BMW - A Living Legend
In northern Spain, about an hour's ride north of Barcelona towards Andorra, is one of motorcycling's best kept secrets.
Surrounded by mountains, the family-run Bassella Motorcycle Museum is a must-visit destination for riders, as it contains some fantastic rare examples of motorcycling memorabilia.
Every year there is a featured exhibition and since February 2007 the main theme has been 'BMW, a living legend'.
A selection of BMW’s famous competition motorcycles
This has been one of the most successful exhibitions in the museum's history and for this reason, the museum's owners have decided to extend it for another year (until February 2009), keeping the current motorcycles on display and adding some very special models that have been sourced during the past few months.
This exclusive exhibition in the Bassella Motorcycle Museum is devoted entirely to the history of the German brand and puts on display some of the most important mass-produced models manufactured by the company throughout its history.
Approximately 50 motorcycles are on display that have either been loaned by private Spanish collectors as well as many that have been provided by BMW Mobile Tradition - the organisation within BMW that coordinates all activities that are connected with the company's varied and successful history.
The R 32 – the first BMW motorcycle ever produced – and the R 37, the racing derivative of the R 32
The first display covers the years from 1923 through to 1938 and includes 15 fantastic and rare machines, such as the R 32 - the first BMW motorcycle ever produced - and the R 37, the racing derivative of the R 32.
Also on display is the R 12 - the first bike in the world to be fitted with telescopic front forks - and the R 63 with sidecar, which is probably the best example of a classic BMW motorcycle currently kept in Spain.
The second part of the exhibition covers the years from 1948 to 1993, starting shortly after the Second World War, with a defeated Germany as well as a practically destroyed factory that had to start again from scratch.
The mythical military BMW R 75 in its ‘Africa’ guise
There are approximately 20 motorcycles on display covering these decades, such as the R 24 - the first post-war model; the R 27 'Roa', which was the only BMW bike manufactured in Spain; the R 90 S, one of the all-time classic BMWs; as well as various four-cylinder K Series models, which at the time were part of BMW's plan to phase out the Boxer twins.
The exhibition also offers two additional special sections. One is devoted to military BMWs and their role in the Second World War. Bikes such as the R 20, R 35 or mythical R 75 in its two 'Africa' and 'Russia' guises can be seen. The second section covers competition motorcycles - both on track and off-road, where visitors will be able to look at prototypes as well as see models that have conquered international championships during all these years.
As well as all of the motorcycles mentioned above, the Bassella Motorcycle Museum is currently planning to add some very special models to the display, which will be arriving in Spain very soon. These include machines such as the 500cc R51/2 of 1950, which was the first Boxer twin produced after the Second World War.
The ISDE-specification R 68
Also included are rarities such as the BMW R 10 Scooter; an 800cc Paris-Dakar rally prototype machine, the amazing BMW Futuro prototype and the BMW JCobas, which is a 1000cc race bike that was specially manufactured for the 24h of Montjuic endurance race in Spain in 1984.
It's also worth noting that the 'BMW, a Living Legend' exhibition forms only part of the museum's attractions. There is also a permanent collection located on the first floor of the museum where visitors will find around 70 exceptional machines from different manufacturers with a history all of their own. These include BSA, Norton, Harley-Davidson, Ariel, Terrot, Motosacoche and the main Spanish motorcycle brands such as Bultaco, Montesa, Ossa and Derbi. More information about the BMW exhibition and this family-run motorcycle museum near Barcelona can be found by visiting the www.museumoto.bassella.com
website, which has Spanish and English language options.