonne DuHamel raced in the AMA national road race series
The new test track, and it's support structures, still under construction
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The new test track, and it's support structures, still under construction
Entrance to the Motorsports Park
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Entrance to the Motorsports Park
Motorcycle parking only – just one of many reasons motorcyclists love this place
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Motorcycle parking only – just one of many reasons motorcyclists love this place
Unique displays include this tree of motorcycles that grows thru the floors
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Unique displays include this tree of motorcycles that grows thru the floors
Vintage Harley Davidson racer, being reassembled without restoration
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Vintage Harley Davidson racer, being reassembled without restoration
Jason DiSalvo's Daytona 200 winning Ducati Superbike, complete with leathers, boots and helmet he wore for the win
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Jason DiSalvo's Daytona 200 winning Ducati Superbike, complete with leathers, boots and helmet he wore for the win
The Motorcycle tree
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The Motorcycle tree
1952 F.B. Mondial 125 SS engine
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1952 F.B. Mondial 125 SS engine
1994 Ducati Supermono single cylinder racer (front), 1997 Ducati 916 "Senna" built by Ducati as a tribute to the great F1 racer who loved Ducati's
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1994 Ducati Supermono single cylinder racer (front), 1997 Ducati 916 "Senna" built by Ducati as a tribute to the great F1 racer who loved Ducati's

Two hours west of theAtlanta airport is a five story, state of the art monument of glass, steeland concrete generally considered to be the finest motorcycle museum in theworld. Designed by its founder, George Barber, to draw visitors from all overthe globe to his home town of Birmingham, Alabama, those that make the trip to the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum canimmediately see they are witnessing a truly remarkable achievement. This is aplace like no other.

His goal was to have the best and largest motorcycle collectionin the world but George Barber didn’t stop there – the 144,000 square foot museum fronts a manicured830 acre complex that houses a world renowned racetrack, a Porsche DrivingExperience School and a smaller test track used for corporate events. His dream did not include traditionalgrandstand seating and advertisers were not invited to mar the view; here thereare only trees, grass and flowers. The track was built in a naturalamphitheater, allowing great views from the grass berms. And it's all operatingas part of the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program. Finally, art isscattered all throughout the park, from the stunning to the whimsical, reflectingthe taste and personality of George Barber.

The exhibits include a rotating selection of close to 1500 motorcycles as well as the largest collection of Lotus cars in the world, with close to 60 on show. Theres' also a “Motorcycle Tree” that grows thru thefloors, a mock up of the original Harley Davidson workshop, an authentic boardtrack and what might be the largest collection of Daytona race bikes everassembled, on a banked road course built into the floor.

Unique displays include this tree of motorcycles that grows thru the floors
Unique displays include this tree of motorcycles that grows thru the floors

It's hard to say whatthe most popular bike in the museum might be (and asking George Barber won’thelp, he isn't playing favorites) but the Britten, a race bike from New Zealandhand-built by John Britten seems to appeal to many. As does the Ducati thatMike Hailwood rode on the Isle of Man. If there is a theme it might be includingthe personalities of the people that rode them, or built them, which includemany of the most famous names in motor sport such as World Champions like JohnSurtees and Hailwood, The collection honors the brilliant, the unusual, thebeautiful and the fast – from scooters to choppers to solar powered it's easyto spend the day here moving from floor to floor, bike to bike.

Mike Hailwood Ducati used by the returning champion for his trip to the Isle of Man in 1979
Mike Hailwood Ducati used by the returning champion for his trip to the Isle of Man in 1979

The basement area contains an impressive track-side restorationshop and a full time staff capable of any sort of repair. With so many rare,old and unique motorcycles it's not unusual to find parts don't exist and mustbe created in order to ride or restore the machine. Most of them run, andkeeping them that way is both a daunting task as well as a matter of greatpride.

In order to really grasp the scale of the place, it might best be told by the details of running it day to day. It takes ahospital quality filtration system to keep the dust from a concrete structurethis size at bay. And just keeping the light bulbs in order is daunting. Museumstaff was changing 35 burnt out bulbs a day so they changed the light bulbs toLED's at a cost of roughly $109,000, an expense expected to return itself inpower bills and air conditioning savings (the conventional bulbs are hotter) in just 15months.

The Barber Vintage Motorcycle Museum and "The Chase" which was commissioned by the museum as an artistic representation of motor sports
The Barber Vintage Motorcycle Museum and "The Chase" which was commissioned by the museum as an artistic representation of motor sports

The Guinness World Recordshas crowned it the largest motorcycle museum in the world but it's not bigenough, so they will break ground in July for a 100,000 square-foot expansion.Improvements pop up here at a steady pace, visitors that were here as recentlyas last October will find a new bridge over the racetrack (with a glass viewingwindow to watch the cars and bikes pass by at speed) that wasn't there then.

The Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum is open 359 days a year.

Take a wander through this remarkable monument to automotive engineering in our Barber Museum photo gallery.

4 comments
eogn
===. "...generally considered to be the finest motorcycle museum in the world."??? How about the National Motorcycle Museum near Birmingham, England which for years has been recognized as the finest and largest motorcycle museum in the world? I visited the National Motorcycle Museum last year and found it to be huge and very interesting. See http://www.nationalmotorcyclemuseum.co.uk/
AEH in FL
Awesome place to visit. We ride up to the Barber Vintage Motorcycle Festival every October. Recommend it as a destination to any motorcyclist.
Terry Pardy
Looks rather boring actually, just like a giant modern shop!
katgod
That looks like a very nice museum, great bunch of picts. Thanks.