May 17, 2016 at 2:44 pm #12904EddiebKeymaster
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The world-class collection at Nelson’s New Zealand Classic Motorcycles has been bought by Invercargill’s Transport World and will reopen there towards the end of the year.
?The multi-million dollar collection, put together by Tom and Heather Sturgess and housed in Nelson since December 2014, is considered one of the best anywhere and its innovative layout has delighted visitors. It includes close to 300 motorcycles and a variety of rare motorcycle-focused art. Its overall value has never been disclosed.
The sale was flagged in February when National Business Review rich-lister Sturgess, who underwent major surgery last year, said that as part of reorganising his life, he had decided to close the doors and evaluate the next step. It was a decision made with “great sadness” he said then.
Director of Bill Richardson Transport World, Scott O’Donnell, said he was pleased to take the collection south and thought it was a “a perfect complement to our existing Transport World experience”.
Details were still being finalised. However, O’Donnell said the collection would be housed within the Invercargill CBD and not at Transport World, which is beside State Highway 1.
The collection ranges from a 1902 Peugeot to a 21st Century Simms Corbin Custom and includes brands such as AJS, Ariel, BMW, Brough Superior, Harley Davidson, Henderson, Indian, Matchless and Rudge, as well as little-known brands such as Schwinn and Zundapp.
O’Donnell said he hoped the collection would encourage more people to visit Southland.
“We look forward to honouring Tom and Heather and the collection’s Nelson roots whilst also adding our own unique Transport World touches.”
The museum in Nelson closed to the public at the end of last month.
O’Donnell said offshore offers for the collection had been received but it was Sturgess’s wish that the collection remained in New Zealand.
Sturgess said the move to Invercargill was the best outcome for the country.
“I am sure Invercargill will receive as much enjoyment and make as many new friends as we have.”
Nelson Regional Development Agency chief executive Bill Findlater said he was unaware of any Nelson effort to keep the collection in the city.
“There’s a lot of expensive kit there – it’s not something that’s easy.”
A motorcycle enthusiast himself, Findlater said it was said to see the collection leave Nelson, “but one of things that Tom’s done is make sure that it’s staying in New Zealand and the South Island”.
“I think that’s great. It’s probably going to a fitting place. It’s still going to be seen by a lot of motorcylists and others, it’s just a pity that it’s leaving here.”
Transport World opened in December last year and quickly became Invercargill’s leading attraction. Its 15,000 square metre site houses 250 trucks, more than 50 cars including an early Ford and Letter collection, wearable art, 200 petrol pumps and a conference centre.
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