In 2013 the Barber Vintage Festival became the largest vintage motorcycle gathering in the U.S., with almost 62,000 attendees, a 10-fold increase from the first festival, held in 2005. It didn’t stop there, as the 10th Annual Barber Vintage Festival, held Oct. 10-12, 2014, hit a new high, breaking the 65,000 barrier.
A major draw among many was the astounding gathering of HRD Vincent motorcycles, made possible thanks to well known Vincent specialist Somer Hooker and the Hillbilly Vincent Owners, who hosted a Vincent rally in North Carolina prior to the Barber event, with many owners riding their Vincents to Alabama. On hand among the estimated 55 Vincents was Gunga Din, test bed for the Black Shadow and Black Lightning, along with surprises like Bev Bowen’s 1950 Black Shadow, “Felix.” Built in 1960 by Jack Wilson as a Bonneville Salt Flats racer it never raced on the salt, but it ran spectacularly at Barber (see the video for yourself). Gene Brown’s 1932 Python Sport took top honors at the Motorcycle Classics Vintage Bike Show, which was held alongside the Vincent gathering. Perfectly restored, it’s likely the oldest HRD Vincent in the U.S.
The annual Motorcycles by Moonlight museum fundraiser featured Alan Cathcart interviewing Erik Buell of Buell Motorcycle fame, and the Ace Corner returned to the inside track, with lovely cafés from established players and relative unknowns, including Dave Williams’ wild Triton with Buick Riviera taillights Frenched into the one-off aluminum tank and rear seat cowl. Dave’s Triton took our Editor’s Choice award.
If you didn’t go in 2014, don’t make the same mistake again this year. The venue is spectacular, the people great, and the motorcycles nothing short of astonishing — rumor has it at least a half-dozen Britten V1000s will gather at Barber in 2015. See you at the 11th Vintage Festival, Oct. 9-11, 2015! MC