2018 Grand Marshal
October 5, 6, & 7, 2018
Announcing Colin Seeley as Grand Marshal of the 14th Annual Barber Vintage Festival!
The Barber Museum is honored and proud to present motorsports legend Colin Seeley as this year’s Barber Vintage Festival Grand Marshal.
When you think of Colin Seeley of Sidcup, Kent, United Kingdom, what first comes to mind is likely the Seeley-framed racing motorcycles he’s famous for designing. But when you consider Seeley’s track record comprehensively, you’ll find it’s brimming with special accomplishments and contributions to motorsports. In fact, there’s very little in the arena of motorsports that Seeley hasn’t touched! Over the past 60 years, he’s made his mark as a motorcycle dealer, motorcycle racer, chassis designer, race team manager, and philanthropist.
In 1954, at the age of 18, Seeley began racing on a solo, competing in grass track and scrambles. In 1956, he established a retail shop selling motorcycles, bicycles, and related items. In 1960, Seeley, a motorcycle racer and entrepreneur, branched into sidecar racing. As a sidecar racer, he competed at the world championship level using his own design of machines, achieving first place in the 1964 Dutch TT and second place in the Isle of Man TT.
During the mid-late 1960s, Seeley focused his attention on the design and fabrication of motorcycle chassis. After the British-based Associated Motor Cycles (AMC) factory closed in 1966, he continued making the AJS 7R and the Matchless G50 race bikes. He built racing chassis for many privateers, including John Cooper, Paul Smart, and Giacomo Agostini. He was also awarded contracts with Honda to produce limited-production sporting road bikes, trials bikes, and varied product lines.
Seeley’s experience as a motorcycle and sidecar racer, bike dealer, and frame designer led to his managing car and motorcycle racing teams beginning in the 1970s. He jointly managed the Brabham Formula One Team with F-1 legend Bernie Ecclestone. In the 1980s, he managed the Norton Rotary Race Team. During 1990s, Seeley produced the Roton rotary engine race bike and helped the (by then, renamed) Crighton Norton team secure 52 podiums in 1994.
Considered one of the best motorcycle frame designers of the 1960s-80s, Seeley’s designs were the top pick among the winningest motorcycle racers. Moving past the 1980s on into today, Seeley-framed racing motorcycles continue to weigh in as one of the most chosen makes in vintage racing.
Along with more than a lifetime’s worth of contributions to motorsports, Seeley has served as a major philanthropist for more than 38 years. Since December 1979, by way of the Joan Seeley Pain Relief Memorial Trust, he has raised funds for hospitals and hospices that provide pain relief and medical equipment for adults and children.