Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum

Hello folks, and a happy Tuesday to you. In a funny way today's post comes to us courtesy of my job. As you may have read in my blog introduction, I plan on posting as many "our man" style posts from the road as possible and this will be my first. I have quite a bit to show and tell with this one so I think it will probably be broken up over quite a few posts. A cheap way to keep you checking in I know, but I do believe you'll want to see as much of this place as possible. 

     Let me say from the start that I never take it for granted that I have the good fortune to travel in my work and see a different town everyday when on tour.  I know to some people that might sound like a living hell, but I love it.  To me it's an opportunity to not only play some music and meet new people, but to also, when good fortune strikes, visit a place like the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum. 

     The Barber Motorsports park is located just outside of Birmingham Alabama right off of I-20. The grounds cover about 740 acres and include the museum, the road race course, and two separate camping areas for race fans. I could not begin to describe the immaculate condition of both the museum and the race course grounds. It's as if someone built a beautiful country club/golf course and dropped a world class road race course in the middle of it. I didn't have the good fortune to take a lap around the track, but while touring the museum the Porsche driving school was at full gallup and it was a great sight to look out the solid glass walls of the 5 story museum and watch the perfect silver cars negotiating the sweepers, switch backs, Ss, and serious elevation changes that make the road course so impressive. The feeling of being truly overwhelmed began the moment I walked through the door and was only amplified by the overload that this view provided. 

     As you'll see in the photos that accompany this post, the displays throughout the museum are sometimes so fantastic that, while there, I found myself going between finding them comedic and finding them perverse... and I mean that as a compliment. Honestly, when was the last time you saw a "rack" of 1960's Lotus single seat Formula cars? Or how about the motorcycle trees stuffed with '50's, '60's, and '70's Triumphs, BSAs, Nortons, and Indians? I have to admit, I had to consciously take a breath when I walked out onto the top floor to start my way slowly down the giant spiral staircase visiting my first display. I simply didn't know where to start or what to look at first. I thought I'd given myself plenty of time as I'd arrived at 11am and could stay until they closed at 5pm, but I soon realized that this was not going to get it done. It was actually quite fortunate for me that they did close at 5pm as I had to hop back into my rental car and make it to Montgomery for a 9pm show and may have gotten into that place where I was telling  myself,"Maybe just one more quick look at the John Surtees display".

       In this first post, giving you a taste of this wonderful museum, I'll try and attach some wide shot photos to give you a general idea of the great work owner George Barber and his staff have done in both assembling and displaying all of this history.  You can look forward to some upcoming posts where I'll feature several of the more notable machines in the museum. For now though, sit back and enjoy a look into the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum. 

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