It’s a fantasy come true for bikers, riders, enthusiasts or anyone who simply enjoys open air on two wheels. Well, a tour through Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum in Birmingham, Alabama will certainly excite all of your passions and ambitions for motorcycles and motorsports. With a collection of over 1200 bike spanning over 100 years of production– mostly sports bikes — and a cadre of vintage vehicles, a quick tour will hardly feed your educational and historical thirst for what the museum has to offer.
Here, you can spend days viewing bikes, sports cars, historical exhibitions and more, with each romantically articulated by concise, yet short descriptions. With five floors of displays (based on era) laid out spherically, guests are guaranteed the experience of a lifetime. The collection includes domestic and international brands such as Ducati, Harley-Davidson, Indian, Honda, and DSK as well as an extensive assortment of Lotus racecars. You can find examples like the only 158 Ferrari from 1964; a 1997 Ducati 916 Senna, named after famed FI legend Ayrton Senna; a 1944 Harley Davidson Model U military bike; the 2-wheeled Ferrari aka M.V. Agusta F4 Serie Oro, and a 1998 R 1200 C — BMW’s first attempt to capture the cruiser market. I also checked out the Triumph Twenty One from Great Britain which broke new ground with the ’21’, as it was the first of its kind to feature unit construction; and the Bohmerland which was designed to seat three, as well as the New Zealand 1996 Britten V-1000, built without a chassis with only ten being completed due to the untimely death of team leader and chief designer John Britten.
Other insightful exhibits and bike rarities included the Harley Davidson “Factory,” a replica of the 1903 10×15 backyard shed were the company broke ground in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Or what about the Board Track Racing display? This exciting and dangerous race style was short lived but saw bikes moving at speeds of 75 mph at 45 degree angles with only the riders’ feet as breaks. Amazing.
If you’re truly an aficionado of cycling then make sure to visit Birmingham at least once in your lifetime to witness Barber’s “unchallenged” claim for the largest bike collection in the world. For more information on the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum please visit www.barbermuseum.org or call 205-699-7275.