By John Lamm
If words like “museum,” “collection” and “archive” conjure up images of dust and solitude, you don’t know The Revs Institute and the Miles Collier Collections.
Throughout the year, The Revs Institute has concours to attend and races to run. The collection’s 115 cars need to be maintained and driven to keep them at the ready. Some restorations are started while other original vehicles are skillfully preserved by fine-art curators. Thousands of museum visitors are shown the collection by a superb crew of docents. Displays need to be polished and the comprehensive archive of books and ephemera kept in perfect order.
A winner of Italy’s Mille Miglia, the 1938 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Berlinetta gets an exercising near The Revs Institute. Photo Credit: Johnny Miles
In addition, The Revs Institute’s library team continued scanning negatives and transparencies from the collections to create digital files. The team has also moved to a new Revscat library catalog (https://revsinstitute.on.worldcat.org/discovery), and they migrated almost half a million digital images into an all-new Revs Digital Library (http://library.revsinstitute.org/digital/). In addition, the library opened a storefront on Amazon (https://amazon.com/shops/therevsinstitute) to sell duplicate books.
Oh, and occasionally there’s a hurricane.
At the left is Miles Collier Collections’ 1967 Belgian Grand Prix-winning AAR Eagle, part of a celebration of Dan Gurney at The Petersen Automotive Museum. Photo Credit: John Lamm
In 2017, a pair of Dan Gurney Eagles were loaned to Los Angeles’ The Petersen Museum to help commemorate the 50th anniversary of the great driver’s Spa and Le Mans wins in 1967. The 1927 Delage started a months-long journey to events in France and England. Florida’s Amelia Island Concours saw the 1958 Vanwall and 1955 Jaguar D-Type on display. Come summer the Vanwall and Delage competed in the first of two Goodwood events, joined in September by the 1957 Cooper-Climax T-43 at the Goodwood Revival.
During July, we had our annual Hoods Up display, giving visitors a chance to compare the engines in everything from the 1896 Panhard & Levassor to the 1995 McLaren F1.
It’s “Tail Up” for the 1969 Porsche 908 LH during the “Hoods Up” display when many car’s engines are exposed. Photo Credit: Johnny Miles
August is always busy for The Revs Institute. Gunnar Jeannette raced the 1964 Abarth Simca 2000GT and 1966 Porsche 906 at California’s Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in the Rolex Reunion. The 1908 Mors race car rumbled across the awards ramp at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Revs conducted a symposium at Pebble Beach titled ‘From Here to Autonomy’ about how car design and collecting could be affected by the widespread adoption of new technologies and regulations.
Groundbreaking Pebble Beach Forum on Autonomy and the Future for Car Enthusiasts. From LtoR: Simon Kidston, Christopher Svensson, Paul Ingrassia, Chris Urmson. Photo Credit: Johnny Miles
Just a few weeks later, the 1966 Ford GT 40 MkI and 1962 Lotus 23 were raced at the Lime Rock Historics in Connecticut. The GT40 was back on the road in November for the Hilton Head Concours, joined by a perennial crowd favorite, the Figoni et Falaschi-bodied 1937 Delahaye 135MS Roadster.
A pair of legends at the Lime Rock Historics, the 1966 Ford GT40 MkI driven by Richard Atwood. Photo Credit: Keith Grey
That is a short list of how the cars were used, but much more happened. There was the 3-day Symposium in which well-known collectors and other experts gathered in Naples to discuss everything from proper restoration to the future of vintage cars to automotive history. Peter Stevens, designer of the McLaren F1, and Grand Prix expert Doug Nye joined from England.
The extensive conservation and body restoration of the 1968 Porsche 907 was completed.
The Revs Institute’s Vice President, Scott George, details the restoration of the 1968 Porsche 907 at the Symposium. Photo Credit: John Lamm
And then there was October and Hurricane Irma. In impressively quick fashion, our crew managed to get the 70 Collier Collection cars housed on the first floor of the museum up to the second and third floors for safekeeping. Luckily the hurricane caused little damage, but The Revs Institute was ready.
