The smell of rubber and motor oil fill the vast warehouse stuffed with cars, trucks and motorcycles. The battle between man and machine reaches its pinnacle under the I-5 freeway in downtown Sacramento. The California Automobile Museum, 2200 Front St., is featuring the Born to Ride exhibit through March 12.
The exhibit is chronological, following motorcycles from their humble beginnings at the turn of the 20th century to the current world speed record holder. This impressive machine, BUB 7, reached 367.382 mph in September at Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah. Bikes of all brands, spanning several countries and countless models, are on display.
There’s a 1912 Harley Davidson, once owned by Steve McQueen, and a 1942 Crocker. The Crocker is considered the rarest motorcycle on display. Fewer than 100 were produced in the months leading to the United States’ involvement in WWII. They are valued for their quality and rarity.
Jeff Hughes and Albert Miranda love motorcycles. They rode their BMW bikes from Modesto in the fog for the opening day of the exhibit.
"I’ve been riding since I was a kid," said Hughes. "I actually got my motorcycle license before I got my car drivers license. I saw a lot of bikes inside that were amazing."
"My favorite bike was the Ariel Mark II," Miranda said. "The square four design (of the engine) was revolutionary."
Special events are planned throughout the exhibit in corroboration with Elk Grove Power Sports. On January 9, Flying Motorcycles’ chief executive officer, Sam Bousefield, will be on hand for a meet and greet and demonstration. Also that day, Elk Grove Power Sports will offer demo rides (weather permitting).
Machine mayhem doesn’t end with motorcycles, though. Admission to the Born to Ride exhibit includes entry to the museum. Row after row boasts Fords, Chevrolets, Studebakers, Hudsons and more. Original Model A and T cars are on display, too.
"Our collection is very impressive," Museum curator Amanda Moss.
"We offer visitors an experience into the world of automobiles," she said. "We have an extensive exhibit on the ‘green’ aspect of automobiles from the EV1 to the 2009 Tesla."
Tickets are $8 for adults, $4 for student with valid ID
For more information, visit the museum website.
Photo#1: 1912 Indian Racer
Photo#2: Motorcycles on display
Photo#3: Motorcycles on display
Photo#4: BUB 7- Fastest motorcycle in history
Photo#5: 1977 Kawasaki KZ Drag Bike
Photo#6: Cars on display
Photos courtesy of Matthew Ceccato