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Monday, January 18, 2016

George Barber and John Britten

Britten V1000 Motorcycle
George H. Barber founded a dairy in Alabama back in the 1930's. He was an early proponent of pasteurization. Given the way the media treats the South these days, it's hard to believe that anything intelligent ever came out of Alabama, but here we are. George's son, George W., as befits the son of a rich man, took up automobile racing. Eventually he inherited his father's business and sold it for a large fortune. Now what's he gonna do? I know, he says, I'll open a museum, the Barber Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham, Alabama.
    I had never heard of it before Stu told me about it. It's only been in business for 25 years or so, and it's in Alabama of all places. They have an impressive collection, including a Britten V1000 (picture above, sort of).
    John Britten designed and built his V1000 motorcycle in the 1990's in New Zealand. The thing is totally custom, engine, frame, suspension, body work, all hand made. They may have bought tires and maybe brakes and carburetors. Probably bought nuts, bolts and light bubs. Okay, I'm picking nits. The point is that John and his crew designed and built all the big, important stuff. And it would probably still be competitive today if anyone was willing to spend $1,000,000 for a racing bike. This YouTube video gives a good overview.


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