The passion for picking up rare collectibles can be sparked by a number of things. For some, it’s the thrill of the never-ending hunt for the next gem.There are others who simply revel in the idea that they can buy things that very few can afford. When talking to movie producer Stuart Parr about motorcycles, however, it only takes a moment to realize that his love for collecting vintage bikes is driven by something much deeper.
For the 51-year-old Parr, whose list of film credits includes box office hits 8 Mile and Southpaw, owning rare motorcycles is a passion he’s been cultivating since he was eight years old, living on the outskirts of Sacramento. “I just found myself completely engrossed visually with motorcycles,” Parr tells Playboy. “Growing up in California, I can remember being up at Lake Tahoe on the July 4 weekend, and literally thousands of Hells Angels, on their Harleys, would drive by. I was just fascinated.“
The producer, who co-manages Eminem’s film career as well, also vividly recalls how excited he’d get as a kid, watching a friend and his family ride their bikes in the neighborhood. "They had loads of motorcycles, and they would drive them on an empty field next to my house,” says Parr.
The bike collector’s first personal motorized two-wheeler was a mini bike he got when he was six years old. As early as age 10, he was cruising around his neighborhood on a Puch moped. “At the time they really didn’t have laws and it wasn’t really clear was legal or not legal,” says Parr, speaking of his moped adventures. “It was really exciting, but it also opened up your life because you could go five or 10 miles away.”
Parr vividly recalls one of his first times seeing a 1974 Ducati 750 SS Imola, in 1987, when he was 21 years old and working in New York City. “I was visiting Ghost Motorcycle in Port Washington. The bike was $8,000 or $9,000 and I was just ogling over it, but I couldn’t afford it. What I could afford, which I found in Hemmings Motor News, was a 1971 Triumph Bonneville 750,” notes the film producer. “It was a one-owner bike. It was $1,800 and it was gorgeous. It was the first vintage bike I actually owned.”
A renowned designer as well, Parr says his love for motorcycles spans a variety of makes and models, but it’s the vintage Italian bikes that he treasures most. “They are where racing meets the road,” notes the avid adventurer. “The Italian manufacturers would build bikes to race with, and a lot of them would offer street legal versions.”
The Hollywood exec also collects automobiles, but says he finds something uniquely special about a motorcycle, especially when it’s a rare Italian bike. “Automobiles are much more three-dimensional, given the fact that there’s a lot more body and a lot more changes that you can do. It’s less limited aesthetically, which also makes it so appealing when you have a motorcycle,” says Parr. “It’s so beautiful because the choices aren’t as many as you have on a car.”
Parr’s passion for motorcycles now includes a collection of roughly 90 bikes readily on-hand in New York, and another 80 plus Italian motorcycles that are part of the Laverda Museum, a private storehouse he owns in the Netherlands, dedicated to preserving the 145-plus year history of Laverda bikes.
One of the most recent additions to Parr’s rare collection of two-wheelers includes an early 1949 MV Agusta scooter that’s been completely preserved. “It’s a design masterpiece that must be preserved, and you never see them, ever,” says the motorcycle maven.
On February 16, Parr’s passion for vintage motorcycles will take center stage in Miami’s popular Design District, in a follow-up exhibition to his critically acclaimed 2015 [Art of the Italian Two Wheel](http://stuartparrcollection.com/theshow) show, which drew more than 50,000 visitors in New York. The new Miami installation, bearing the same name, will include more than 30 motorcycles from the producer’s private collection, including a 1971 MV Agusta 750 sport Frame, a 1974 MV Agusta 750 Magni and a 1971 Laverda 750SFC, as well as a special bike designed by Parr in collaboration with Magni Motorcycles.
The custom MV Agusta design, featured in the exhibit, evolved out of a friendship Parr developed with MV Agusta President Giovanni Castiglioni, following the collector’s highly successful New York showing. “As a gift, he sent me two MV Agusta Brutales. We discussed, I would redesign one,” explains Parr. “Basically, I threw out everything except the engine. Pirelli is reissuing the Phantom tire, which came on a lot of these bikes during the 70s. And they are going to launch the tire with the bike as a limited-edition Stuart Parr design.”
It’s all a far cry from the days when Parr was first struck by that sense of freedom, wheeling a moped through his California neighborhood. But the producer is quick to note that his passion for motorcycles is still very much grounded in the thrill that comes with driving a bike on the open road. “You get on a bike like my MV Agusta Magni, it’s incredible—the wind blowing, the sound, the feeling, the way they run through the gears,” says Parr. “I really enjoy that.”