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‘Art of The Italian Two Wheel’ – Stuart Parr

Posted on April 15, 2015 by Andrew in Classic, Racer. 25 comments


Imagine for a second that you’ve made it. Whether it be through sheer luck, hard work or divine skill, you’ve reached a point in your life where you have everything you’ll ever need – maybe even a little more. So you indulge your passion. Now this could mean pretty much anything depending upon who you are, but as you are right here at the House of Pipes then there’s a good chance that it involves two wheels. It certainly did for New York’s Stuart Parr, albeit with a decidedly Italian spin on things. And ten years later, he’s kindly showing the world the Frutti of his labour at a local gallery. He’s calling it the ‘Art of The Italian Two Wheel’. We’re calling it heaven.


Stuart’s ‘74 Ducati 750SS…


Parr’s collection currently comprises over 50 bikes, mainly hailing from Italy’s ‘60s and ‘70s.  No prizes for guessing that Stuart’s passion is for great design, then. He has a few well-known architectural creations under his belt, along with some notable film production credits, too.

…and her younger sibling, the ‘81 900SS


A storage facility in Tribeca houses the bikes on a day-to-day basis, with Parr swapping his daily ride when the mood takes him. But with most of them having to bide their time between sessions, Stuart began to toy with the idea of airing them all out in an exhibition of some sort.


A ‘74 Laverda 750 SFC, or Super Freni Competizione


Parr reached out to a friend in real estate with the idea, and before he knew it he was wheeling the bikes into a vacant Madison avenue retail space that was earmarked for redevelopment sometime in the not-too-distant future. And why would you bother with over-priced fashion when you could be window-shopping for priceless motorbikes?


A ‘71 MV Agusta 750s


What’s clear from the resulting show and its motorised art pieces is that no-one, and we mean no-one, does engineering quite so beautifully as the Italians. It speaks volumes as to just how they see the world – after all, why would you bother to make something functional if it wasn’t bellissimo to boot?


A stunning ‘60 Benelli 175 SS


Stuart rejects out-of-hand any offers to buy the machines. Without a though, he states that the bikes are ‘not for sale’ despite countless offers from a United Nations-esque list of interested parties. ‘I’m not breaking up this collection,’ he insists.


A VanTech-framed Motobi with twist of café


And what a legacy the collection will be. The passion that is inherent in one man’s obsession and how that obsession manifests itself in such a beautiful collection of machinery is clear. On paper, a career in architecture and the movies should easily eclipse a weekend hobby, but who can read a piece of paper when they’re tearing down the road on a piece of Italian art?


It’s just like Christmas, but the toys are already unwrapped

The show will open on April 18 and stay up for three months. If you’re in NYC and you miss this, then you either need your head read or your bike license revoked. Or both. Make sure you catch it at 285 Madison Avenue, in New York’s Bryant Park district.

  • Deej

    I needed to see something like this when I checked in today. Pipeburn always delivers.

    • Brandon Bruschke

      Couldn’t agree more. Nothing soothes a rough mind like this…

  • Fantome_NR

    “A VanTech-framed Motobi with twist of café”

    Uh, no, that’s not a “twist of café”, it’s simply a race bike. Café racers were street bikes that tried to imitate race bikes such as this one.

    • Hardley T Whipsnade III

      Two thumbs up . And thank you for saying it so I didn’t have to

    • Agreed. Now shut up and enjoy the damn bikes…

      • Fantome_NR

        Oh I enjoy the bikes. I don’t enjoy bad writing though.

        • Grendel Medlord

          Ok. So just shut up then.

  • Pete NYC

    And only two blocks from my house! …Honey, I think I have to walk the dog again…!

  • Hardley T Whipsnade III

    I’ve seen this in detail elsewhere . And to be honest , its a very nice collection and all but hardly earth shattering or unique . Fact is he has nothing in his collection I haven’t seen a dozen times or more at any number of decent classic motorcycle show or events . Never mind what some other private collectors have in their stash . Like I said . The collection is nice enough . But hardly worth all the attention its getting . Never mind the cost of entry when the collection becomes available to see by the general public . e.g. ” Much Ado About Nothing ” with a whole lot of hype driving it well past any attention it might deserve

    • am going to change my name to Baron Von Ratty IV

    • Spoiled, much?

      • Leks13

        Lol. I know aye… Excuse me for the bikes not being unique enough!

    • nathas909

      What, just because you have seen these sort of bikes a lot, other people are not allowed to get excited by this collection.

    • CC

      That might not be entirely wrong, but seeing a collection of well designed motorcycles with good lighting and, in some cases, on stages, that is not something I have seen in a lot of shows.
      That beeing said, as a young rider, I have not been to a lot of them. And such an exhibition is definitely something I would like to see. Just to see some of the bikes in front of me for the first time…

    • Geebzilla400

      what? so you have seen more than a dozen times a 74 Ducati Green Frame 750SS at the classic motorcycle show? I would argue that I would probably never see one due to their limited numbers and high possibility of being a garage queen hiding away somewhere. I know for me, exhibits like these are a blessing and thankfully Stuart in a philanthropic way has provided his amazing collection for the average joe (aka me) to see.

    • The Bad Newyorker

      Dude, some if not the majority of these bikes are a rarity to see even in the motherland of Italy, I personally enter this collection by chance one day walking by, and met Mr Parr, which was on site! The bikes are basically new, like if they came out of the manufacturer and set for the first time on showroom floor. The attention for details and restoration is above anything you can imagine. Few of these bikes are also registered on the Italian Historical Register… You got to be kidding me! MV Augusta, Laverda…Benelli, Motobi… I would challenge you to take a picture of any of these bikes on the street of your city… And I’m an Italian dude, who raced, and rode bikes around the world for more then 30 years… Good luck finding these bikes at your classic motorcycle show…I’m going again Saturday to chat with the lad and have a few beers!

  • ebo

    Not one Moto Guzzi!?!? NOT ONE? Come on dude?

    well here we go

  • Hamish Lamont

    Totally awesome. Kudos to the man for sharing. =)

  • niels

    I have a question about those round fairings. More bikes use those round front fairings. Can u buy them somewhere or are they allways home build?

  • What a beautiful collection! Theres a few better ways that I can think of of spending your excess millions, but not that many…

  • Davidabl2

    I hope there’s a big illustrated catalog..that doesn’t sell for more than a c-note.