Moving the McLaren F1 to higher ground ahead of the Hurricane F1. Photo Credit: Lauren Miles
Naturally one last task in 2017 was prepping for 2018. The restoration of the Porsche Gmund 356SL is scheduled to be done in time for the Porsche Rennsport Reunion next fall. There is a gathering of Cunningham cars in early summer at the Greenwich Concours, followed by the Goodwood Festival of Speed and later the Revival, the Rolex Reunion and the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The Mercer Raceabout and Duesenberg SSJ are already promised for a special exhibit in autumn…so much to do, so little time.
Dust and solitude indeed…stay tuned.
The Miles Collier Collections’ 1927 Delage was part of a 90th anniversary celebration of Delage at Retromobile. Photo Credit: Wouter Melissen
In the day, Briggs Cunningham’s team raced this 1955 Jaguar D-Type, seen here at the Amelia Island Concours. Photo Credit: John Lamm
One of several Grand Prix cars on display at The Revs Institute, the 1958 Vanwall was also shown at Amelia Island. Photo Credit: John Lamm
Also on display at The Petersen in Los Angeles, the Miles Collier Collections’ 1975 Indianapolis 500-winning All American Racers Eagle. Photo Credit: John Lamm
Eddie Berrisford takes the 1913 Peugeot for a demo run during the Symposium in Naples. Photo Credit: John Lamm
Grand Prix expert Doug Nye (left) explains the collection’s 1939 Mercedes-Benz W-154 GP car. Photo Credit: John Lamm
The little car with the big name–1964 Abarth Simca 2 Mila Corsa–at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. Photo Credit: John Lamm
Gunnar Jeannette in the 1966 Porsche 906 Carrera 6 entering Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca’s Corkscrew corner. Photo Credit: John Lamm
On display at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the 1908 Mors Grand Prix car. Photo Credit: John Lamm
A monster, the Mors’ big 12.5-liter, 100-horsepower 4-cylinder engine. Photo Credit: John Lamm
Rumbling across the awards ramp at Pebble, the 1908 Mors Grand Prix car. Photo Credit: John Lamm
Give me a smile…family fun with the Ford GT40 at Lime Rock. Photo Credit: Keith Grey
Ollie Crosthwaite through Goodwood’s chicane in the 1957 Cooper Climax T-43. Photo Credit: John Lamm
Tony Brooks in the 1958 Vanwall at Goodwood. Photo Credit: John Lamm
A pair of Grand Prix celebrities, Tony Brooks (right) with Sir Jackie Stewart at the Goodwood Revival. Photo Credit: John Lamm
The first Porsche 911 to win a race anywhere is pushed to safety as Hurricane Irma approaches. Photo Credit: Lauren Miles
Safely upstairs, Porsches, a Volkswagen, an Elva, a Trabant and a D-Type Jaguar share tight quarters before the storm. Photo Credit: Johnny Miles
The Miles Collier Collections’ 1937 Delahaye with Figoni et Falaschi coachwork, on display at the Hilton Head Island Concours in November. Photo Credit: Guy Smith, Popcorn Octane
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John Lamm started his automotive journalism career in 1965 as a racing photographer for Autoweek magazine. After a tour in Vietnam, he joined Motor Trend in 1969, then Road & Track in 1975, where he worked for 37 years. He has also written for Car and Driver and Automobile magazines. Credits include 10 books and Lamm has been honored with the International Motor Press Association’s Ken Purdy and the Motor Press Guild’s Dean Batchelor awards for writing. Lamm’s photo archives include hundreds of thousands of images ranging from an 1893 Benz Victoria to many of the latest automobiles. He is on the organizing committee for the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion and been a judge at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance for two decades. Lamm lives in San Clemente, California with his wife, Scheri.