Friday, December 4, 2015

Royal Enfields and others at Barber motorcycle museum

1964 Royal Enfield Interceptor:
"Royal Enfield was very advanced with their technical designs."
Of course she photographed the Royal Enfield motorcycles for me first!

My daughter Anna recently visited the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum in Birmingham, Ala.

Looking at her photos, your first impression is: "Those motorcycles are gorgeous"

1965 Royal Enfield Continental GT:
"The final version and has every conceivable option."
The second impression has to be the sheer number of motorcycles.

Barber claims the world's largest motorcycle collection: 1,400 motorcycles (more than 650 on display on any given day) from 200 manufacturers in 20 countries.

The bikes Anna photographed each came with identifying commentary, often a bit sly. Here are just a few of Anna's photos, with captions quoting directly from the museum placards.

1926 Royal Enfield 250 (Britain):
"Typical 1920s commuter machine, probably giving over 100 mpg."
1970 Clymer Indian Enfield (U.S., Britain, Italy):
"It is thought that only 10 of these 750s were built."
1946 Indian Chief (U.S.):
"Indian riders were divided over the fenders, either loving or hating them."
1913 Flying Merkle (U.S.):
"Flying Merkle has to be one of the greatest names for a motorcycle."
1913 Yale (U.S.):
"The wide track allowed for the machine to run in wagon ruts for a smoother ride."
1894 Hildebrand & Wolfmuller (Germany):
"Long connecting rods are attached to the rear wheel, which is actually the crankshaft."
Honda Cub clip-on motor (Japan):
"One of the first motorized products from the Honda Motor Co."
1957 Douglas Dragonfly (Britain):
"Bold new styling on a very old design was their last fling."
1929 Majestic (France):
"The chassis is two side panels joined by bulk heads."
1958 Ariel Square Four (Britain):
"A lot of myths regarding performance."
1938 Triumph Speed Twin (Britain):
"Built to look like a single cylinder from the side view."
1923 Scott Sprint Special (Britain):
"Scott, the innovator, was responsible for nearly 60 separate motorcycle patents."
My comment: "None of them was for beauty."
And on and on and on...
All photos by Anna Blasco.


  1. Thanks for those, David. The Square Four and Busmar chair. I had both but the chair was on a BSA M21 SV and the Square Four was attached to a Watsonian Carmobile 3 seater ("bus"?)

    1. What magnificent machines! I hope to at least get to see them if I ever personally get to this museum.

  2. There were a couple of other Enfields when I visited in 2014.

  3. Anonymous12/09/2015

    Sid Lal and Rod Copes should visit this museum. Maybe then they'll see how a company with far fewer resources than they ever had could turn out bikes that still live in people's memories 45-50 years later. Just a thought.


Follow royalenfields on Twitter