Frequently Asked Questions
From Britten to Brough Superior to hometown hero Burt, Classic Motorcycle Mecca has it all.
Invercargill-based business Transport World bought many of the bikes at Classic Motorcycle Mecca from Nelson businessman Tom Sturgess in May 2016.
Classic Motorcycle Mecca is the second tourism venture owned by Transport World, which created its first venture – Bill Richardson Transport World – in late 2015. Given the company’s natural enthusiasm for everything wheels, and the Southland region’s celebrated obsession with motorcycles, the chance to own such an impressive collection presented an opportunity of a lifetime.
A world-class display, Classic Motorcycle Mecca is home to more than 300 motorcycles and a stunning collection of bike-related paraphernalia and artwork.
Classic Motorcycle Mecca is widely regarded as the finest motorcycle museum in the Southern Hemisphere and offers visitors the chance to get up close and personal with a superb and varied collection of motorcycles. The motorcycles range from early examples dating back to 1902 through to the sleekest of modern machines, and hail from all over the world – here you can see examples of British, American, Japanese and even the occasional homegrown bike, as well as a collection of speedway and motocross machines.
Two restored buildings have been developed within central Invercargill to house the collection and the café Meccaspresso, as well as The Handle Bar – a sophisticated events space.
Invercargill’s got a thing with wheels – and now, New Zealand’s premier destination for petrolheads is set to add another jewel to its crown.
The George Begg display was opened to the public in February 2020. This spectacular display is housed in a whopping 1600m2, custom-built space spanning the two basement areas of the Classic Motorcycle Mecca buildings.
The display itself pays tribute to a homegrown hero, legendary race car engineer George Begg, and a golden age in Kiwi motorsport history. During the 1960s and 1970s, Begg built 18 race vehicles that took on – and beat – some of the biggest marques in the world.
With the largest-ever display of vehicles built in Begg’s Drummond workshop, ‘The Toyshop’, memorabilia from his competitive motorcycling days, a wealth of information and anecdotes from Begg’s contemporaries including his family, former drivers, and colleagues, and more, the display gives visitors a fascinating insight into how the Southland engineer reached dizzying heights on the world stage.
The exhibit is the centrepiece of a new annual event, the George Begg Classic Speedfest, held at Teretonga Park: the southernmost FIA-recognised race circuit in the world.
The collection is a mixture of rare, internationally and locally significant motorcycles, and a few quirky ones for fun! Around 90 percent of the bikes are “runners” – in working condition. Some of the most iconic motorcycles include:
- Largest Brough Superior collection in the Southern Hemisphere, including the 1937 Brough Superior SS100 (Brough Superior bikes are often dubbed the ‘Rolls Royce’ of motorcycles)
- 2007 Vincent Black Shadow (made 50 years after production stopped – the last Black Shadow to be made)
- 3 out of 4 publicly displayed Britten Bikes, including the Cardinal Britten. Only 10 of these iconic machines were ever made by legendary Kiwi innovator John Britten, and only two are on public display. The other Cardinal is housed at New Zealand’s national museum, Te Papa, in Wellington.
- 1998 Simms Softtail (custom made by Ron Simms)
- 1912 Flying Merkel (company only produced motorcycles between 1909-15)
- The Mighty Atom (handmade NZ motorcycle)
- Rare 1937 Triumph 6S (believed to be the only one in New Zealand)
- 1902 Motosacoche and 1902 Peugeot – the oldest bikes in the collection
Since Classic Motorcycle Mecca opened to the public in Invercargill, Classic Motorcycle Mecca has steadily broadened the appeal of the collection by adding other motorcycles such as bikes used in motocross and speedway.
Classic Motorcycle Mecca is more than a museum. Transport World has worked hard to ensure that the visitor experience at Classic Motorcycle Mecca is an engaging one, and that is reflected in the quality exhibits and interactive displays within the museum.
Classic Motorcycle Mecca has also been designed to give visitors an up-close-and-personal experience: motorcycles are not hidden away in glass cases; instead, visitors can expect to find our displays right in front of them. This makes for an intimate experience that allows visitors to really appreciate the finer details of our pieces.
Classic Motorcycle Mecca is also full of the quirky flourishes that we have become known for. Keep your eyes peeled to really appreciate the different design elements that have gone into creating Classic Motorcycle Mecca and, as funny as it sounds, don’t forget to pop into one of our themed bathrooms. They are fast becoming as famous as our collections themselves.
On any given day you will see more than 300 bikes on display at Classic Motorcycle Mecca. However, space is at a premium, so we have a small handful on display throughout Invercargill’s CBD as well as at Bill Richardson Transport World, also here in Invercargill.
The Classic Motorcycle Mecca collection and café Meccaspresso are located over two revamped buildings.
