Tom Sturgess in the new motorbike museum on Haven Rd in Nelson. Photo: Simon Bloomberg.

New home for 280 classic motorbikes

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One of the largest classic motorbike collections in the southern hemisphere has a new home, on Nelson’s Haven Rd.

A passion for classic and vintage motorcycles has led to the new New Zealand Classic Motorcycles, owned by Nelson-based businessman and philanthropist, Tom Sturgess.

The collection showcases Tom’s more than 280 diverse classic and vintage motorcycle and sidecar combinations.

There also is a smattering of micro and three-wheeled cars. Soon information will be available on the bikes and vehicles via QR codes, accessible via electronic devices such as smart phones.

“I have always been fascinated with motorcycles and one thing just led to another,” Tom says.

The collection includes vehicles from Spain, Italy, Denmark, Germany, England, France, Netherlands, USA, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Belgium and New Zealand. The oldest classic motorcycles on display are a 1902 Peugeot Perfecta and 1902 rideable Motosacoche.

The display holds one of the largest collections of Brough Superior motorcycles, as well as a wide selection of Indians and vintage four-cylinder American motorcycles.

One of Tom’s personal favourites is a very special 1914 Clyno, worked on by world class restorer, Richard Conlon from Tasman.

Tom is thrilled that there is a distinct New Zealand content to the bikes.

“Some of these bikes have been in New Zealand for over 100 years and many of these bikes have racing cachet as well as much of the restoration work having been done by generations of talented New Zealanders.”

In addition to the motorcycles, there are also vintage motorcycle posters from the early 1900s, primarily European, on display and a viewable workshop with three active stations.

“These bikes are not static; we have some quite talented people who work on them; it is every bit as interesting to watch them working on the bikes as the bikes themselves. Many of these wouldn’t be in the condition or display state they are in without the work of project manager Wayne Daniel, specialised mechanic Steve Scullion, machinist Alan Malaquin and volunteer, Alistair Ford,” Tom says.

The New Zealand Classic Motorcycle building will target the high-end tourism market but will also be open to the public on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 10am to 3pm.

Entry is $20 per adult and $15 per child under 15 years, with on-going donations being made to local Nelson charities and organisations.

To view opening hours, please visit the website www.nzclassicmotorcycles.co.nz.