VIDEO: Inside the world’s largest vintage motorcycle collection: Barber museum in Alabama
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BIKER DAD) — Biker Dad is taking you inside the world’s largest vintage motorcycle collection. It’s at the Barber Motorsports park outside of Birmingham Alabama. And it’s not to far from Talladega either.
Four levels of motorcycles and a basement full of vintage race cars gleam from the glass-enclosed elevator. Bikes are everywhere, thousands of them, literally stacked four stories high.
Founded by passion
The museum and the surrounding park first started when businessman George Barber was looking for a place to store his own vast motorcycle collection. So, he created the museum then added a race track.
According to BarberMuseum.org, “George Barber’s zeal for speed ignited his vision for today’s museum. Having raced Porsches in the 1960s, Barber held an impressive track record—63 first place wins. A thriving business executive, Barber rediscovered his motorsports passion in 1988 and began collecting and restoring classic cars.
Since the world’s best and largest car collections had already been established, Barber heeded some wise advice. His longtime friend Dave Hooper – a motorcycle enthusiast as well as the person who ran Barber’s delivery fleet for 27 years – suggested that Barber shift his focus from cars to motorcycles. Being a man of big dreams, Barber seized the opportunity to accomplish what no one else had done – build the world’s “best and largest” motorcycle collection.”
The park was established in 2003 and now hosts one of the largest motorcycle events in the world, “The Barber Vintage Motorcycle Festival.” In 2019 more than 80-thousand people attended the festival. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world came to show their bikes and see the tens of thousands of vintage bikes gleaming in the park, many also taking them into the museum.
Facts: world’s largest vintage motorcycle collection
- More than a quarter million visitors each year
- The first bikes acquired in 1988
- There are currently over 97 Harleys in the collection, but that number is growing rapidly.
- 99% of the motorcycles can be started within an hour.
- Efforts are made to restore each machine to its original specifications.
- At any one time, more than 900 motorcycles are on display in the museum. The total collection numbers over 1,600.
Bouncing back from COVID-19
Now, just like many other establishments, Barber is bouncing back from the COVID-19 lockdown. According to its website, “The Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum reopened Friday, June 19th at 10am and will resume normal business hours (Mon – Sat 10-6 and Sun Noon-6 ). Some amenities will be suspended including docents, premium tours, and theater access. Guests will be required to follow safety guidelines set forth by governmental officials:
• If you are sick, have a fever or have experienced symptoms related to COVID19 please do not visit.
• Guests are asked to follow the City of Birmingham’s ordinance to wear a face covering in public.
• Practice social distancing by staying 6 feet apart from guests not in your party.
• Wash hands and/or use hand sanitizer regularly.
• Please do not touch or sit on any of the exhibits.
• Minimize contact with all surfaces.”
It is truly an amazing place and you will want to plan your trip to spend much of a full day there because there is just so much to see. This year’s vintage rally is also scheduled for the weekend of October 9th. You can find all of the information about that here.