The Vintage Motorcycle Festival at LeMay – America’s Car Museum (ACM) has named BMW Motorrad as featured marque for the August 24-25, 2013, motorcycle event in Tacoma, Washington. The decision to feature the Munich-based motorcycle manufacturer coincides with the 90th anniversary of BMW Motorrad.
“BMW is a motorcycle company that also builds cars. In fact, they were building motorcycles well before the cars came along,” said Bob Henig, president of Bob’s BMW in Jessup, Maryland, and a BMW collector who is serving as a judge at this year’s Vintage Motorcycle Festival. “BMWs have always had classic, clean styling which made for low-cost, easy maintenance, so people could really enjoy their motorcycles. The idea was that people should ride them more than they should have to shine them.”
BMW Motorrad’s first motorcycle was the R32, which debuted in September 1923. The R32 was designed by Max Friz, the first chief engineer and design director for BMW AG, and includes many features that are still used on today’s BMW motorcycles.
“That basic design—the horizontally-opposed, air-cooled engine, with a transmission coupled directly to the back of the engine, offset to the right, with a driveshaft to a beveled rear drive, is exactly the layout that you can buy today on a modern BMW,” said Peter Nettesheim, a private collector from Huntington, New York, who owns eight R32 bikes, including the oldest surviving one—the 22nd BMW motorcycle ever built, which still runs today.
The Vintage Motorcycle Festival is one of the annual signature events at the 165,000 square-foot Tacoma museum. Along with the many BMWs, other motorcycles from famous makers will include Ducati, Triumph, Norton, Harley-Davidson, Indian and European marques from bygone eras.
The festival’s main event on Saturday, Aug. 24, will include judged classes and awards, a swap meet, trials motorcycle demonstrations, panel discussions and music. A scenic motorcycle ride launching from ACM’s plaza and traveling along Pacific Northwest roads is slated for Sunday.
The inaugural event in 2012 attracted more than 200 motorcycles and 2,000 enthusiasts to ACM’s Haub Family Field. Best of Show was a 1963 Norton Atlas owned by Ron Rumbolz of Fife, Washington, which is now on display at the museum.
For more information, visit lemaymuseum.org.