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Editor’s note: This article was updated on 6/12/2023. 

Most people think of Miami and South Beach when they think of the car scene in Florida. Classic cars, muscle cars, supercars, Florida has it all. However, tucked away in sleepy little Naples, Florida, is one of the better-kept secret car museums that was once a private collection. The Revs Institute will give you all of the above, plus some historically significant automobiles that once belonged to important folks like Enzo Ferrari.

What kind of car museum is the Revs Institute?

A distinct lack of hills and snow makes Florida’s roads better than most, but this goes beyond that. The Revs Institute used to be Miles Collier’s private car collection. But now, Revs functions as a car museum, shop, and research institute hybrid.

The institute is focused on preserving automotive history and making it accessible to everyone. For instance, it used to be accessible to private groups or organizations. Now the museum is open to the public. The not-for-profit organization helps the community learn more about historic cars and inventions that shaped how cars are today. This car museum is multi-faceted, with over 100 vehicles on display at any given time. According to the museum’s website:

“Revs Institute is a haven for scholars, preservationists, and passionate connoisseurs of automotive history. The museum in Naples, Florida is a working facility and home to the Miles Collier Collections — over one hundred significant automobiles built between 1896 and 1995.”

Often when you visit, cars that are normally on display will be out and about. These are called “working vehicles” as they travel to various events or exhibits. Sometimes they even partake in historic races.

When the cars aren’t off living life to the fullest, you can find the vehicles in the spotless shop on campus. There the staff will work the automobiles for preservation or restoration. For example, sometimes, you will see one of the working vehicles casually traveling down U.S. 41. If you find yourself at a race track for an event, Revs is often there with a car. Not just on display, either. The vehicles will participate in track days and events.

Fancy a McLaren? There is something for everyone. A 1995 McLaren F1 is always prominently featured on display. An 1896 Panhard et Levassor Wagonette is the oldest automobile on display. It had a total of 3.5 hp and a two-cylinder engine.

A 1901 BenzDos-à-Dos with 10 hp usually lingers near the 1909 Ford Model T Touring. This model took a leap with a four-cylinder in-line engine with 22 hp. The ever-popular Tin Lizzie was known affectionately as the “most fixable car ever built.”

A 1914 Mercedes Type 18/100 Grand Prix lives there. It was featured in the French Grand Prix near Lyon, France. Similarly, the 1914 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost Tourer was famous in its own right. This one cost an estimated $7,000. This Ghost came with a six-cylinder engine estimated at 45 to 50 hp. Between 1907 and 1926, Rolls Royce made over 8,000 magnificent cars. Rolls Royce came to fruition with a partnership between Charles Stewart Rolls and Frederick Henry Royce.

Alberto Ascari drove the 1955 Lancia D50 Formula 1 in Lancia’s first Formula 1 race, the 1954 Spanish Grand Prix. Also, Enzo Ferrari’s personal 1962 Ferrari 400 Superamerica Aerodynamica Coupe is there. The ever-cool 1971 Porsche 908 sits nearby. Equipped with 360 hp and a very stylish livery, this car turns heads.

The Revs digital library and archive

Revs also has a digital library. The library has over 650,000 images, with an estimated 5,000 being added by specialists each month. However, It does not stop with pictures and videos.

From books to archival collections, old car show posters, coats, gloves, and even helmets once worn for racing. There are also a variety of racing films from around the world. The institute even has original sales brochures and manuals dating back to the 1900s.

Above all, Revs Institute is worth a visit if you find yourself in sunny Southwest Florida. Be sure to plan to stay awhile so you have time to explore everything this personal collection turned car museum offers.