10 Things

Need for Speed

George Barber’s zeal for speed ignited his vision for Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum and Barber Motorsports Park. Having raced Porsches in the 1960s, Barber held an impressive track record—63 first place wins. A business executive, Barber rediscovered his motorsports passion in 1988 and began collecting and restoring classic cars.

 

Best and largest

Barber’s 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. Barber seized the opportunity to build the world’s “best and largest” motorcycle collection. He established the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum at its original Southside location in 1995.

 

The art of the motorcycle

A call from New York

There are a total of 60 motorcycles in the towers flanking the main elevator.
Photo by Marc Bondarenko

’s Guggenheim Museum in 1997 was a defining moment for the Barber Museum. Sending 21 motorcycles to exhibit at the original New York show “The Art

of the Motorcycle,” Barber continued to make the connection between motorsports and art. “The Art of the Motorcycle” exhibit also traveled to Chicago and Bilbao, Spain.

 

 

 

Living museum

The thrill of the New York exhibit sparked a much bigger dream for Barber. He set out to create a one-of-a-kind, world-class facility. Going even further, he imagined a road course as well where the “living museum” quality of the collection could be demonstrated. In September 2003, the 880-acre park, with its world-class 16-turn, 2.38 mile racetrack, opened to the public. The track is home to the Porsche Sport Driving School, and numerous automakers have chosen the park as their stage for vehicle debuts and to film commercials.

 

Design

With its creative architecture and great attention to detail, the museum is home to over 1,500 motorcycles that span over 100 years of production. More than 650 bikes can be seen on any given day, and 200 different manufacturers from 20 countries are represented in the collection—from Harley-Davidson, Honda, and Indian to Showa, DSK, and Cagiva.

 

Vehicles like the museum’s Sbarro Lola T70 and the Britten V1000 are on display during certain major events.

Four wheeling

In his passion for motorcycles, George Barber’s love of cars has remained powerful. The museum features the world’s most extensive Lotus collection, anchored by the Lotus 21. The museum also displays rare racecars, including the 1964 Ferrari F-158, in which John Surtees won the 1964 Formula 1 Driver’s World Championship.

 

Build it and they will come

The museum drew 270,000 visitors last year, including more than 3,000 visitors from other countries. In April 2014, Barber was officially recognized by Guinness World Records as being the world’s largest motorcycle collection.

 

The Indy Crowd

Attendance for the 2017 Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park brought in a weekend crowd of 82,745.Tickets were sold in 41 states and six countries.

 

Vintage

The 13th annual Barber Vintage Festival is one of the most highly anticipated motorcycle events in the world. The three-day festival features a fan zone, food and entertainment and swap meet with hundreds of vendors.

 

AHRMA motorcycle racing on the Barber Road Course during the 12th Annual Barber Vintage Festival. Photo by Albert Hicks.

MotoAmerica

Each fall MotoAmerica features the country’s best motorcycle racers battling it out on the world’s fastest production-based motorcycles. The weekend includes two full days of racing—a doubleheader event—for the Superbike, Superstock 1000, Supersport, and Superstock 600 classes.