Have you ever heard of the National Motorcycle Museum? It is considered the largest museum in Britain and one of the largest in the world in the motorcycle segment. Its area occupies more than 30 thousand square meters in Solihull – a city near Birmingham, in England.
The museum has about 250 thousand visitors per year. Fans from all over the world come to the museum to enjoy its permanent collection of more than 850 British motorcycles of all types. All are in great condition, with some even coming into operation.
A brief history of the Museum
The seed was planted in the 70’s, with a personal collection of the construction entrepreneur Roy Richards. When it was opened in 1984, the museum had 350 motorcycles.
From 1979 to 1995, the British Motorcycle Charitable Trust (BMCT) was part of the development and administration of the National Motorcycle Museum. BMCT is a British institution dedicated to promoting and preserving the history of motorcycles, as well as restoring motorcycles and other related elements. Today, the site is run by a private company.
With five exhibition sheds, the museum also has a conference space. Right in the first hall, you’ll find the oldest motorcycles!
The first English motorcycles appeared over a century ago and, among its most famous brands, the salon has AJS, Ariel, BSA, Douglas, Matchless and Royal Enfield. One of the models of that time, it stood out the Norton Commando and Triumph Bonneville 650.
The handcrafted Golden Dream Brough – one of the most valuable in the world – is also present in the salon. Only two bikes of this type were made, since the Second World War interrupted its production. The other unit is on a private property.
Another highlight of this section is the Wilkinson Luxury Tourer. Made before the first war, the motorcycle was made for military use.
In the second salon are the brands that have made history in the United Kingdom. You can check out several models of the manufacturer BSA, the largest in the segment of motorcycles in the country. One of the highlights of this show is Rocket 3, used by Mike Hailwood to win the 200 miles of Daytona in 1970.
The museum also has a space dedicated to Tourist Trophy – the oldest motorcycle competition in the world. The first race took place in 1907 on the Isle of Man. One of the highlights of this section is the 1921 BSA TT.
Another interesting area of the museum is the streamliners. These are vehicles with bodywork, which give motorcycles a similar appearance to airplanes. The Triumph Castrol Rocket – world record holder, doing 344 km/h in the Bonneville desert – is also present in the museum.
Fire at the National Motorcycle Museum
In 2003, there was a fire in the museum, affecting about 3/4 of its entire area. In all, 380 motorcycles were not removed from the building in time and were completely lost.
With the help of collaborators and other people who were participating in an on-site conference, 300 motorcycles were saved. In little more than a year of the accident, the building was renovated and expanded. In addition, almost half of the damaged motorcycles were recovered.
If you are passionate about motorcycles and will travel around England, the National Motorcycle Museum is a must stop. Did you like the article? Then share it on your social networks!