The Isle of Man Motor Museum – Review

First open to the public just in time for the 2015 TT races the Isle of Man Motor Museum has quickly grown to become perhaps the premier motoring museum on the island. The extensive and varied collection is housed in a custom built, modern and spacious facility.

Impressive and Expansive Collection

As you might expect the museum boasts an impressive motorcycle collection. They span the decades and genres with road, racing and off-road machines all well represented. Many are housed on a mezzanine level above the main display floor. That has its focus all things four (or some cases more!), wheeled. The automotive display is really superb and contains some proper rarities: Rotary engine Citroens, a range of American funeral ‘Flower Cars’, record braking bikes, trucks, all sorts, even aero engines and an Abbot Self Propelled Gun!

Way more on display than just bikes. These rotary engine Citroen cars are just the tip of the ice-berg

At the time of my visit in the summer of 2022 entry fee was £16. I consider this to be good value when you consider the range and quality of the exhibits

The Suzuki Hayabusa/Yamaha Thundercat hybrid record bike…

The Brazilian take on a Superbike. Amazonas/Kahema 1600, complete with a flat four engine taken from a VW Beetle. Capable of 130 mph apparently. Not with me on it…!

There is a particularly interesting display based around the amazing privately owned British/IoM/USA  funded manned Space program Excalibur Almaz. The project dates back to about 10 years ago. I’ve never heard of it. I didn’t even know anything about it.

New one on me…

Back to the Bikes

But the focus of this review is the motorcycles and believe you me, you not going to be disappointed. In fact I rather suspect that you will be a tad mind blown. The display is in two main areas:

The first is an impressive mezzanine level which contains a huge array historic race bikes, off road bikes, classic British bikes and more modern classics. All are beautifully presented. As you can see in this series of pictures:

Triple delight

Yamaha XS500, Four valve per cylinder 500cc twin. Sold nothing like as well as hot-cakes.

The Iconic Suzuki GSXR750

No idea…

Neat Ossa

Suzuki RG250 Gamma. Tried to take on the Yamaha RD range.

Kawasaki GPz750. Underrated. I knew several lads who enjoyed running these back in the day.


Beautiful Norton. Good see this famous brand in good hands now

The Suzuki RE5 with a Rotary engine

Triplet of Twins!

A Wall of Bikes!

The second area is an amazing floor to ceiling rack that runs virtually the entire length of one side of the building. This holds another stunning selection of notable road and racing bikes that span the decades. On a personal level I was delighted to see a Yamaha FZ750, a bike I ran myself for nine highly enjoyable years.

Good see the Yamaha FZ750 get a slot. 5 valves per cylinder. A fantastic bike I really enjoyed owning 

Lost in Space!

The museum staff were also very friendly and one of the tour guides talked us through the exhibition dedicated to the UK’s manned space programme of the early 1970’s. No I didn’t know the UK had a manned space programme either! Apparently the UK remains the only country to have shut down such a venture! Fancy going through all that expense and pain only to can it all. Somehow typically British… TSR2, Concorde and countless other wasted opportunities spring to mind.

Amazing to stumble across such an interesting and historic display on the island. The same gentleman also showed us around the workshops and he was articulate and engaging in his explanations of the vehicles being worked on such as Routemaster bus had had been converted to a camper!

The owner  of the museum also spoke to me at length as he was from Northern Ireland like my Dad and also had a background in civil engineering.

So the museum is about so much more than just bikes. Well, well worth a visit if you are on the island. A must see venue.

Words and Pictures: Tony Donnelly

Check out the museums website here for details of opening times etc

Also worth a visit while you are there…