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New John Britten Exhibit, Largest In The World, Opens In New Zealand

Are you in New Zealand or planning a trip there anytime soon? If you’re interested in motorcycle history, then you’ll want to pay a visit to the Classic Motorcycle Mecca in Invercargill, NZ. On February 6, 2023, it formally announced the expansion of its John Britten exhibit—which it now says is the largest single exhibition of the legendary Kiwi engineer’s bikes in the world. 

I’ve been lucky enough to see a single Britten V1100 in person, but the collection now on display at the Classic Motorcycle Mecca has four entire Britten machines, as well as two other key pieces of Britten’s development as an inimitable engineer. CMM is showing the very first (of ten ever built) V1100 Cardinal, as well as the Precursor, the V1000 Aero-D-Zero, and the V1000 Aero-D-One. For additional context, it’s also showcasing Britten’s modified 1948 Triumph Tiger, as well as the relatively tiny single-cylinder engine project that was completed a mere two weeks after the man’s death. 

The timing was deliberately chosen in advance of the 2023 edition of the Burt Munro Challenge, which kicks off on February 8 and runs through February 12. To honor another important legend of New Zealand (and international) motorcycle fame, the BMC consists of a series of racing events, including a hill climb, twilight drag racing, sprint races, street races, a rally, and more. The BMC has been held since 2006, and brings a crowd of motorbike enthusiasts from New Zealand and beyond—so the Classic Motorcycle Mecca thought it was the perfect time to unveil its improved Britten exhibit. 

“Britten bikes can only be seen in four museums around the world – ours included – but we are exceptionally proud to lead the pack, with the Aero-D-Zero bringing our John Britten collection up to a whopping four bikes. We feel privileged to have been asked to display this bike in our collection by its owner, and we know our guests will absolutely love it,” Transport World executive director Joc O’Donnell said in a statement. (TW is affiliated with and responsible for CMM.) 

“Our team has worked incredibly hard to create a new-look display to showcase one of New Zealand’s all-time greats in the motorcycling world. John Britten was a creative genius and a backyard visionary, and his legacy is one we’re very excited to share with everybody heading to Invercargill for the Burt Munro Challenge 2023,” she added. 

The Aero-D-Zero, on loan from the Britten family, is one of the first bikes that brought international attention to who Britten was and what he was building in his back yard. Britten and his friend Mike Brosnan worked together to build two race bikes in the mid-1980s, with one bike meant for each of them. The Aero-D-Zero, which was completed first, was Brosnan’s bike. The Aero-D-One, which was Britten’s bike, came shortly afterward.  

The Aero-D-Zero is powered by an 860cc bevel-drive engine with Imola cams, big valves, and Lectron flat slide carburetors. Features include a steel trellis frame design, Ceriani front fork, aluminum swingarm, Koni rear shock, Campagnolo magnesium wheels, Brembo master cylinders, AP Lockheed front brake calipers, a Fontana rear caliper, and bodywork entirely designed by John Britten.  
If you’re interested in visiting the Classic Motorcycle Mecca, it’s open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week. You can purchase tickets online directly from CMM via the link in our Sources. 

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