The past weekend served up a veritable cornucopia of classic cars and bikes, as well as some enjoyable Goldwing riding through the Viseu district. The classic vehicles were in three venues; a museum, a private collection and a large motor show. Each of them provided something different and contributed to a wonderful weekend.
It was the autumn meeting of the Goldwing Clube de Portugal, one of several club gatherings that we hold throughout the year. This one was held in the city of Viseu – about 1 hour 15 minutes south of Porto. As usual, the meeting involved lots of delicious Portuguese food (and wine), socialising with friends and fellow members, and some enjoyable group riding. But, in this post, I am going to concentrate on the classic vehicles that we saw.
Museu do Caramulo (Caramulo Museum)
Our riding route on Saturday took us to two locations where we would enjoy some classics. The first was the Museu do Caramulo. I have previously written about a visit there in July, so this was my second visit. In July, the temporary exhibit featured Bugattis. This time, it was supercars, with an assortment of Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Porsche, McLaren, Mercedes and Ford. I’m not a fan of supercars, and most of them were not classic cars, but here they are.
The museum’s permanent display section has a nice variety of vintage and classic cars, displayed over two levels of a secondary building. For me, the classic cars are far more appealing than the modern supercars. And the vintage cars have so many interesting features. As they say, “they don’t make them like that anymore.”
Whilst the Caramulo Museum is heavily tilted towards vehicles with four wheels, it does have a small collection of motorcycles, mostly vintage. The bikes are displayed very close to each other, making it difficult to get decent photos of them. But very nice to see, nonetheless.
Museu do Caramulo website – https://www.museu-caramulo.net/
Damião Cardoso Private Collection
Any perceived shortage of classic bikes at the Caramulo Museum was soon rectified, once we got to our second visit for the day. And this was to be a very special treat for us bike lovers! We were privileged to be able to visit the private collection of Damião Cardoso in Sao Pedro do Sul (Viseu district). This collection is not generally open to the public, but Damião very kindly invited our club to visit.
Damião’s collection began in 1982 when he was 17 years old. His father offered him a CZ175 and his collection has since grown to include the brands BMW, Harley Davidson, Indian, Ducati, Zundapp, Laverda, Moto Guzzi, Norton, BSA, Ariel, Triumph, Rudge, Matchless, Sunbeam, Velocette and Vincent. And the collection is huge!
When we first entered Damião’s yard, there were a handful of bikes parked outside. Four BMWs and a Ducati. All nice bikes that would have made a suitable collection for most bikers. But these were only a small teaser of what we were about to find.
As we were about to discover, the collection is spread throughout several rooms, in different buildings. Each room is full of bikes, side-by-side like sardines in a can. Every available bit of floor space is needed to hold this burgeoning assembly of classic beauties. And the spaces that can’t hold bikes are used to store a wide array of spare parts. We were allowed to wander, from building to building, to feast our eyes on these lovely machines.
The first room that I visited primarily held a variety of Ducatis, Moto Guzzis and Laverdas. A mighty six-cylinder Benelli Sei was tucked between a Laverda and a couple of more recent retro-styled Ducatis (a 750 Super Sport and a Paul Smart 1000). There were two Mike Hailwood replica Ducatis. A Moto Guzzi 850 Le Mans sat alongside a BMW with sidecar. All lovely bikes. A classic bike collector could be justifiably proud and satisfied to have acquired the contents of this room over a lifetime. But this is only part of Damião’s collection.
Next, I went to an upper room where I found some more Moto Guzzis and a Ducati. But the room was dominated by British bikes such as Norton, BSA and Rudge. In true British classic style, many of them had the obligatory pan beneath them to catch oil leaks. There was also a Victoria Bergmeister – a German manufacturer with early links to BMW.
