George Barber, founder of the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum and the Barber Motorsports Park in Leeds, Ala., has been elected to the AMA Motorcycle Hall Of Fame Class of 2014 in the Ambassador/Industry category.
“George Barber’s incredible collection of motorcycles at his museum, as well as his world-class racing facility, are evidence of a love for the history of motorcycling and an appreciation for the passion we all share,” said Ken Ford, a member of the Hall of Fame executive committee and treasurer of the American Motorcyclist Association board of directors. “His significant investment of time, energy and money has produced a world-class shrine to the design, manufacture and enjoyment of motorcycles.”
Barber said his first reaction on learning of his Hall of Fame election was “disbelief.”
“I know that there are so many great people in the Hall of Fame that I wondered, ‘How in the hell did I get in?'” Barber said. “It truly is an honor.”
Barber’s early interest in motor vehicles manifested itself in Porsche racers during the 1960s, when he wrenched his own cars and notched 63 first-place finishes. But he became intrigued with motorcycles, especially the variety of ways different designers and engineers chose to solve similar problems. He began collecting motorcycles and decided to open a museum when the collection reached about 60, he said.
Today, the world-renowned Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum holds a collection of more than 1,400 motorcycles, with more than 700 on display at any given time, Barber said. The museum also houses a collection of vintage racecars, including 43 Lotuses. Each year, “several hundred thousand” people visit the 830-acre Barber Motorsports Park that includes a state-of-the-art 2.38-mile road racing track.
Barber is the third member of the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame class of 2014 to be announced. He joins two previously announced inductees: motocross pioneer Pierre Karsmakers, and racer and motorcycling advocate Tom White. The remaining 2014 inductees will be announced in random order in the coming weeks.
The 2014 AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be held on Friday, Oct. 17, as part of the AMA National Convention scheduled for Oct. 16-19 in Orlando, Fla., in conjunction with the American International Motorcycle Expo (AIMExpo). Tickets for the convention and the induction ceremony go on sale soon. Stay tuned to www.motorcyclemuseum.org for updates.