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Motorcycle History Destroyed

Discussion in 'Random Discussion' started by pyritechips, Sep 17, 2003.

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  1. pyritechips

    pyritechips Gone but Never Forgotten Thread Starter

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    This is so sad it deserves a thread of it's own. All motorcycle lovers weep:

    Birmingham, England

    Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 September, 2003, 07:40 GMT 08:40 UK

    Fire destroys motorbike collection

    Three of the five exhibition halls were destroyed
    A massive fire which destroyed much of the National Motorcycle Museum near Birmingham, ruining 650 vintage machines, was caused by a "carelessly discarded" cigarette, investigators say.
    The value of the destroyed bikes is put at £8m, but many of the machines are irreplaceable.

    The destruction could have been worse - scores of bikes were pushed to safety by museum staff and delegates at a business conference on the city.

    Fire experts at the scene on Wednesday quickly determined the cause of the fire which has left 70% of the building a blackened shell.

    Speaking from the scene to BBC Midlands Today, West Midlands Fire Service spokesman Dave Glenis said the fire started outside the building in boxes of old air conditioning units.

    "It appears that this is very close to the area where people smoke.

    It is a devastating loss, not just to me, but for the country as a whole

    Museum owner Roy Richards
    "It was the careless disposal of a cigarette into those boxes. That's why the fire spread so rapidly through the building.

    "We are not treating the incident as arson at this stage and believe it was purely an accident," he said.

    More than 120 firefighters tackled the fire which could be seen for 15 miles around.

    The bikes destroyed in the collection traced the history of the British motorcycle industry and many of the museum's rarest exhibits were among those lost.

    Exhibits included BSA Gold Stars, Sunbeam Twins, DMW Hornets and Triumph racers.

    But museum bosses have vowed that the museum will be rebuilt and hopes remain that some of the damaged bikes could be saved.

    Neil Payne, competition and demonstrations manager at the museum, said: "I am sure that it will rise, like the proverbial phoenix, from the ashes.

    "At the moment we do not know whether the bikes are destroyed beyond redemption.

    "We keep thinking it's a bad dream and we are going to wake up.

    "This is a huge loss to British heritage."

    Staff at the museum were said to be "absolutely devastated".

    Staff and conference delegates helped rescue bikes
    A museum spokesman said: "Over 300 of the exhibits in the museum have been saved.

    "Sadly, three of the museum's five exhibit halls have been destroyed along with their exhibits.

    "A full assessment of the damage is being undertaken with a view to getting operations under way again as soon as possible.

    "Many irreplaceable machines will have been damaged in the fire, but they will be restored once again, to their original showroom condition."

    The museum was home to more than 900 vintage machines.

    Irreplaceable machines

    Owner Roy Richards started collecting the bikes in the 1970s and the museum opened in 1984 with an initial collection of 350 machines.

    It became one of the biggest motorcycle museums in the world and attracted about 250,000 visitors a year. It was also a conference centre.

    Mr Richards said: "It is a devastating loss, not just to me, but for the country as a whole."

    Exhibitor Neil Payne told the BBC: "There are so many unique, priceless, irreplaceable machines that are lost. It is absolutely devastating.

    "The museum and indeed the country has lost some unique machines from British motorcycling history."
     
  2. mobo

    mobo

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    :( Sad indeed Pc as I have been riding Motorcycles since the age of 4 and after some 30 + yrs motorcycles have been a great part of my life..
     
  3. Gibble

    Gibble

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    I'm not a motorcycle rider but I certainly appreciate them. And I seriously hope that all the bikes are salvagable.

    Even if they can't get them back to the mint condition, I hope they don't do something utterly stupid and scrap the ones that appear unsalvageable. Keeping something is better than nothing....
     
  4. pyritechips

    pyritechips Gone but Never Forgotten Thread Starter

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    Hi gib:
    I saw a few brief views of the mess on TV news. Some bikes look like they are singed and soft items like cables and tires are toast. Even if a bike looks burned there always something salvageable. Nevertheles damage is extensive and with 650 bikes damaged it is safe to say that a few hundred will be lost. What hurts about these is they are not ordinary, new bikes in a dealership. The are rare and mostly irreplaceable.:(
     
  5. Gibble

    Gibble

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    I know :(
     
  6. pyritechips

    pyritechips Gone but Never Forgotten Thread Starter

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    Some of the carnage. Sorry, this is the biggest picture I can find:

    [​IMG]
     

    Attached Files:

  7. KeithKman

    KeithKman

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    Thats so sad. Maybe they can do something to repair the bikes?
     
  8. Gibble

    Gibble

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    oh my :(
     
  9. gws226

    gws226

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    NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :eek: :eek: :eek:

    A piece of history is gone and can not be fully replaced... This musuem was on my wish list of places to visit when I do fly out there... :(
     
  10. Gibble

    Gibble

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    It really is a shame, the equivelant in cars would be if we lost the only 1983 corvette in existence...or one of the many other truly unique or last of their kind cars to a fire :(

    Obviously the sprinkler system wasn't enough...or whatever they used. Hopefully places like this start putting in better fire protection systems.

    I hope alot of the damage on those bikes is just paint, and hoses, stuff that can be replaced...unfortunately they will never be the same again :(
     
  11. gws226

    gws226

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    A lot the bikes in that musuem have not only themselves not be in production for >50 years, but the companies themselves have not existed for the same amount of time...

    Triumph was the only major british manufacture that continued production into the 70's... Eventhough I know of people still restoring Triumphs (bonnevilles mostly) they always comment that scoring orginal parts is next to impossible...
     
  12. Gibble

    Gibble

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    I'm expecting the museum to be getting some donations soon, maybe some of those hard to find parts will be a little easier when they put out a list of what they need...

    The press could actually be used for good for a change ;)
     
  13. pyritechips

    pyritechips Gone but Never Forgotten Thread Starter

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  14. franca

    franca

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    That's great news.

    Used to own three bikes at one time, I had a Triumph Tiger Cub 200cc, a Triumph T110 650cc, and a BSA Shooting Star 500cc.

    Those were the days.
     
  15. Gibble

    Gibble

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    My dad used to ride motorcycles, he had a honda, not sure what kind though...
     
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