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Summer 2016 8



For starters, how about browsing

a file consisting of 1,559 period photos

of Cobras and Shelbys? That’s where

we saw this photo of Dan Gerber’s

5R099. He painted it red in 1966.

Sports car collector Miles Collier,

scion of a family estimated by


magazine to be worth north of $2.3 bil-

lion, is the grandson of a New York ad-

vertising magnate who, in the 1920s,

owned 1.3 million acres of prime prop-

erty along Florida’s southwest coast,

where Naples and surrounding Collier

County stand today.

Miles Collier’s father and uncle

(Miles and Sam, respectively) were au-

tomobile enthusiasts in the 1930s and

founded the Automobile Racing Club

of America which later became the

Sports Car Club of America. The

younger Miles grew up interested in

cars and racing and competed, him-

self, from the late 60s through the late

1980s. He founded the Collier Automo-

bile Museum in Naples, Florida in

part to house his growing collection of

historical automobiles.

The museum was opened to not

only display the cars it housed but as

a center for research. However, they

discovered that the museum portion

One of Collier’s goals was to

change the way colleges and universi-

ties saw the role of the automobile. As

Collier described it, “

The automobile is

an agent of social change; an impor-

tant technological object of the 20th

century and a lens through which to

view the trajectory of modernity.

Collier approached four premier

private research universities in the

U.S. with the possibility of teaming up.

All of the schools expressed interest

and he ended up selecting Stanford.

They are preeminent in the humani-

ties and in the engineering sciences,

Collier said, “

and they come from the

land of the automobile, California


Stanford has its own automotive stud-

ies department and a strong computer

sciences department, which is digitiz-

ing all of the periodicals, photos and

books Collier has collected and is

adding them to its existing collection.

To visit the Revs Digital Library,

you should make sure you have a lot

of free time because you will be spend-

ing more of it than you can possibly re-

alize. The photos come from different

sources and because many were taken

by amateurs, they have rarely been

seen before. That is precisely what

makes them so interesting.

was keeping a lot of research from

being done, so it was closed to the pub-

lic until they could reestablish its pri-

mary mission: to promote interest in

the automobile as the single most im-

portant technological object of the

20th century. They lost track of time

and the closing lasted twenty years. It

reopened as the Revs Institute (Re-

searching the Evolution of Vehicles in

Society); the museum is open three

days a week and the other days are re-

served for actual research.

5R102 driven by Ron Dykes at Vacaville, California, September 11, 1966.