If you follow professional sports car and endurance racing, you know the name Brumos, and its now iconic red, white, blue, and black race car livery.
Many of you will make the connection between Brumos and considerable success in Porsches and Porsche-powered race cars. You’d be correct, but also somewhat presumptive to estimate that the new from the ground up Brumos Collection is populated by only Porsches. Yes, there are many Stuttgart greats there, but Brumos’ history extends well beyond its Porsche racing exploits.
Is there an actual Mr. Brumos? Yes, and no. Brumos roots go back to 1953 and a man named Hubert Brundage. He started Brundage Motors in Florida as an import business to help fund his amateur racing habit (communicating at the time via Telex machine, Brundage would abbreviate Brundage Motors as Brumos and the name stuck).
He initially imported Volkswagens and then Porsches and became a Porsche dealer. Along the early days of the Brumos trail, Mr. Brundage entered and ran cars for legendary sports car racer Bob Holbert and motorsport and business legend Roger Penske.
The company evolved to include a few dealerships and a Brumos racing team. After Brundage died in 1964, racecar driver Peter Gregg purchased the company from the Brundage family and started making a name for Brumos in the racing world. Its fame grew further when Gregg teamed up with soon-to-be racing legend Hurley Haywood.
The duo went on to win major races in the 1970s, including 24 Hours of Daytona four times, behind the wheel of Porsches with Brumos liveries.
The racing team continued to log victories for the next few decades under various owners, including car collector Dan Davis, until the 2010s when the racing program was shuttered and the dealerships sold. But the Brumos legend and its racing collection live on.
For some time, Davis’ decidedly private Brumos collection was housed in a nondescript warehouse in Jacksonville, Florida, near the Brumos seven car dealerships for Porsche, of course, Lexus, and Mercedes-Benz, and others.
For many years, this collection was private and viewed by invitation only. But when we sold the dealerships, we had to relocate, which created its own dilemma of, ‘Where do we put all these cars?’ So, in the process of conceiving and constructing a new collection property, the decision was made that we wanted to open it up to the public and make it accessible. And, for us, it’s important that we recognize the people that created these cars and the achievements that they made.
Collection Manager / Curator Brandon Starks
To call the new (initially opening in early 2020, unfortunately just in time to be shut down due to Covid) Brumos Collection property simply “a building” would be a gross understatement. It is in fact a campus, designed and built from scratch on a green field site.
The part that is the building is a sprawling 35,000 square foot two-story structure that was loosely styled after a Jacksonville, Florida assembly plant.
The spaces are large and offer lots of natural light and airy exhibit areas. The upper floor is built mezzanine style, with grand views of the lower floor areas. This structure also contains a large, and hospital-level immaculate workshop and vehicle storage wing.
The rest of the campus property includes sprawling lawns, its own lake (plus a Union 76 pump station), and a road that circumnavigates the multi-acre property, which was undeveloped forest but a few years back.
This little more than single lane wide road isn’t a race track, although it would certainly be fun in a shifter kart. Instead, it’s the Collection’s vehicle exercise circuit. Unless a vehicle is undergoing restoration or down for other repairs, the Collection’s cars are kept in running order and are driven laps around the circuit by the collection staff to keep them charged up, fresh, and on the button.
Porsches? Oh yes, lots and lots of them. From a Porsche Junior tractor to street models to and including most of Brumos’ major race-winning cars.
But it goes so far beyond that. The earliest of the Collection’s vehicles date to the dawn of motoring in the late 1800s, through many early 1900s era racing cars, to Porsche’s uber-modern hybrid 918 Spyder.
As you might guess, so many of the Collection vehicles find their history in motorsport, but also in advanced technology.
Mr. Davis is a big fan and major collector of Miller racing cars, plus a considerable smattering of board trackers, front-engined Indy roadsters, and representation of early Grand Prix racing.
The exhibits are very interactive with informative and well-illustrated touch-screens for each vehicle. Plus substantial archival wall art all about the building, and display cases full of company and team artifacts.
When guests come to visit, we try to engage them and make all of these things relevant, so that the history lives on. Especially with car racing, a pursuit that people risked their lives for, so we think it’s important to honor them and tell their stories.
The museum craft is exemplary on world-class levels, and substantively honors the vehicles, the people involved, relevant automotive history, and the magnificent structure. If you ever find yourself heading to or near Jacksonville, Florida, the Brumos Collection is a must-see, don’t miss Bucket-Lister.
Brumos has just published an uber comprehensive three-volume hardbound book chronicling its considerable history, authored by Sean Cridland, who not so co-incidentally assembled Hurley Haywood’s life and career biography. Cridland was afforded nearly unfettered access to team and family archives, so there are lots of handwritten notes, documents, and letters.
Tickets purchase, location, directions, and all relevant information are found on the well-done website.
The Brumos Collection
5159 San Pablo Road South Jacksonville, FL 32224
Photos by the author and courtesy The Brumos Collection