It’s the stuff of nightmares. Any collector of anything is torn asunder when the object of their desire is engulfed by flames.
And yet again, we learn of another irreplaceable collection of vintage motorcycles and memorabilia consumed by fire.
This time it was the turn of Austria’s Top Mountain Crosspoint Motorcycle Museum, situated at some 2000m in Timmelsjoch Pass on the border of Austria and Italy. Opened as recently as 2016 by brothers Alban and Attila Scheiber along with an in-house restaurant, this magnificent collection housed more than 230 historic motorcycles, replicas and rare vintage vehicles.
Temporarily closed due to COVID restrictions, the wooden building took less than two hours to burn to the ground. By the time the 60 firefighters arrived, all they could do was watch as millions of dollars of classic machinery was destroyed.
The carnage included a 1920 Anzani racing motorcycle, a 1923 Harley-Davidson and a 1970 Münch Mammut, a big bike powered by a four-cylinder engine borrowed from an NSU TTS. An unrestored 1955 MV Agusta 125 joined the collection after spending decades in a barn as well as a fascinating Hercules two-wheeler fitted with a Wankel rotary engine.
The cars lost include a 1954 Messerschmitt KR175, a 1964 Lotus 23B, a 1988 Porsche 959, a 1932 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Monza and a single-cab split-window Volkswagen pickup.
In 2018, a local collector lost about a million dollars worth of motorcycles and sundry kit in a fire at Callington, SA. In 2003, the British National Motorcycle Museum was severely damaged with the loss of scores of valuable motorcycles, although has since reopened.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.