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Revs Institute Museum - Naples, FL


George Cole
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I spent a couple of hours in the Revs Institute Museum in Naples, FL, this past weekend.  The 150+ cars on display are billed as one of the finest personal collection in the world.  Perhaps...but not to me.  It was very heavily flavored toward foreign race cars, with a large Porsche contingent.  There were some American makes displayed, but they were in the minority.  There were perhaps a dozen or so U.S. significant antique cars, including a Duesenberg, a couple of full-classic Packard, and a Pierce Arrow.  One of the original Corvette Grand Sports is on on display.  The shop tour is worth the additional ticket cost for a behind-the-scenes look.  I was surprised to hear the docent tour guide say they paint antique cars with the same methods which were used 100 years ago, including brush application, waiting up to 18 days for the varnish to dry, and hand-rubbing to get the final finish.  

 

I got bit by their no-flash photography policy.  For some reason I couldn't get the flash turned off on my SLR Canon 50D, so thought I'd try to take a few pictures with it anyways.  Within seconds of the first flash, I was reminded of the policy and directed to take non-flash pictures.  As usual, taking pictures with my not-so-trusty phone resulted in very blurry pictures.  They looked okay on the tiny phone screen, but when I downloaded them on my PC at home, I was disappointed with the lack of clarity.  

 

Museum tours are by on-line ticket sales only.  There were 9 people in my tour group.  Was it worth the visit?  Yes.  Will I go back?  Probably not.  Here's the web site for anyone contemplating a visit.  

 

https://revsinstitute.org/

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Looking at their history, the foundation of the collection is the private collection of Miles Collier.  Understanding his background and contributions to motor sport, it's easy to understand how the focus is racing oriented.  I personally think it's one of the finest, with it's barrier-free exhibits where you can get up close and really explore the cars.  The history of some of these cars is fascinating.   I've found the docents very accommodating, even opening hoods (bonnets) to allow for detailed photography.  What I particularly like about Revs is it does not cater to the casual.  You won't see the usual glamor and glitz of celebrity cars, customs, and things like the Batmobile, Rev's isn't that kind of museum.  It's a serious repository of historic vehicles with a racing heritage.  It makes no pretense otherwise.  

 

Rev's was the 2020 recipient of the AACA Plaque, awarded in recognition of outstanding achievement in the preservation of automotive history.  It does that very well.

Terry

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I believe that a good portion of the early ( pre WWII) material in their library is from their purchase of the library of the late Peter B. Richely of Ashford, Kent England. some decades ago. Peter R. was a good friend of mine that I visited when I was in England and he and his companion Joan were fine people. Like many Brits he was an intensive book collector, and his collection reflected this. 

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A lot of this collection was purchased from Briggs Cunningham's collection. It was his wish for it to go to the Collier family museum as he was good friends with Miles Colliers Father and Uncle when they started Road Racing together pre war and continued with Brigg's Watkins Glen and Le Mans efforts etc. He knew the Colliers had the funding to keep most of the collection intact as this was also one of his wishes. In one picture above is Le Monstre the Cadillac whose body was modified for aerodynamic purposes to run LeMans, the underpinning to the car is all stock Cadillac. The other car a totally stock Caddy finished ahaead of Le Monster. Great History in this museum and Mr Collier is a wonderful person and caretaker of this wonderful collection and the many cars he added to it.

.

Edited by philip roitman (see edit history)
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  • 2 months later...

This collection is on my Bucket List, I did see the cars when the Cunningham collection was in Costa Mesa back in the 1970's. Several of the cars have been RErestored, with all details closely researched. If an INDY car was brush painted the day before the 500 the restored car was also brush painted, I like that. Bob 

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  • 8 months later...

I took my wife to visit the Revs Institute Museum last month; she doesn’t usually take much interest but she liked this one.  Yes Revs is heavily oriented towards vintage race cars but the individual car history placards were fascinating both in regards to the cars and also to the eras and conditions in which they raced. CE768151-1547-4FE7-A6A1-15D5286E2789.jpeg.18cb14d788923887be4762eebe91577d.jpeg5A50771A-53F5-44C1-BF43-5EF230DBD7EE.jpeg.09c14281de15a6594736cf2084536f82.jpeg5832F219-650D-451C-937C-156FD894891B.jpeg.eeeab187f9340fde3e0d532ed3a173dc.jpeg

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Posted (edited)

As I have mentioned someplace on here previously. Rev's has a great library as well - they purchased the library of Peter Blair Richley of Ashford , Kent. England.

Peter was a good friend that I visited when I was in England on trips some decades ago. He had a fantastic collection of primarily books, but also pamphlets and brochures. Lots of European material as well. Peter and I would compare what we each had to make each other aware that something actually existed! That is the biggest hurtle of a historian, actually knowing that something you are seeking even existed . So a century after it was mentioned or made you can try to find it for the information or picture it presents and was recorded when new. 99% of all that is not available "on line" at the touch of a button, no such thing as instant research .  We are so fortunate indeed to have not only car collections but libraries of material like the Rev's, AACA, etc. have in the care of people who know preservation as well as where to look for first hand information.

Edited by Walt G
typo (see edit history)
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