A dozen new motorbikes to be added to classic collection

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The “living and breathing collection” of classic motorbikes on Haven Rd will take another almighty breath this week when 12 new bikes are revealed.

The incredibly rare bikes, worth around $2 million, were recently bought from auction houses in the United States and shipped to Nelson, where they were reassembled and are now ready for display.

NZ Classic Motorcycles operations manager John Shand says the bikes will be unveiled at a special evening next week. “They came from auction houses in the US. There was an old guy, his name was EJ Cole, and he was 89 years old. He had 215 motorbikes and found out he couldn’t get his leg across most of them, so sold them.”

John says some of the current bikes will make way for the new additions, in keeping with owners Tom and Heather Sturgess’ wishes of a “living collection”.

“We don’t call this place a museum, we hate that word, because that’s where you find fossils. This is a collection and it’s a living collection. You’re never going to come and get bored, there will always be new bikes and new attractions.”

Included in the new additions is a “Ner-A-Car”. It was designed for ladies so they could step through it.

The biggest attraction will most likely be the Britten “pre-curser”, the bike built before the iconic Britten. John says very few people have seen it up close. “This is the bike that nearly won at Daytona in 1991. But the race winner on the warm down lap did this big wheelie, looked at the Kiwi riders and said, ‘ha ha ha, your bike isn’t fast enough’.

“John Britten was rather peeved at this antic so went away to develop a faster bike – the Britten. You know the rest.”

NZ Classic Motorcycles is open to the public six days a week.