Over the weekend, I visited The Brumos Collection in Jacksonville, FL. It’s a museum that houses a collection of historic cars, including road cars and race cars (including, but not just cars raced by the Brumos team). The museum is built to resemble the Jacksonville Ford Model-T and Model-A factory that operated from 1924 to 1932 (and as a parts distribution center until 1968). From what one of the volunteers told me, the collection consists of around sixty cars and those on display will be rotated periodically, so what you see on one visit may be different the next time you visit. The collection is divided into two sections inside the museum: on one side are the forerunners, which include early open-cockpit race cars, early innovative cars, and road cars, and on the other side are the front runners, Porsche race cars from 1953 to the present. Throughout both sides are a collection of memorabilia and other historic items. The building also houses a shop that is used to maintain the collection; they like to stress that they are a collection, not a museum because all of the cars run.
During my visit, the Forerunners side of the Collection featured cars ranging from a 1910 Lion-Peugeot V2Y2 to a 1963 Watson Indianapolis Roadster, including a rare Peugeot and several Miller race cars. It also featured a 1923 Locomobile road car. Each car has an interactive kiosk alongside it that tells the history and story of not just the car, but its designers and drivers. It’s fascinating to move from car to car and get an idea of how the early days of motorsport evolved and wonder at how much courage it took to race one of these cars.
The Frontrunners section of the Collection featured an amazing collection of Porsche race cars from a 1968 908K to a 2011 911 GT3 Cup. One of the cars is of the era that first turned me on to sports car and endurance racing: a 1986 Porsche 962 that was raced at the 24 Hours of Daytona by A.J. Foyt, Al Unser Jr., and Elliott Forbes- Robinson. Another of them is a 1970 917K that was driven by Steve McQueen in one of my favorite movies, “Le Mans.” A number of the race cars were also driven by one of my racing heroes and one of the leading Brumos figures, Hurley Haywood.
I had a wonderful experience visiting the Brumos Collection. Not only is the collection of cars and memorabilia simply amazing and beautifully presented, their staff and volunteers are friendly, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable. If you take your time, you don’t just get to see historic cars, you get to see them presented in context and learn about the people and ideas behind them. It’s definitely worth making a trip to Jacksonville to visit the Brumos Collection.
After visiting the Brumos Collection, I drove a short distance to Dockside Seafood in Jacksonville Beach for dinner. It’s a simple but great seafood restaurant right on the Intracoastal Waterway. It’s not very fancy – they serve baskets instead of plates and you place your order at the counter and they bring it out to your table. I had a combination of fried shrimp and a crab cake with fries and coleslaw; it was delicious and with tip and drink it only cost $21. The shrimp was lightly fried and not the least bit greasy, the crab cake wasn’t loaded with bell pepper, and the slaw was a simple, non-soupy recipe. If you go, expect a bit of a wait, even at 5pm, they already had a line out of the door.