The next building held a variety of bikes, many of them being older vintage machines. There were two Harley Davidsons: a 1961 Sportster 900 and a red 750 from 1947. A trio of red Indian Scouts from the 1920’s caught my eye along with several Triumphs. There were older Nortons and Ariels, as well as a 1938 Zundapp K600. But the star of the room had to be the iconic Vincent. Amazingly to me, the Vincent wasn’t afforded any special treatment. It wasn’t in a prominent display area. It was just standing alongside the wall with the other bikes.
Another building is where the restoration work takes place. There is a lathe for manufacturing parts and there are stacks of old bike parts waiting to be needed – frames, wheels, exhausts, fuel tanks and more. There are a couple of work benches that, at the time of our visit, held an Ariel Twin and a Norton cafe racer. Other partially worked-on projects stood around the room. Seeming somewhat out of place in one corner was a beautifully restored Sachs Minor GT moped.
The last room that I visited was an upper level and it seemed to be a bit of an overflow storage location. It held several bikes that are in need of work, or perhaps they will be used as parts-bikes for other projects. A stylish Steib sidecar was hanging from the rafters and there were engines, fuel tanks and boxes of parts.
The visit to this private collection was the highlight of the day. Heartfelt thanks go to Damião for giving us the opportunity.
Damião Motos Antigas website – https://www.damiaomotosantigas.com/
Damião Motos Antigas Facebook page
The Goldwing Club’s weekend event continued into Sunday. With the bikes and trailers loaded up, we all checked out of the hotel and set off for a morning ride, followed by the usual large lunch. In mid-afternoon, with bulging stomachs, we said our farewells and headed back to Porto.
Classic Auto Show
Whilst the Goldwing weekend was over, there was still one more classic vehicle event to squeeze in. The 17th International Motorcycle and Classic Motor Show had been running from Friday to Sunday at Exponor, in Porto. With the closing time set for 8.00pm on Sunday, I still had time to get there and check it out.
Exponor is a large venue and the vehicle displays were spread throughout the large halls and hangars. The show brought together classic vehicle hobbyist clubs, along with car restorers and vendors. Some vehicles were in competition, some were simply being displayed, whilst others were offered for sale. Regardless of the motives, there were some very nice vehicles to enjoy.
There were several small displacement bikes that some of my friends in Bermuda would appreciate, particularly the Mobylettes, Velo Solex, Vespas and Lambrettas that were sold there. But there were also some less well-known models that might be eligible for import into Bermuda, including a delightful 1937 Triumph with a tank-shifter.
I particularly enjoy bikes from the 1970’s – the period when I first became enamoured with motorcycles. And there were some nice examples of 70’s bikes on display. Amongst them were the iconic Honda CB750 Four and the Yamaha FS1-E moped.
Other bikes that caught my eye were a trio of red & black bikes: a vintage Motobecane with tank shifter: a nice Ariel; and a stunning 1924 Monet Et Goyon ZS Super Sport (a single cylinder 175cc that made 2 hp).
There were LOTS of cars – too many for me to stop and look at all of them. But as I wandered around the displays, some of the cars called out to me. Either because of their familiarity, their notable styling, or their sheer attractiveness.
I’ve always liked classic Jaguars, particularly the sleek and sexy E-Type. And there were plenty of Jags on display. One dealer alone had five beautiful E-Types at his stand.
Other British cars were in abundance, including a selection of Rolls Royce, Bentley, MG and Triumph. A black MG TC Midget sports car from the late 1940’s was a stand-out amongst them.
The Ford Capri was a popular car in England in the 1970’s, so it was interesting to see a group of them on display, including several that were lined up outside the entrance to the venue.
A hangar-type section of the venue resembled a large indoor car park. It held perhaps a hundred cars that apparently didn’t make it into the main halls. But I found some very nice cars scattered amongst them. The grey and white Corvette convertible was a stunner!
The show was an excellent way to round out what had been a fantastic weekend. Lots of classic bikes and cars along with friendship, socialising, eating good food and riding my Goldwing. This weekend is an example of why I’m really enjoying my retirement in Portugal!