Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

March 27, 2009

A Museum That Rivals The One Tony Has

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 11:56 am

There are hundreds of reasons why you should visit Barber Motorsports Park outside Birmingham, and one of them is the Vintage Motorsports Museum. Most think of it as a motorcycle museum, but it is far more than that. There are barber-pixhundreds of legendary bikes, but also the largest private collection of Lotus F-1 cars in the world. There are Indy Cars, sports cars, land speed record holders, NASCAR samples and many vintage cars.


Restoration is done on premises, and the five level museum, architected to flow like the Guggenheim in New York, features new surprises wherever you turn. Exhibits and artifacts from people like Dan Gurney and John Surtees are there. Gurney has always been one of my favorite racers on a variety of levels despite the turmoil his white paper caused to the sport. Surtees was the only guy who ever won world championships on both two wheels and four wheels. Both are honored and showcased in fine fashion.


I am old enough to remember not only the rear-engine evolution, but the life of the turchapmanbine powered machines. The legendary Colin Chapman was a part of the fun through much of the 1960s, but in 1969 new rules reduced air intake, and that effectively banned turbines. The Lotus four wheel drive car he brought in 1969 was considered slow and clunky even though Mario Andretti passed the 170mph mark in it. One of its problems was a propensity to break suspension parts, and that is one reason why that number 2 car was not the one that Mario drove to his only Indianapolis 500 win. That car is also at Barber, and they drove it around the track until it broke a suspension piece.


If you are lucky enough to see what is NOT on display you will be equally amazed. The next time you are passing through it is well worth the visit-5 floors and 80,000 square feet. Plan to spend the day in there!


1 Comment »

  1. You are so right, Dan Gurney destroyed the sport with his white paper.

    Comment by Billy Joe — March 27, 2009 @ 3:13 pm | Reply

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