On the corner of Madison Avenue and E 40th Street is a unique sight for New York City. Through the first floor windows, passing pedestrians can see on display 26 vintage Italian motorcycles from the personal collection of designer, architect, and producer Stuart Parr. This new exhibition, aptly named “Art of the Italian Two Wheel”, is a collaboration between Parr and New York-based real estate investment firm RFR. All the motorcycles being showcased are rare models from the 1960s and ‘70s and were hand-built by artisans during what is consider the Italian golden age of racing.
During a special preview of the exhibition, I received a personal tour from Parr and famed Italian motorcycle historian Ian Falloon, who wrote the catalog for the exhibition. In true style, Parr arrived to the showcase with the engine roaring on another vintage motorcycle from his collection of over 50, which he stores in Tribeca. But unlike other collectors, Parr actually rides most of his rare motorcycles through the streets of New York.
1974 Ducati 750 Supersport Desmo from Stuart Parr's Personal Collection
When asked which motorcycle in the collection was the most special, both Parr and Fallooon agreed that is was the 1974 Ducati 750 Supersport Desmo. According to Falloon, this bike put Ducati on the map after Paul Smart won the 1972 Imola 200 riding the Ducati 750 Imola Desmo, for which the 750 SS was modeled after. Falloon also explained that the “round case” engine made this motorcycle unique. Unlike the easier produced “square case” engines that were used on the 750 SS as of 1975, the “round case” engines needed to be individually built by craftsmen, resulting in a limited production of only 400 Ducati 750 SS motorcyles in 1974.
The Ducati 750 Supersport Desmo was unveiled at the Milan motorcycle show in November 1973
Whether or not you are an avid motorcycle enthusiast, everyone can appreciate the uncompromised design and superior craftsmanship of these vintage Italian motorcycles. Be sure not to miss out on the chance to see this extensive collection featuring motorcyles from Italian engineering powerhouses Ducati, MV Agusta, Laverda, and Magni.
Runs April 16th – July 16th
285 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10022
Written by Jordan Martin