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.
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.
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 for $14,080,000, bolstered largely by McQueen’s iconic reputation as a performance car aficionado and racer, and setting a record for a Porsche sale. But 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.
—1914 Peugeot L45: Between 1912 and 1914, Peugeot made some race cars with the dual overhead camshaft racing engines, the ancestors of high-performance engines to follow. In the early 20th century, Peugeot racers ruled the scene with some of the sport’s greatest drivers: Jules Goux, the first foreign driver to win the Indy 500; Georges Boillot, first winner of the French Grand Prix; and Italian driving ace Paolo Zuccarelli. Of those early Peugeots, this is one of only two that remains.
—1979 Porsche 935: Gregg won six IMSA Camel GT championships and scored 41 victories in the 1970s. In 1979, he competed in his final, and perhaps finest, season as he earned a record-setting eight wins and eight straight pole positions. The No. 59 Brumos Porsche 935 was Gregg’s last race car and is now believed to be the last remaining unmodified 935 still in existence.
—1923 Miller 122 Grand Prix: Miller was the first American race car bought solely to race in Europe. This 1923 Miller 122 Grand Prix was driven by Bugatti racer Count Louis Zborowski, who raced it in England, Spain and France. Returned to the United State 89 years later, this is considered one of the most complete surviving Millers.
—1968 Porsche 908: This is also a new addition to the Brumos Collection. In the second track appearance ever for Porsche’s then-new 908, drivers Jo Siffert—who was the owner of the 917-024 until his death in a Formula 1 car at Brands Hatch in 1971—and Vic Elford tackled the notorious Nürburgring. Starting 27th, Siffert took the 908 to second at the end of the first lap and into the overall lead after the second lap, setting a lap record.