RVM Classics Motorcycle Collection
Words & Photos: John Gunnell
Pro Stock Motorcycle Finals Auto Club Raceway at Pomona
Every motorcycle collection has its own inspirations and its own character, but a common thread runs through the souls of real collectors—they accumulate bikes that have stories behind them. This fact probably explains why there are so many motorcycle magazines on the newsstand and so many bike websites on your computer. It’s because there are so many great stories to tell.
The best stories are not about the machines themselves, but rather about the people who build them, restore them, own them and ride them. Richard V. Munz is a collector of motorcycles that reflect the history of that industry as well as some personal history.
According to Munz, as a boy growing up in Madison, Wis., he was fascinated by anything that had a motor in it. When he was 14-years-old, Munz saved enough money to purchase a Cushman scooter. Today, he recalls, “The village Marshal gave me a special permit to use it for my paper route." While that Cushman is long gone, Munz has about 20 bikes in his RVM Classics collection in Madison. Most were made in England, although his 1942 Indian sidecar bike was made in Springfield, Mass. He also has a 1949 Indian Scout.
Munz’s three-story building is richly decorated with gas pumps, dealership signs, toys and models, motorcycle memorabilia and many photos. One large photo shows four teen-age boys posing on motorcycles. One of the teen-agers is Richard Munz astride a 1951 Triumph. He was 16 at the time the photo was taken and he still has that actual bike in his collection today. Like every one of the 20 two-wheelers, the ’51 Triumph has its own story to tell.