Bikes are arranged chronologically with periodcorrect accessories. Photograph by Jar Concengco
Drive Cars and Bikes

This Batangas museum houses what could be the most extensive collection of BMW motorcycles

This private museum in Lemery, Batangas, houses more than 160 vintage and classic motorcycles that took more than 20 years to collect and faithfully restore. Among them is what is said to be the world's most extensive collection of BMW motorcycles. 
Iñigo S. Roces | Feb 02 2019

Ask any two-wheeled enthusiast what he considers to be the pinnacle brand and the answer will most likely be BMW.

Long before its success as an automobile manufacturer, Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (Bavarian Motor Works) was busy building aircraft engines during World War I. Forced to cease production by the terms of the Versailles Armistice Treaty, the company shifted to motorcycle production in 1923, and to automobiles in 1928.

Police and military versions are the jewels of the collection, complete with their special add-ons.

In the motorcycle arena, BMW Motorrad has always been known for its conservative style, advanced engineering, and smooth finish. These attributes have made BMW a prestige brand for motorcycles, whether old or new, and even among people who don't give two wheelers a second glance.

In Lemery, Batangas, a private motorcycle and sports car museum pays exceptional tribute to the brand. Casa Corazon Resort and Museum, Inc. houses more than 160 vintage and classic motorcycles that took more than 20 years to collect and faithfully restore. Among them is what is said to be the world's most extensive collection of BMW motorcycles. "Put together, the collection would easily amount to tens of millions of pesos," says Lester Dizon, public relations officer for the resort and himself a motorcycle enthusiast.

Original accessories like the tool set behind, or the leather tank cover add to the bike’s value.

The massive collection rivals that of BMW AG's own, and was made possible by the contributions of several collectors. The museum features landmark models dating from the early days of BMW to recent classics.

Early models dominate one side of the hall with displays of supercharged racing engines, and memorabilia of the era.

The bikes, which have their own wing, are displayed in chronological order against a backdrop of era advertisements and reproductions of vintage posters. In some cases, the original aftermarket accessories of the era accompany the bike displays—giving viewers a glimpse of custom options.

The 1979 Ural is a Russian bike based on and closely related to the BMW bikes.

Though the vehicles may seem walled-in, Dizon insists the bikes are far from being calcified. "The bikes are re-fitted with batteries, fluids, and fuel once a year and run for a few kilometers to ensure they still operate well," says Dizon. "Then they're drained, cleaned, and returned to their stands after."

Typically sold in standard black or paper dover white, these BMW classics are seldom seen with custom colors.

This annual operation has attracted the attention of several motorcycle clubs that show up to ride alongside these rare classics. Ironically, some of the owners of the museum pieces don't even ride, Dizon admits. "They simply love the mechanics and technical complexity of the bikes."

 

Photographs by Jar Concengco

This story first appeared in Vault Magazine Issue 3 2011.