The Brumos Collection Nov. 12, 2022
November 16, 2022
The collection is on display now in Jacksonville, Fla., and consists of more than three dozen notable vehicles.
Even the name of Brumos Porsche was shrouded in mystery. Brumos, the most famous Porsche dealer in U.S. history, was founded in 1959 in Jacksonville, Florida. They raced, they collected cars for a private – almost secret – museum located in an inauspicious warehouse, they sold cars. Thousands of them. Buyers would come from all over the world to take home a Porsche that has “Brumos” on the title.
Oh, about that name: The dealership was founded by Herbert Brundage, who acquired a Volkswagen franchise in 1953, soon relocating it to Jacksonville to be closer to the VW port of entry. Brundage did some racing, competing in the first Porsche to race outside Europe. That was in 1955. He received the Porsche distributorship for the Southeast, and lacking a name that wouldn’t conflict with his VW operation, Brundage Motors, he named his new operation Brumos, which he noticed was his company’s Telex address (BRUndage MOtorS). That would work, he thought, and began making a name for his new dealership. He drove the first Brumos Racing Porsche at Sebring in 1960, four years before he died in a highway crash.
For decades, until the dealership was sold and renamed in 2016, enthusiasts phoned or visited the dealership, insisting that they were friends with the owner, the nonexistent Mr. Brumos. It was a convenient way to identify the posers.
There were no posers, however, behind the scenes of Brumos Porsche. Elite, educated, handsome Peter Gregg took over the dealership, and he re-established Brumos Racing in 1971. He and driving partner Hurley Haywood started a rich racing tradition that lasted until 2013, with victories that included winning the Rolex 24 at Daytona four times. Gregg died in 1980, mysteriously committing suicide on the beach outside his home, and Brumos passed to the wife he had just married, Deborah. Dan Davis and Bob Snodgrass, now deceased, acquired the dealership in 1990 and sold it in 2015 to the Field Automotive chain. It is now known as Porsche Jacksonville.
After Davis sold out, he wanted to make his collection viewable by Brumos fans. The Brumos Collection is located in a new building that opened in early 2020: A 35,000-square-foot interactive museum dedicated to the technology, innovation and historical significance surrounding its collection. It will house more than three dozen race and collector cars. The building itself pays homage to Jacksonville’s place in automotive history: In 1924, 16 years after the first Ford Model T was produced, Henry Ford expanded production to a 165,000-square-foot plant in Jacksonville. The Brumos Collection’s purpose-built facility was styled directly after the original Ford plant.
So what can you see there? Here’s an example of why the collection was a mysterious one:
It wasn’t until the gala ribbon-cutting event last winter that even insiders realized the museum would contain the stunning 1970 Gulf-liveried Porsche 917K that actor Steve McQueen drove in the movie Le Mans. The car sold at the Gooding & Co. auction in 2017 at Pebble Beach, bolstered largely by McQueen’s iconic reputation as a performance car aficionado and racer. However, no one knew who bought the car, or where it was. Now we do. And you can see it and other rolling pieces of history at the Brumos Collection:
—1972 Porsche 917-10, a car first produced in 1971. This Can-Am Racer has a twin-turbo engine that could make 1,100 hp. Gregg raced the car to ninth in the 1972 Can-Am Championship, followed by Haywood’s third-place finish in the 1973 Can-Am Series season. The Brumos Porsche 917-10 was the first race car to carry what has now become the globally recognizable white, red and blue livery.
But to millions, it remains Brumos Porsche. Davis and Snodgrass began building on cars collected at Brumos, renting space they figured that would take years to fill. It took months. It was viewed only by invitation, and they were hard to come by. It was an eclectic mix – a Mark Martin NASCAR Ford might be parked next to a vintage transport truck used in the 1950s to haul Ferrari race cars.
With five overall victories at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, three at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and two at the 12 Hours of Sebring, Haywood is credited with the 1988 Trans-Am title, two IMSA GT Championship titles and 23 wins, three Norelco Cup championships, a SuperCar title and 18 IndyCar starts.
In fitting tribute to his four-decade partnership with Brumos, the Collection is highlighted by displays of Haywood’s most famous racecars, including his Porsche 917/10 Can-Am; the 1971 IMSA GT championship-winning 1971 Porsche 914/6 GT driven by Haywood and teammate Peter Gregg; the 1970 Porsche 911S that initiated Haywood’s relationship with Brumos; his 1978 Daytona-winning Porsche 911 RSR; 1979 Porsche 935; the 1991 Porsche 964 Turbo IMSA Supercar; and the 1986 Porsche 962 Haywood drove with partner A.J. Foyt. In addition, a trove of championship trophies and memorabilia tracing Haywood’s brilliant career is showcased at the Collection.