Both buildings have been extensively renovated. Most of the collection is housed in what was originally the Thomson and Beattie building. It was constructed in 1881 and is currently a Historic Places Trust Category 2 building. It started life as a drapery shop before transforming first into an outdoor sporting goods shop and then Classic Motorcycle Mecca. The café and the newest part of the museum (redeveloped in late 2018) occupy what was once the John Edmonds building. Over the years this has had many uses: originally a hardware store, it has also lived life as a pool hall, nightclub, and even a ballet studio.
During the renovations to transform the space, the modern wall linings were removed to complete earthquake strengthening work and the beautiful red brick and tongue-and-groove walls were revealed. They were simply too beautiful to cover again and, since Classic Motorcycle Mecca celebrates the heritage of some of the most stunning motorbikes to be made over the years, it was decided to make them a feature of the museum. They now form a very sympathetic backdrop to the collection.
Yes! We encourage people to take as many images as they please. However, the use of these images for commercial use is strictly prohibited (please see our terms and conditions at www.transportworld.nz). Please feel free to share your images on social media. The #hashtags we use are #classicmotorcyclemecca and #transportworld and we LOVE to see your content.
Yes. Guided tours are available with prior booking. We require at least 24 hours’ notice, and these can be arranged via the gift shop on 03 217 0199. Tours are $125 per guide plus the cost of entry fees. We don’t have a minimum number but there is a maximum number of 10 people per guide. Tours generally run for an hour and cover a broad range of topics. If you have a specific interest area, please let us know on booking as we will strive to get the right guide for your needs.
There is a lot to see so we recommend you allow plenty of time and wear comfy shoes.
Classic Motorcycle Mecca has full disability access.
There is also a wheelchair available to use for free. If you would like to guarantee you will have a wheelchair on your visit, we recommend contacting the gift shop on 03 217 0199 prior to your arrival.
Wristbands are available for those who may want to step out and take a break or have lunch at Meccaspresso – just ask the team at the gift shop and they will help you out. Wristbands are only available for the same day of ticket purchase.
We don’t want you to be disappointed with your experience and an entry after 4pm would not allow you enough time to make your way through the collection. On average guests spend at least two hours with us, so we recommend you allow plenty of time.
Parking is located throughout the CBD and within close proximity to the attraction. The best location for coach and motorhome parking is Wood Street (directly behind the attraction).
Meccaspresso is an inner-city café housed in our beautifully-restored period buildings. Like the rest of Classic Motorcycle Mecca, its aesthetic takes its inspiration from New York-style loft spaces. It is famous for its fantastic service and great tasting food. Meccaspresso is a truly delicious stop popular with locals and visitors alike.
The Handle Bar is Transport World’s latest events venue for hire. It opened in 2019. The venue caters for up to 40 people during a seated dinner, or up to 90 people in a cocktail setting. The Handle Bar gives guests a chance to get up close to some of the most impressive bikes in the world, as it is situated amongst our “hero” collection. To find out more, click here to visit TW Events and Incentives.
Classic Motorcycle Mecca is located within Invercargill’s CBD. It is around the corner from information services, and only a quick five-minute drive from Invercargill Airport. We are within close proximity of the local bus service and taxis can be arranged from the gift shop.
The backbone of the collection visitors can now discover at Classic Motorcycle Mecca here in Invercargill was once a well-known Nelson classic motorbike museum.
Tom Sturgess is a Nelson-based, American-born businessman. He shifted to New Zealand in the mid-1990s. He bought his first motorcycle – a 1965 Triumph Tiger – on a whim in early 2008. His collection exploded in only seven short years, and he amassed almost 300 motorcycles in that time.
Joc O’Donnell is the daughter of Bill Richardson, the original collector of Bill Richardson Transport World. Joc was inspired to take over the collection when Bill died in 2005. Since immigrating to New Zealand in the early 20th century the Richardson family have always had a keen, industrial eye for business and have been involved in a range of enterprises throughout the years. However, it was Bill who made the decision to diversify into transport. When Bill was in his early 20s his father purchased his first truck and from there Bill and his family grew the business into one of New Zealand’s largest private companies, with over 2500 employees and varied interests in transport, concrete, fuel and more recently tourism. The family opened Bill Richardson Transport World to showcase their automotive collection to the public in 2015.
When Tom Sturgess decided to sell his collection, Transport World purchased a significant portion of his collection with the view to add motorcycles to its repertoire and Classic Motorcycle Mecca was born. It opened in Invercargill on 23 November 2016, during the Burt Munro Challenge, an event that attracts motorcycle enthusiasts from across the globe to Southland.
Yes, we do take enquiries. The collection curator Graeme Williams is the best person to speak with about this. Please contact Transport World on 03 217 0199 to start the discussion.