Motorcycle Monday: Museum Rises From The Ashes

Sep 27, 2021 3 min read
Motorcycle Monday: Museum Rises From The Ashes

This is fantastic news!

Back in January of this year, we covered the horrific fire which ripped through the Top Mountain Crosspoint motorcycle museum. Located in Austria at the base of Timmelsjoch mountain pass road, it had over 230 rare, vintage motorcycles contained within its walls. Workers were pushing as many of those historic bikes out as the structure burned, flames licking at the surrounding snow.

Check out our original coverage of the fire here.

While the fire was a shocking tragedy, the entire structure wasn’t destroyed. Some news outlets mistakenly reported the entire structure was engulfed in flames, but it was actually contained to just one section of the building. However, the destruction it did was still immense, making the fact the museum is set to reopen in November quite miraculous.

Sadly, many of the motorcycles which were inside the museum were destroyed by the fire. There were rides from over 100 different brands spanning the globe, including some more obscure manufacturers such as Zundapp, Matchless, and Sunbeam. Of course, European motorcycles dominated the collection since the museum is located in Europe, but at the time of the fire there was a special exhibit of about 50 Indian motorcycles, a real treat for those living in the area. Among those was a 1920 Scout modified by none other than Burt Munro in a successful effort to break multiple speed records. Most people who have seen the movie The World’s Fastest Indian will recognize the bike.

Thanks to two workers who were sleeping in the museum when the fire broke out, efforts to remove as many of the motorcycles as possible started almost immediately. That was fortunate, because once the fire brigades traversed the icy mountain roads, the flames were already consuming the ceiling inside.

Ultimately, the museum said only the Indian motorcycles exhibit was saved in its entirety. Exhibits in the main hall were “irreversibly lost” and 15 years of hard work was wiped out in a short time. The blaze was blamed on a broken monitor in the museum. While the loss was great, nobody was injured, so that by itself was a miracle.

More vintage bikes have been acquired to replace those which were lost. How that was accomplished in such short order isn’t entirely clear, and we’re not even sure how many motorcycles will be present upon the re-opening since no official statement indicating that has been made. There are a lot of questions which for now won’t be answered, but will become apparent when the museum’s doors are once again opened.

We’ve seen much loss in the recent past, so it’s great to see something which appeared to be entirely lost rise from the ashes, literally, and become whole again. While for most this museum will remain a dream destination, you might want to put this on your bucket list.

For now, the museum says on social media it will be re-opening on November 18, which is a Thursday. If you can make it to Austria, which is tricky these days, the museum and the scenery look absolutely amazing. Plus, if you go in the winter there’s a pretty nice ski resort and we hear the restaurant is excellent.

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