What comes to mind when someone asks you about an automobile manufacturer from Stuttgart that produced rear engine cars? Porsche would be the most obvious answer, but there was another manufacturer that would also be a correct answer. Gutbrod....Read More
Classic Velocity Blog
These things are scattered around 2 Porsche 911 SC cars parked nose to tail with one punched through a wall at the back of the garage so they could fit........The motorcycle lineup includes an R69S, an R100RS, a /5 toaster, an RT cafe conversion, and an R90S....Read More
The supercharged engine was producing approximately 100+hp, anumber which exceeded almost all cars at the time, much less motorcycles....
The side door was wide open, and I stuck my head in and yelled hello. No response. I ventured a few feet inside the dimly lit space, to gaze upon a super beetle and what looked like a barn find early beetle next to each other....Read More
Max BMW had an impressive trio of restored BMWs including an immaculate R80 G/S that started the whole adventure craze. Speaking of adventure, KTM had the new big adventure bikes on display, the 1290 Super Adventure, and the 1050 adventure R...Read More
However, as the normal flow of O Gruppe machines rolled in, several cars from another German marque intertwined themselves amongst the others. A beautiful 3.0CS, a 2002, and a 2800CS. These invaders were almost as strong in force as the Porsches...Read More
Facing the need for yet another luggage solution, we decided to clean house and buy one quality set of luggage that could work on both a BMW 650, and a KTM 1190. Just sell all of the odd bits and pieces, and buy the ultimate luggage set that could match both machines. To quote Top Gear, "How hard could it be?"Read More
The event is further enhanced by the presence of "Special Lube", which is a concoction of one of the inmates. Each year, the lube is transported from its' micro-distillery in a black 911SC which helps with "agitation" and aging.....Read More
Scatter vehicles and parts around a region. This avoids placing too great a burden on any one friend or place. Resist the temptation to use places where you may have romantic involvements. Never place an angry ex between you and your twin Webers...Read More
Manufacturer VEB Kraftfahrzeugwerk Horch Zwickau introduced the Sachsenring as the East German option for a luxury vehicle....Read More
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It had a claimed 0-60mph time of 27.7 seconds, which seems absolutely dismal today, but it was faster than the VW Karmann Ghia, viewed as the main competition.....Read More
It was developed in association with the University of Braunschweig, and featured a comfortable seat with backrest, a long wheelbase, excellent protection from the elements, two tone paint, and capacious storage.....Read More
The concept was simple. A small, inexpensive form of transportation in the postwar period that would be economical, and have many benefits over a motorcycle and sidecar....Read More
Both machines included large helpings of their company's heritage and signature approaches. Both were introduced as higher performance upgrades of prior models, and both introduced suspension/handling improvements.....Read More
Shops like Specialty Cars are becoming more and more rare. A family-owned businesses that is equally comfortable doing race prep or restoring a 356, and which cooks a mean bratwurst.....Read More
This was the one of the great examples in automotive history of bad timing. The Mercedes 190E 16v Cosworth came along at the same time as the iconic BMW E30 M3 and was completely over-shadowed. However, it remains a 4-door super sedan in its own right. Here it is in competition form...
As an architect, you may not be surprised to learn that Steve Smith's collection is centered around interesting designs. His successful career all but suggests it. He cites the Guggenheim's Art of the Motorcycle in part as an inspiration. Indeed, all who saw that exhibit came away inspired. He also cites a passion ignited early by riding dirt bikes as a kid. A trait that many of us enthusiasts share as well. What very few of us share in common, is the will and the effort to build a world class collection, put it in a purpose-designed space in a major city, and share it with the public. And do so for Free!
We were fortunate to get a few minutes with Steve Smith to talk about his passion and how it came to be expressed in its current form.
CV: What first attracted you to motorcycles and when was that ?
Smith: I have been riding since I was about 14, and rode mini bikes with other kids in the neighborhood. Eventually, I talked dad into buying me a bike.
CV: When did you first start collecting ?
Smith: In the mid 1990s I was finally in a position to purchase motorcycles. I started buying dirt bikes like the Maico, and CZ that I could not afford growing up. Then the Internet and European EBay allowed me to begin pursuing more unusual and rare machines. I made contacts in Europe who could get a machine for me, or I flew over and picked them up myself. I also bought a few purely on faith, and then waited for them to show up.
CV: Why start The Moto Museum ? Why not just build a bigger garage/barn as many do ?
Smith: The Guggenheim exhibit, Art of the Motorcycle blended design and motorcycles and struck a chord. I also believe that beautiful and unique design should be shared.
CV: You obviously have a particular interest within the world of motorcycles. How would you describe that area of focus, and how did it develop ?
Smith: European brands were tops growing up, particularly with regard to Enduro machines and Trials bikes. The Japanese were not very strong at the time. I also wanted a collection that was historical and covered several countries, hence machines from Hungary and Switzerland and Poland, etc.
CV: Your display placards go beyond just the facts to tell a story. Is that by design ?
Smith: I always thought that the story of the people and the acquisitions was interesting so I added it to the displays. The hunt is a big part of what I enjoy. You meet interesting people who share their homes and their stories with you and who want to know why some guy from America has come all that way to get a machine that has been sitting in their old barn for decades.
CV: What motorcycle would be the "holy grail" of your collection ?
Smith: There is really no one machine that is the holy grail. I would like to add a Vincent and a Brough Superior. Maico had a model called a Typhoon, Velocettes had an LH. There are several desirable designs out there that would be great additions. Some scooters as well.
CV: Which is your favorite machine in the current collection and why ?
Smith: The Bohmerland. It is such a unique machine.
CV: How do you hope that the museum will evolve ?
Smith: In several ways. I hope to create a distinct scooter gallery, I hope to further increase the variety in the collection, and I hope to be able to get a full time Curator to keep up with the care of the collection.
CV: It would be perfectly normal to charge admission for a collection like this. Why free ?
Smith: We actually started out charging admission, and discovered that charging for hosting events was far easier and made more sense, so we dropped admission charges. It also makes the museum much more accessible. There are only so many motorcyclists, and we can appeal to others who appreciate history or just an interesting museum.
CV: You have a unique concept with a restaurant and dealership attached. What lead to that concept ?
Smith: There was no grand design. The museum came first, and then with meetings, we always needed catering, so a restaurant made sense. It opened a little over a year later. I don't own the dealership, but I am an investor. Ducati NA actually approached us for that deal, and it works well for everyone.
CV: How much riding do you do these days ?
Smith: We have done multi-day tours in Europe, and have another one coming up which will include Romania, Hungary, Austria, etc. I also compete in Enduros and Hare Scrambles.
CV: What brings you the most personal satisfaction ? Serving the public ? Having the collection?
Smith: I would say that there are two primary things. First, taking delivery of an interesting machine such as the BK350 or the Guzzis. There is a real thrill to finally take possession of the item you have been chasing. The second is giving tours to the public. I enjoy educating and sharing the stories behind the motorcycles.
See our previous blog post covering our visit, and if you are ever in St Louis, Steve Smith's Moto Museum is a must visit.
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