Stuart Parr’s World-Class Italian Motorcycle Collection Is Vacationing In Miami
Images provided by The Stuart Parr Collection
When the conversation turns to two wheels, it’s impossible to avoid the Italian influence on motorcycling, and when you’re talking about vintage bikes from the likes of MV Agusta, Ducati, and Laverda it’s impossible to avoid Stuart Parr. Not that you’d want to though, as the man’s passion for these machines is contagious. He enjoys sharing his impressive collection with other enthusiasts, and is becoming known for impressive installations that display pieces from his collection.
Back in 2015, his bikes were housed on the ground level of a Madison Avenue skyscraper on Manhattan, and most recently he’s packed up a number of stunning Italians and parked them down in Miami’s Design District. The exhibit is called The Art of the Italian Two Wheel, and it will be in place until the 25th of April, later this spring. I ran into Stuart Parr recently and asked him about his exhibit, his latest bike endeavors, and of course, MV Agustas.
Ted Gushue: So the collection I’m sitting in right now is predominantly Italian, and overwhelmingly MV Agusta. How did you first get introduced to MV Agusta?
Stuart Parr: I was a kid, five or six years old. You look at magazines and see pictures. I saw the 750 Sport. I think it’s one of the most beautiful bikes ever created. How could you not fall in love with it the second you saw it? I’ve also always liked where racing meets the road. Where you could buy something that essentially is supposed to be on a track that you could drive on the street.
TG: So besides showing off your beautiful MV collection, what else can we expect to see at your exhibition in Miami?
SP: Well I’m launching my Stuart Parr Design MV Agusta Magni.
TG: Tell me about that bike.
SP: Well because of the last exhibition in New York, I met a bunch of people from MV Agusta and I met Giovanni Castiglioni, the owner, and spent a little time with him. He was really kind and sent me two motorcycles so that I would have a contemporary version of their bike, something to ride in the street. I told him that I would take one and redesign it into a bike that was of my design, and we talked about possibly designing a bike there at MV Agusta. So I ended up deciding I was going to do both bikes in a full custom “backdate” to a 750-style design. I’m not a big fan of all the plastic and carbon that come on modern bikes. I can’t even fathom why someone would need to put carbon on a street bike.
Yeah so, anyway I basically threw away the whole bike and kept the engine, and the electrical system and let Magni go to town to custom fabricate the rest.
TG: For those that don’t know, give us a little primer on Magni.
SP: Well I’m not the expert on it at all, far from it, but Arturo Magni was running the race program for MV Agusta. He basically did all the engineering for MV Agusta and actually also is responsible for finding Giacomo Agostini, who’s still the single greatest, winningest GP rider in history. More than Rossi, etcetera. Then Arturo opened up his own shop when MV folded.
So anyway, I went to Giovanni, we worked on these ideas and we had it made. Four or five months later the thing is running and it’s just beautiful. So beautiful that when I shared it with friends they started asking if they could get their hands on one. We’re going to do a limited edition. Pirelli is relaunching their Phantom tire with the bike. They love the bike, so we’re relaunching it with them.
There’s no plastic on the bike anymore, everything’s metal as you saw, and it should handle incredibly well. Now I have a bike that I love and I can drive on the street. You know one of the biggest issues was whether the bike would work with Ethanol. Since we have such lousy gas in the United States, a lot of these bikes, if you don’t drain them the carburetors get so gummed up… the gas is sitting for three, four months. It’s garbage.
TG: So will you basically have a hyper reliable vintage bike?
SP: Very well put.
TG: Very cool. So that will be the centerpiece of the Miami District Show, but what else will people expect to see there? The majority of your collection will be on display.
SP: Basically what I’m doing is bringing in a lot of people in the bike world and creating a hub for people to congregate. We’ll have some of the best bike builders in the world like Revival Cycles displaying their bikes there as well. Arch Motorcycles with Keanu Reeves. It should be a good time.
For further information about Stuart Parr’s Miami exhibit, The Art of the Italian Two Wheel, please visit the collection website here.