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Driving Forward Automotive History – The Revs

The Revs Institute of Automotive ResearchHave you ever wondered what was the most important advancement of the 20th century?

Have you pondered how different our lives or the world would be today without the invention of the automobile?

Computers are important but the car was the tipping point of the modern world.  The Revs Institute in Naples, Florida has assumed the task of studying, collecting, preserving and teaching the history of the automobile.  Recently we visited The Revs and were treated to a behind the scenes tour by Keith Gray of the Institute. 1933 Bugatti Type 55 Super SportTwo days earlier this same 1933 Bugatti Type 55 Super Sport was on the lawn at Mar-A-Lago as part of Classic Sports Sunday.

This privately funded museum began life to take shape at the hand of racer, artist, investor and philanthropist, Miles Collier.  (The blue Porsche 356 above left in the opening photo was Mr. Collier’s high school graduation gift and the beginning of his long relationship with Porsche cars.)

The Silver PorschesWhat began as an interest in cars fueled by his father and uncle, Miles and Sam, became a hobby, then a passion which has turned into an unbelievable collection of automobiles, photos, articles, books, trophies, anything which connects the dots of automobiles to their place in history, now known as The Revs Institute For Automotive Research.  The Teen-age Race CarsAll the cars on display at The Revs are in working order, they appear at concours, car shows and racetracks throughout the world. The Revs Institure LibraryTheir automotive library is unbelievable:

  • books going back to the beginning of the automobile
  • worldwide magazines
  • historic photos
  • original design drawings
  • artwork
  • old driving goggles, and so much more

If it connects to the car it is likely in their library.  Walking through the stacks was a thrill.  But so was viewing a recent donation a photographer’s archives of about 10 tall file cabinets in the warehouse. Yes, they comb through all of it. What makes it fascinating is each year The Revs reviews and sends off 200,000 – 300,000 photos and documents to be digitized, making their achieves accessible to others.  Wow. The Gatsby Era CarsThey have a huge facility where they work on, restore and fabricate what is needed to keep the cars in working order.  Pinch me, we got to view a super top secret car project which will not be seen for possibly another 10 years, but my lips are sealed.

We recommend a visit to The Revs Institute as one of those bucket list items for any and every automotive enthusiast. Block out half a day the next time you are in Florida.  You will be amazed. 1950's Race CarsTheir website is a wealth of information but nothing compares to a visit.  1952 Cunningham C-4RKThe automobile changed everything from the way we work, commute, travel, communicate, engage, recreate, shop, everything we do and associate with would be entirely different if it were not for the automobile.  The Revs Institute is one of the best places to appreciate the full breadth of automotive history.


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