An Elite Fleet

Ooh and aah at some of the most im­pres­sive wheels in the world at The Revs In­sti­tute

Bonita & Estero Magazine - - NEWS -

The grace and func­tion­al­ity of mo­tor ve­hi­cles are at our doorstep in Naples at The Revs In­sti­tute. It is here the the­ory of a mo­tor ve­hi­cle’s im­pact can be mea­sured. The Revs In­sti­tute has more than 100 sig­nif­i­cant ve­hi­cles avail­able for close in­spec­tion. You’ll find mul­ti­ple ex­am­ples of ex­otic crafts­man­ship and re­fine­ment, rac­ing cars, clas­sics and one-of-a-kinds. The Revs also swaps out or sends its ve­hi­cles to world venues. How­ever, what may ap­pear at first glance to be a car em­po­rium is not just a place to ogle cool ve­hi­cles and rac­ing tro­phies, Revs is also a re­search fa­cil­ity and one of the world’s most com­pre­hen­sive mo­tor ve­hi­cle li­braries.

Nes­tled in a quiet gray struc­ture in Naples, Revs holds an as­ton­ish­ing se­lec­tion of mostly Euro­pean mo­tor clas­sics, early French and Ger­man rac­ing power and in­no­va­tive, ul­tra-sleek Ital­ian mo­tor ve­hi­cles. You’ll find nice ex­am­ples of art deco and English de­sign el­e­gance, and other strik­ing ve­hi­cles built by the Florid­ian Briggs Swift Cun­ning­ham, who later brought the first Jaguar im­ports to Amer­ica. But there are many ex­am­ples of Amer­i­can ge­nius, in­clud­ing items and ve­hi­cles from rac­ing leg­end Dan Gur­ney, clas­sic Ford and Chevy rac­ers, and a beau­ti­ful Model T. For true nos­tal­gia, a won­der­ful Volk­swa­gen Bee­tle with a touch­screen helps vis­i­tors dis­cover the car’s pe­cu­liar his­tory in pre-war Ger­many.

Porsche and Fer­rari ve­hi­cles are plen­ti­ful at Revs. A 1948 Fer­rari Spy­der Corsa, for in­stance, the first in the United States is a fa­vorite. It’s a sleek red racer once owned by Cun­ning­ham. The Fer­rari Spy­der was also the ve­hi­cle in which Sam Col­lier, one of the founders of the Au­to­mo­bile Rac­ing Club of Amer­ica, died rac­ing in Septem­ber 1950. Col­lier’s death was promi­nently re­ported in the New York press. The Col­liers re­main The Revs In­sti­tute’s bene­fac­tors. Miles Col­lier, the grand­son of the ad­ver­tis­ing mogul and South Florida land baron, over­sees the venue. Much of its col­lec­tion is made up of Miles Col­lier’s cars, in­clud­ing a green 1962 Fer­rari coupe. It was Enzo Fer­rari’s per­sonal ve­hi­cle (red re­port­edly was a buyer’s color). Miles Col­lier’s first car, a dark blue 1965 Porsche 356C coupe, is also on dis­play. The car’s im­mutable style re­mains re­mark­able. It also strikes the vis­i­tor as ac­cept­able van­ity. The 356C is only un­usual be­cause it is his.

“The ob­jects here are a tes­ta­ment to all that’s great in the hu­man mind and spirit,” Miles Col­lier wrote in an on­line in­tro­duc­tion when the for­mer Col­lier Au­to­mo­tive Mu­seum re­con­sti­tuted it­self as The Revs In­sti­tute in 2011.

For $25 and a reser­va­tion, a Revs vis­i­tor gets a do­cent-led tour of the 80,000-square-foot fa­cil­ity. Guests are in­structed on the his­tory of rac­ing and tech­nol­ogy, fun anec­dotes in open ex­hibit space (try not to touch). Self-led tours are $17. It’s crazy not to spend the ex­tra money, although smart vol­un­teers, who are quite knowl­edge­able about the ex­hibits, of­fer help on each floor.

Most ev­ery­thing at Revs in­spires and, per­haps, that is what sets it apart. High­lights in­clude a nifty (and first) 1953 Porsche 550 rac­ing coupe, which was dis­cov­ered in parts at a shoe plant in Mex­ico. The owner raced the 550 in city-to-city venues and parked his cars in a barn. The Porsche then wasn’t worth much. Its value to­day, in its rac­ing pack­age, is im­mea­sur­able.

Ger­man, French, English and Ital­ian rac­ers of ex­treme im­por­tance dot the ex­hibit like golden ap­ples, each with a story of the ve­hi­cle, a race or its owner. Some of the mod­ern rac­ers through the 1990s in­clude Cooper For­mula 1 rac­ers, a Dan Gur­ney Ea­gle, Ford GT-40s, a 1971 Porsche 917K and a 1963 Chevy Corvette Grand Sport.

Whether you are a car afi­cionado or not, a visit to The Revs will leave you in awe at man’s abil­ity to cre­ate these beau­ti­ful ma­chines.

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