More than 200 automobiles graced the 18th fairway at the 61st Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance near coastal Carmel, California, on a recent Sunday, dwarfing the 18 shiny Italian motorcycles on display. But when it came time for the presentation of awards for these two-wheelers, it was the machines from the National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa, Iowa, that took center stage.
The results of the Italian Touring Motorcycles class competition saw a first-place award going to a 1957 Aermacchi Chimera — a strikingly beautiful blue and yellow “streamlined” machine. Second-place honors went to a bright red 1956 Maserati 160 LM, also a motorcycle museum resident.
Two years ago, the producers of this prestigious Concours d’Elegance made the decision to add motorcycles to the competition. First came a round of British bikes, then American rides, and this year featured a carefully vetted group of Italian motorcycles.
“We feel extremely privileged to have been invited to attend, and then take such a high honor in the Concours d’Elegance world,” said John Parham, president of the board of directors of the National Motorcycle Museum. “To be among a group of such great motorcycles and take a double win is certainly among my life’s greatest experiences.”
In addition to the Concours d’Elegance, owners of all of the featured cars and motorcycles were invited to participate in the Thursday Tour d’Elegance, a 65-mile drive on the coast highway and the hilly winding roads nearby. The Aermacchi successfully completed the Tour — although it was a bit of a challenge for its 175cc motor. It barely kept pace with the parading Ferrari GTOs and more than 100 other entries, but you have to give it bonus points following the results of Sunday’s Concours d’Elegance judging. Lots of bonus points.
The Maserati and Aermacchi are on loan to the museum by Parham, who is also president of J&P Cycles. Both vintage bikes will soon be featured in the lobby of the National Motorcycle Museum. For those who have never visited the museum, it is home to more than 320 antique motorcycles and thousands of pieces of art, photographs, posters, postcards and motorcycle memorabilia from around the world. This motorcycling piece of heaven is a nonprofit corporation.
For more information, visit the National Motorcycle Museum online.