Fire engulfed a motorcycle museum high in the Austrian Alps on Jan. 18, destroying more than 300 rare and significant machines.
The Top Mountain Crosspoint Motorcycle Museum in Hochgurgl that sits in the Alps between Austria and Italy was destroyed by a fire that began at about 4 a.m., Autoblog reports. The cause is under investigation. You can read the Autoblog story and see dramatic fire footage at autoblog.com/2021/01/19/austria-alps-motorcycle-museum-fire.
The museum website notes: “The impressive Top Mountain Crosspoint with Europe’s highest Motorcycle Museum (above 7,135 feet) is located in the midst of the stunning Ötztal mountain scenery, right at the bottom of Timmelsjoch High Alpine Road—the most attractive route to cross the Alps.
“In the Motorcycle Museum, more than 320 classic motorbikes from 120 international manufacturers as well as hand-picked curiosities leave no one unimpressed and fulfill great expectations on a surface area of more than “2,800 square feet, the website says. “Selected samples from all eras, starting with the year 1894, will take you through the fascinating history of the motorcycle.”
A sampling of the motorcycles on display were a 1923 New Imperial, 1926 Indian Scout, 1927 Sunbeam Model 9, 1928 Moto Guzzi Sport 14, 1929 Harley-Davidson 29D, 1931 Henderson, 1939 Brough Superior SS100, 1940 Indian Chief, 1940 Indian Four and a 1949 Norton Manx racer.
One of the rare machines housed at the museum was a 1928 Zündapp Z 200 with a 198cc single-cylinder, two-stroke engine that pumped out 4.5 horsepower. The museum’s website notes the bike was designed to attract young riders 16 and older. The Z 200 was manufactured by the Zünder-und Apparatebau GesmbH in Nuremberg, Germany, “which endeavored after the end of the First World War after the loss of the armaments business to new business fields,” the website says. “After sewing, writing and basket weaving machines the way was clearly paved for the production of own motorcycles and here one found at Zündapp in the interwar years just robustness and suitability for everyday use more important than cubic capacity – ‘quality motorcycles for everyone’ was the credo.”
The museum creators, twin brothers and motorcyclists Alban and Attila Scheiber, are described as hoteliers, ski school operators, cable car entrepreneurs and owners of the Timmelsjoch High Alpine Road.
The museum structure was a wood-clad building designed by Austrian architect Michael Brötz. The museum opened April 16, 2016 but closed Nov. 3, 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions. The owners planned to reopen Jan. 24, 2021.
Besides the museum, the Top Mountain Crosspoint is also home to a restaurant, the Kirchenkar mountain gondola and the Timmelsjoch High Alpine Road toll station.
For more information about the museum, go to crosspoint.tirol/en-museum.