Open Menu
Open Menu

Style and speed on two wheels – the Simeone salutes postwar design, flat track, drag and sport bikes

Published in

1951 Indian Chief Roadmaster. Photo by Dawn Deppi.

Motorcyclists tend to be a divided tribe, with loyalties often split by brand, style or even decade of manufacture. Opening on August 20, the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum’s annual motorcycle exhibit hopes to tear down these barriers by presenting, “Land of the Rising Sun, Mid-Century Motorcycles and Fast from the Past,” ensuring that riders of all brands can find something of interest, perhaps shattering a few stereotypes in the process.

Featured will be flat track racers, drag bikes, mid-century modern motorcycles that emphasized the flair of postwar design, and Japanese motorcycles from 1960 to 1989. Forty-plus motorcycles are expected to be on hand, representing manufacturers from America, Europe and Asia.

1986 Suzuki RG500 Gamma

The not-for-U.S.-consumers two-stroke 1986 Suzuki RG500 Gamma will be on display. Photo courtesy Simeone Museum.

Though the list is subject to change, featured bikes are expected to include a 1952 Vincent Black Shadow, then the fastest production motorcycle in the world; a 1954 MV Augusta “Disco Volante,” Italian for flying saucer; a 1972 Kawasaki H2 Mach IV, called the “King of the Streets” for its impressive acceleration; a 1969 Honda CB750, often referred to as the first superbike; a 1951 Indian Chief Roadmaster, an example of ambitious postwar design; and a twin-engine 1958 Triumph drag bike known as “The Parasite,” which made local headlines in Daytona, Florida, in 1959 by completing a quarter-mile pass in 10.42 seconds at 142 MPH.

2015 Simeone motorcycle exhibit

Last year’s Simeone motorcycle exhibit featured BMWs, police bikes and land speed record bikes. Photo courtesy Simeone Museum.

To open the display, the Simeone will host a “Kickstart Launch Party” from 5:30 to 9:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 20, featuring drag racer Chris Hand, pilot of the “Redneck Express” Top Fuel bike.  The sixth member of motorcycle drag racing’s “Five Second Club,” Chris has been riding the Redneck Express, in various forms, since 1979, and has been drag racing on two wheels since 1968.

The eighth-annual motorcycle exhibit is curated by John Lawless and runs from August 20 through September 9 at the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit