The Meet at ACM

The LeMay — America’s Car Museum, celebrates 90 years of BMW motorcycles with its The Meet at ACM.

| November/December 2013

Mix it up. If there’s one thing the The LeMay: America's Car Museum appreciates it’s the value of variety, a fact amply proven by the museum’s eclectic, 350-strong collection of special interest automobiles.

The cars at the Tacoma, Wash., museum span the gamut of the automotive universe, ranging from a 1919 Stanley Steamer to a 1983 DeLorean DMC 12. In between you’ll find Ferraris, a Tucker, Lincolns and Triumphs. But for two days this past August, the car-centric LeMay’s embrace of variety stretched to encompass vintage machines of the two-wheeled kind.

Although first and foremost a vintage car museum, just two months after its June 2012 opening the museum hosted the Meet at the Ace Vintage Motorcycle Festival, drawing 200 classic motorcycles and 10 times as many vintage motorcycle enthusiasts. The dust had hardly settled from that event before the museum started making plans for 2013. Held August 24-25, 2013, The Meet at the LeMay was an even bigger success than 2012, with 300-plus vintage bikes spread out across Haub Family Field and an estimated 5,000 vintage bike enthusiasts taking it all in.

Hats off to BMW

This year’s meet celebrated 90 years since BMW turned out its first production motorcycle, the 1923 R32, whose horizontally opposed twin cylinders and shaft drive set a pattern BMW still follows today. The event inspired a strong showing of vintage airheads, with Gary Lewis’ fantastic 1925 R37, one of just 152 made in 1925-1926, nabbing top honors in the European Prewar class. Much to the delight of attendees, Lewis fired up the raucous-sounding R37 and rode it on the drive ringing Haub Family Field.

As part of the BMW celebration, Kevin and Barb Brooks of Seattle-based Brooks Motor Works joined the Motorcycle Classics tent with a couple of their record-breaking Bonneville BMW racers, on hand for Kevin’s morning seminar on the challenges of racing on the salt. Kevin and the Flying Fox Racing Team have set numerous Land Speed Records on vintage BMWs. Other notable Beemers included Jim Knauft’s beautiful 1956 R26 and Steve Prokop’s immaculate 1973 R75/5.

It wasn’t all BMW of course, with an impressive selection of pre- and postwar American iron, including the spectacular 1913 Jefferson board track racer brought by Antique Cycle NW of Mercer Island, Wash. With a patina that only comes with age and originality, the Jefferson rightly won the show’s Best Unrestored award. Joe Palkovich’s fastidiously restored 1954 Harley Hydra Glide took top honors in American Postwar. Pete Mafteiu’s fantastic 1936/1941 Harley Knucklehead took third in American Prewar. Never restored, it was bought by his father in 1960 for $50 and features a 1936 engine in a 1941 frame.

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