1. Unlike most museums, Bassella Motorcycle Museum was born out of a man’s life-long passion for motorcycles and custom restoration, and that man was Mario Soler. How did he become one of the main and most prestigious collectors of the country?
Mario Soler had always been passionate about motorcycles. Once retired, around the 60s, he started restoring them – which wasn’t very common at that time. With the help of his two sons - Estanis and Toni Soler, who traveled around the world – he started collecting different motorcycle models from many brands and, after long working days, they looked just like new, respectful of their original traits. Over time, what was first his passion became bigger than that, and by 1991, when he died, he had a collection of more than 200 restored motorcycles.
2. Is there any particular model that held some special meaning to him?
Each and every one of them had its particular story and none was above the other in terms of affection. In fact, every time he was asked this question, he simply said: “That’s like asking a parent who’s their favorite child. I love them all equally”.
3. Regarding the museum’s location, how is the town related to the motorcycle movement? Are your visitors both locals and foreigners?
Bassella holds a long tradition around motorcycles, especially regarding enduro and motocross. Almost since these sports came out, many races like Catalonia, Spain and World Championship. Currently there’s the Bassella Race, the biggest enduro race in South Europe, with almost 1500 racers participating.
Regarding our visitors, they’re mainly Catalan and Spanish but the number of foreigners who, for instance, are visiting the area on their bikes, is definitely growing.
4. What future visitors can expect to find at Bassella Motorcycle Museum?
We tell the story of the motorcycle from its origins (our oldest model dates back to 1902) to the 90s, with a selection of both national and international brands. There’s also a part dedicated exclusively to competition motorcycles, with one-of-a-kind prototypes that can only be seen at Moto Bassella.
5. Are there temporary exhibitions in addition to your permanent collection?
Actually we’re curating a temporary exhibition, which is coming in December, in partnership with Montesa-Honda, celebrating the Montesa Cota’s 50th birthday. There will be 50 different models of this iconic motorcycle, showcasing its evolution from the begging to the current times.
6. If not mistaken, you’re third generation Soler. How do you manage to keep Moto Bassella as one of Europe’s most important motorcycle museums while being true to the founder’s values?
Our slogan is “Passió per les motos (passion for motorcycles)”, a feeling that runs in the family and keeps the project alive to this day, with just as much joy as Mario Soler in the early days of Moto Bassella. Actually, there’s a fourth generation showing promise, as the little Mario in the family has a motorcycle awaiting him in the garage…
5 quick questions
A classic motorcycle: Bultaco Metralla MK2, an icon of its time that runs just as well as the early days.
A current one: KTM Duke, as it is truly fascinating how a brand like KTM (very enduro-focused) has been able to launch such a great streetbike.
A motorcycle icon: Agostini (Giacomo Agostini). He made history on and off the track. He was incredible in all aspects.
The perfect spot to locate your Halley Helmet Stand: I would place it at the entrance hall, welcoming you home.