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Our Visit to Dave Mungenast Classic Motorcycles Museum

Before both feet were in the door, I knew we were in for a treat at the Dave Mungenast Classic Motorcycles Museum in St. Louis. We had less than 2 hours till closing time, which isn’t enough to take in the incredibly unique collection of over 200 motorcycles and tons of memorabilia packed into the old building’s 6,000 square feet. Man, why haven’t we been here sooner?

A man named Dave Burst was there to greet us. “Make yourself at home,” he said. It felt like we were stepping into an old garage or shop. Dave was the antithesis of a white-gloved curator. We liked that. The museum was once a car dealership as far back as the 20s with Terrazzo floors up front and slick-troweled concrete in the back. It’s not fancy, in a good way. If you were to kneel down on the floor, your pants might get a little dirty. There were pans of kitty litter catching oil under several bikes and, though some are pristine, many of the classics looked like you could hop on, kick ’em over and ride away. The old signs, posters, advertising and photos on the wall made the overall atmosphere more appealing and inviting. It seemed the bikes were awaiting their next ride rather than being held prisoner behind velvet ropes.

Motorcycle buffs and racing fans should look into the history of Dave Mungenast (mung-guh-nast). He was a hardworking motorcycle mechanic that immersed himself into the St. Louis bike and hot rod scene as early as the 50s and 60s. There are old photographs everywhere you look, showing Dave’s deep-rooted involvement in motorcycle sales and racing.

In the early 50s, “every time I’d go fast on the street, I’d get myself in trouble. I would get tickets or the police would chase me, so I thought maybe I could go fast in the dirt and no one would chase me.” –Dave Mungenast, Sr.

Though the museum’s patriarch has passed on, Dave Burst and Dave Larsen open the doors three days a week to let folks wander the rows of noteworthy bikes and well-preserved paraphernalia. Word is, they’re expanding the museum and planning on filling up a neighboring building with more bikes and cool old cars. We will be back, much earlier this time, so we can absorb even more of the motorcycle nostalgia born from the legacy of Mr. Mungenast.

Now, look through these pics and read the captions, but go see ’em in person and shake the hands of the guys who are keeping this collection open to the public. Take your kids with you (ahem, if they’re well-behaved) or take your father with you while you still can. Send this article to your friends; we should all experience these kinds of gems whenever possible.

This 1913 Excelsior 1000cc V Twin once belonged to Steve McQueen. Co-founder of Schwinn Bicycle Co, Ignaz Schwinn, owned Excelsior Co. from 1911-1931.

Mungenast Museum has not one, but two incredibly restored Indian Board Track Racers from 1912.

South St. Louis once had a wooden “bowl” track (motordrome) at Priester’s Park located at Grand and Meramec Streets.
A 1929 Henderson Streamline KJ. Henderson was a popular choice for U.S. Police Departments.
This Moto Guzzi boasted a 500cc engine and a “comfortable weatherproof pillion seat.”
A local doctor, Doc Bishop, made house calls on this 1958 BSA Gold Star. Dave Mungenast actually did some work on it way back when.
The XLV750R was Honda’s first dual-sport bike with two cylinders. It was manufactured from 1983 to 1986.
We find joy in knowing this 1957 Ariel Square Four 1000cc, though skinned up, was well-used as intended.
A 1982 Cagiva WRX 125 with an ISDT set-up.

Dave liked to mix it up and race bikes like this automatic Sachs-powered Rokon.

I’m telling ya, there’s some cool stuff on the walls at the Mungenast Museum.

What’s it feel like to ride an 800cc motorcycle on water? You’d have to ride this 1990 Wet Bike with Suzuki powerplant.
A 1974 OSSA 250 Phantom with 33HP weighin in at 198 lbs, restored by Ray Mungenast.

A Czechoslovakian ESO 500cc Scrambler
This 1957 Triumph TR6 drag bike has a best time of 9.77 at 141mph.
Triumph 1957 500cc Sidevalve Twin.

The line-up of non big-four dirtbikes is plentiful at the museum, like Husqvarna, OSSA, Penton, Cagiva, Hodaka, Rokon, and more.

Well, does that make you wanna stop in to the Dave Mungenast Classic Motorcycles Museum in St. Louis? We thought so. Did we mention it was FREE admission? Here are the deets:
5625 Gravois Rd., St. Louis, MO 63116 | ph: 314-481-1291

Tuesday’s and Thursday’s 10:00am to 4:00pm
Saturday’s 10:00am to 2:00pm

This Post Has 7 Comments
  1. Fantastic photo’s, wished I had of known about this place before my last visit to the states, sorry I missed it!
    Just have to get back to America real soon to check out those great looking bikes!

  2. An emotional trip into the past. Huge collection of the finest motor machines ever built, both foreign and domestic. If you are a buff of vintage motorcycles, motor scooters and motorbikes, don’t miss this golden experience to visit. Curator Dave Larsen is both knowledgeable and patient. Be sure to bring your camera.

  3. I visit once a year before the St. Louis Supercross. It is probably my favorite part of the trip. It’s a blast from the past and everyone there is very friendly and ready to remanice with you on their memories from days gone by. I can’t thank the guys enough for keeping the history of racing alive. You can tell they love it just as much as I do.
    Thanks guys!!!!

  4. I remember buying my first bike from Dave in 1968 and another to follow a year later or so.
    Went to school with Dave Larson, and found this site….Many good memories ,

    The good old days !!

    Will always remember Dave M. as a true gentlemen. Loved to give Dave Larson trouble…haha

  5. Hi will be in St. Louis the weekend of the the monster energy SX, looking forward to going to the museum, and seeing all of it’s history , but I noticed it’s not open on Friday’s & Sunday’s , is that correct or do times change ?

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