Remember that huge barn find of over 180 vintage British motorcycles that made its way to the U.K. not long ago? It was November, 2022 when Hitchcocks Motorcycles first shared its amazing good fortune with the motorcycle world, giving an overview of what looked to be an absolute sea of classic British bikes and parts.
In addition to at least 180 whole motorcycles, Hitchcocks said that the whole collection it had shipped overseas from the U.S. filled five entire sea cargo shipping containers. Over 50 tons alone were spare parts for a lot of bygone bikes—mostly British, with some Americans and other bikes strewn here and there for good measure.
A lot of times, when you hear about a barn find, you don’t always get to know the backstory—but sometimes, if you’re lucky, you do eventually find it out. In January, 2023, Hitchcocks took to its YouTube channel again, where it shared a little behind-the-scenes video that revealed the backstory behind how it acquired all these bikes and spares.
As it transpired, this purchase had been in the works for years. A well-known British bike importer in Michigan, commonly referred to as ‘BSA Bob,’ had contacted Hitchcocks about selling off some of his vintage Royal Enfield collection. Since that’s Hitchcocks Motorcycles’ specialty, the shop was of course quite interested.
Unfortunately, at some point in the discussion, Bob became ill, and eventually passed away. As Hitchcocks tells it, Bob’s widow then talked to the shop about possibly buying the entire collection outright, as long as they could come and take it all away. Hitchcocks was ready to do this—but then came the pandemic, which of course threw the entire world into upheaval.
Eventually, though, vaccines rolled out, travel restrictions eased, and Hitchcocks was able to come take a look at the massive barn in Michigan where all these bikes and parts were stored. When a four-person team from Hitchcocks came over in July, 2022 to get the bikes packed for shipping, they had a two-story behemoth of a building to contend with. Luckily, some friendly neighbors who knew Bob were happy to help—and after winching bikes out and piling like parts with like parts in piles on the grass, the team was able to figure out the logistics to pack everything away in the shipping containers.
Getting semi trucks (or ‘articulated lorries’) across the grassy fields and over to the barn for packing was a challenge in and of itself. Eventually, though, the team made it work—and soon, these massive shipping containers were on their way to Hitchcocks.
As of January, 2023, you can see that some of the bikes are available for sale on the shop’s website—though it’s still working through all those tons of parts. If you’re interested in seeing what’s available and/or obtaining any of these parts for yourself, you should probably keep an eye on their website. You may also want to reach out directly to Hitchcocks if you have specific things that you’re looking for, so you can chat about it. We’ll include a link in our Sources so you can peruse the listings and find out more information.