Visiting the Brumos Collection Near Amelia Island Is a Must for Concours Attendees
This museum contains the most expensive Porsche ever sold at auction: a 917K model Steve McQueen drove in the movie Le Mans.
About 45 minutes away from the site of the elegant Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, the Brumos Collection comprises 16,000 square feet of display space and a full workshop with a dyno. Fifty vintage specimens from early and modern racing have been carefully curated and placed with reverence inside of the purpose-built facility, where you can happily immerse yourself in automotive history when you visit. Like thoroughbred racehorses, these vehicles are not gathering dust; they're exercised and maintained regularly.
The collection was once part of a semi-secret backlot museum, of sorts, behind the Brundage Motors (“Brumos” for short) Porsche dealership. Herbert Brundage had a hardware store in the 1950s and started parking Volkswagen vehicles out front to sell them. That became Brundage motors, where a sales team moved both Volkswagen and Porsche models.
This post is part of our ongoing museum series, which was created to bring the stories from museums around the world to The Drive readers. Check out our previous posts in the series about a restored 1921 Duesenberg Model A, a drag-racing 1937 Willys, and James Hetfield's Art Deco hot rod.
As fate would have it, Brundage perished in a car crash, and his friend Peter Gregg acquired the business. Gregg, former U.S. Navy intelligence officer, expanded his reach by launching a racing team from the dealership. He chose to emblazon the racecars with a large 59, named after the hull number of the U.S.S. Forrestal, which was docked in Jacksonville until it was scrapped in 2015.
Gregg formed a friendship with then-autocrosser Hurley Haywood in 1967, and the pair began racing and winning a string of events in what became signature blue-and-red livery. Brumos Porsche sponsored their endeavors, providing Porsche GTs and monetary support. Together, Gregg and Haywood were crowned 24 Hours of Daytona champions four times; in total, Gregg reportedly won 152 out of 340 races he started, resulting in a very respectable average.
In 2013, the racing team was shut down and the Brumos dealerships were sold in 2016. Owner Dan Davis had no intention of letting the Brumos name die, and he launched a search for a building to house the collection and make it available to the public.
“We have tried to make everything accessible so visitors can connect with the cars,” Brumos Collection Executive Director Brandon Starks told me in a recent interview. “We’ve created an approachable atmosphere; the building is beautiful and we don’t have ropes around the cars, which guests love.”
The cars are spaced out so visitors can take photos, and a digital kiosk sits next to each vehicle, offerings photos and information; the text was written by none other than Automobile magazine founder and icon Jean Jennings.
Modeled after an abandoned Ford Model T factory in Jacksonville, Davis commissioned a building commensurate with the Brumos brand’s legendary status. Soaring windows are framed by brick walls that represent the Brickyard and the walkway suggests the old board-tracks used in the early days of racing.
“When you walk into the building, it’s like attending an event,” Starks says. “It really is a beautiful place, and seeing it on video doesn’t do it justice. The idea behind it was if someone gets pulled along on the visit who doesn’t like cars, they could still enjoy it.”
Also on display are a 1915 Peugeot L45, a 1,000-horsepower 1972 Porsche 917-10 Can Am racecar, a 1959 Porsche Tractor Super, a 1923 Miller 122 Grand Prix, and many more. But the crown jewel is certainly the orange and blue 1970 Porsche 917K, which was one of the cars Steve McQueen drove in the movie Le Mans. The 917K sat in a barn for more than 20 years and was fully restored, then sold for $14 million in 2017, making it the most expensive Porsche ever sold at auction. Now the Porsche is on display with the Brumos Collection, taking its rightful place next to other legendary cars from the racing world.
If you want to know more about the Brumos Collection or Brumos Racing, check out their "Inside the 59" series on YouTube, featuring special guests like Hurley Haywood and Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance founder Bill Warner. The museum also recently published a 1,500-page book set with over 2,000 images, many never seen before this launch (pssst: that's what I want for my birthday this year). The next time you'll be at Amelia or near Jacksonville, swing by and take a look.
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