When planning a trip to Birmingham, Alabama, you may not think a museum would be exciting enough to make it onto your itinerary—but the Alabama motorcycle museum will blow you away! This five-floor collection of exhibits will make you feel like you’re walking across the overpass of a freeway as you eye the enormous variety of vintage and modern motorcycles. Don’t miss it!
The World’s Largest Motorcycle Museum Collection
The Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum features the largest collection of motorcycles in the world. You can stroll past about 650 bikes, stacking as high as 50 feet tall. The museum houses a total of approximately 1,500 modern and vintage models that regularly rotate through the exhibit.
While exploring the museum, you will view bikes from across 16 different countries, ranging from ultra-rare Grand Prix models to common street machinery. The oldest vintage motorcycle dates back to 1904. If period bikes aren’t your style, the exhibit also houses many current-year production models.
What makes this museum so enticing is the overall layout. Rather than organizing bikes by age or price, they are strategically scattered across the floors, hanging from support beams, and stacked along tiered displays to show a unique combination of style and time period.
Floor-to-ceiling windows allow natural light to wash across the concrete interior, illuminating the different colors and metals. It’s almost shocking that the room doesn’t carry even a whiff of motor oil. The museum’s cleaning teams meticulously detail the bikes every day.
The Museum’s History
George Barber founded the non-profit Barber Motorsports Park in 1995, though his vehicle collection began in the 1960s when he started racing and modifying Porsches. By 1989, he realized that motorcycles do not get the same attention and preservation as sports cars, so he decided to create a way to honor the rich history of bikes around the world.
The trouble with any vintage vehicle is maintenance. Barber’s solution was to collaborate with a racing team to campaign the bikes regularly so they don’t just sit around collecting dust. Now, the Barber Vintage Motorcycle Team carries several national championships’ first-place prizes.
Even the museum’s oldest bikes still run, bringing exhilarating life to the exhibit. They may appear stagnant inside the museum, but these bikes are free-range creatures that tear up the tracks all the time. When they’re not out racing, the museum’s team takes the motorcycles for a spin on the 2.3-mile track behind the warehouse.
Today, this Alabama motorcycle museum frequently acquires new bikes so that you can have a unique experience every time you visit.
Planning Your Trip
Whether you’re just driving through town or planning a whole vacation in Birmingham (and the city offers lots to see and do!), the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum is a must-see. You can purchase tickets online through the museum’s website to visit any weekday or weekend. You may also want to attend special events.
The museum takes about two to three hours to explore. Be sure to take in all of the sights. Photography is not allowed unless you obtain a special permit.
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