Bruce Meyer
Bruce Meyer in his museum at his home in Beverly Hills. (photo: Bruce Meyer Collection)

Bruce Meyer Collection – Profile and Photos

Bruce Meyer Collection – Profile and Photos Page Two

But that’s not the only Ferrari in the Meyer stable. Another outstanding car is a 1961 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Competizione. It has at least as, if not a more, illustrious racing history than the Von Neumann car. The ’61 Ferrari was dubbed the “SEFAC Hot Rod” by famed motorsports reporter Henry Manney III. (“SEFAC” is an Italian legal acronym for the partnership that then owned the Ferrari company). According to Ferrari lore, there were between 19 and 21 of the model that were so-called “hot rods.” Why “hot rods?” Because each car had the modifications Enzo thought appropriate for the intended competition. They were designated “Competizione.” (In earlier days, racing rules allowed constructors relatively free rein to make whatever modifications they thought would produce a winner on sports-racing cars).

Bruce’s car was purchased new from the factory by race-driver Pierre Noblet, on June 3, 1961. Noblet entered Le Mans that year and selected Jean Gutchet as his co-driver. Seven ’61 Competizione SWBs were entered, but only five started the race. Noblet’s plan was not to overstress the car in order to insure finishing. They took third overall and first in the GT category. Noblet continued to campaign the car that year finishing first at Monza and eighth at Monthlhery. In 1962, he won the Coupes de Bruxelles, was second at Spa, seventh overall and second in class at the Nurburgring and sixth in the Trophess d’Auvergne. After that, Noblet retired and sold it.

961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB SEFAC Hot Rod
Bruce Meyer in the 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB SEFAC Hot Rod on the 2010 Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance (photo: Tim Scott)

Until 1975 when it was acquired by John Upton, the 250 SWB went through many different owners (all documented by Meyer). Upton had the car restored and entered its original owner-driver, Pierre Noblet, in the 1984 Monterey Historics. Afterward he entered some Concours and drove it himself at Monterey in 1987. Next Upton sold it to Bob Baker, who vintage raced it; then it went to Kerry Nanolas, Lord Michael Cowdray and finally Greg Whitten, from whom Bruce bought it in 1993.

Of course, Meyer has a Corvette, but not just any ‘Vette. It’s one of the 1960 models entered at Le Mans by Briggs Cunningham. They were assigned numbers 1, 2 and 3. Number 1 was driven by Briggs himself and Bill Kimberley, with Dr. Dick Thompson and Fred Windridge in number 2 while John Fitch and Bob Grossman drove number 3. Regarded as too heavy, Corvettes that year were not thought to be a serious threat. Fitch, a wonderfully talented driver, pushed his car as high as third overall during a rainstorm. Kimberley ran off the road during the storm and crashed. Luckily he was not injured. Then Dr. Thompson damaged his car when he ran into a bank, leaving the Fitch/Grossman car the only Cunningham Corvette running. They finished eighth overall, the best any American car would do until Shelby’s Cobras came along. (More on the #2 Corvette)

Le Mans 1960 Chevrolet Corvette
Meyer with the Le Mans 1960 Chevrolet Corvette (photo: Bruce Meyer Collection)

Bruce has hot rods too. As a matter of fact in 1997, he persuaded the powers that be at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance to include rods. On that occasion, he won the Historic Hot Rods Class with his 1932 Doane Spencer Roadster. The car started life as a stock 1932 Ford Roadster. In 1941, Jack Dorn bought it, painted it black and installed a stock 1937 flathead Ford engine. Dorn sold it to his Hollywood High School classmate, Doanne Spencer, in 1944 for $500. Spencer removed the fenders and put in a modified 1946 flathead Mercury. He won the Best Appearing Roadster award at the Pasadena Roadster Club’s Reliability Run in 1947. Then he clocked 112.35 mph at El Mirage that year and in 1949 he did 126.76, after which he sold it to Lynn Wineland who installed a Thunderbird V8. Neal East bought it in 1968, who sold it to Bruce Meyer in 1995. Bruce had Pete Chapouris restore it to its original hot rod configuration.

1932 Ford Doane Spencer Roadster
1932 Ford Doane Spencer Roadster won first place in the Historic Hot Rods Class at the 1997 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. (photo: Bruce Meyer Collection)

Another hot rod Bruce is proud of is his 1934 Pierson Brothers Ford Coupe. Built by Dick and Bob Pierson in 1949, the body was chopped to the max and the windshield raked back 50 degrees. The engine—a 267 cid flathead Ford V8—was built by Edlebrock employee Bobby Meeks. In its first time out, the brothers turned 142.98mph at the El Mirage dry lakes. They sold it in 1953 to Tom Cobb who did 198.86 at Bonneville. In 1956, Tom Bryant went 227.33 after installing a Chevy V-8 engine. Meyer acquired it from Bryant in 1991 and had it restored to original at the So-Cal Speed Shop.

Pierson Brothers Ford Coupe
Bruce Meyer’s son, Evan, is with the Pierson Brothers Ford Coupe at Bonneville (photo: Bruce Meyer Collection)

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  1. What is really great, is Bruce driving it down to Cars and Coffee in the Valley and just parking it with a sign telling about the car and then just walking away. Just mixed in with the other cars

  2. One thing about Bruce , you will have a hard time catching him without a smile on his face

  3. In 1999, Bruce had his ’32 Roadster on display at the Louis Vuitton Classic in Rockefeller Center, New York City. As I was photographing, he came over and we discussed Hot Rods in general and his “Deuce” roadster.
    His pleasant demeanor made it seem as if we had been friends for years.

  4. I met Bruce Myer when my son was doing some construction work on Rodeo Dr. In Beverly Hills.

    My son called and asked if I had heard of a car guy named Bruce Myer. I replied, YES, will he let me in his garage ?

    That Saturday, there I was at his house. The house keeper told me Mr. Myer was busy but to go ahead back to his garage. REALLY !

    I can’t even begin to describe the classic cars there. There was one of three Corvettes to win at the 24 hours of LeMans. Behind that, a 32 Ford Coupe with an Ardun Flatly. Behind that three rare, very collectible motorcycles. Then there was Clark Gable’s MBZ and it only got better from there.

    Bruce came out and is truly one if the nicest guys I’ve ever met. I was almost drooling on a 427 Cobra. He had to step out for s minute and said to sit in any I wanted to. I said, Really? He said, Sure, I drive them all.

    When he came back I was looking at a pedal car replica of the 1952 Indy 500 winner and noticed a Drivers suit with the Indy winners name, Rutman on it. I said, I bet you wish you had the real car. Bruce said, You want to see it ?

    He gave me a pass to the Peterson Museum. There it was and also The Bruce Myer Wing with MORE cars !

    Later on one day, he called and invited me to the Museum for the Franklin Mint release of the 52 Indy winner.

    I bought two of them. The Agaganian Brothers, son’s of the original owner, were there.

    They posed for photos with Bruce in front of the original car.

    After the pictures, although nobody else did, I unboxed mine and asked the briothers to please autograph them. Then I asked Bruce, he actually replied, You want my autograph ? I say, HELL YES.

    He later sent me a model collection of some of his cars.

    Just a really nice man, totally unpretentious and a real force in the collector car world.