Nov/Dec 2021 edition
Issue #19 AutoMobilia Resource Magazine
Story by Jeff Zurschmeide.
Photos supplied by Brumos. Please do not duplicate.
Mention Brumos Racing to anyone in motorsports and they’ll immediately think of Hurley Haywood and Peter Gregg’s dominating success in the Porsche 911 of the late 1960s and early ’70s, but the story starts long before they arrived on the scene, and continues to this day. Sean Cridland has catalogued the entire history of Brumos in a packaged set of three books – one can only call it a compendium – with amazing attention to detail and unparalleled access to company and personal records.
The salient thing to know about this set of books is that it’s almost 1,500 pages long, and there’s no fluff. This is a detailed history with no stone left unturned, supported by documents and photographs that could only come from the Brumos company archives and the people who lived this history.
Through it all, Cridland has an easy, conversational writing style that reflects his long career as an automotive journalist. Readers of Porsche Panorama and Excellence magazines will have seen his byline many times, and he is also the co-author of Haywood’s autobiography, “Hurley: From the Beginning.”
The story begins with the Brundage family history in the 20th century, their relationship with the Curtiss aviation enterprise, and how they moved to Florida and got involved in Volkswagen car dealerships. The genesis of the Brundage Motors (“Bru-Mos”) name is covered from the earliest usage, with documentary evidence. One new thing I learned was that Hubert Brundage was instrumental in the creation of SCCA’s popular Formula Vee class, which is based on early 1960s VW running gear.
The Brundage story fills the first 300 pages – a solid book in its own right. Page 290 transitions the story to Gregg, at the time a 25-year-old Navy lieutenant who took over the Brumos Porsche dealership in 1965. Cridland presents a detailed background biography of Gregg, including the naval origin of his preferred racing number, 59. (Spoiler: It was the identification number of the USS Forrestal CV-59, the world’s first supercarrier.) The rest of the first volume, through page 463, covers Gregg’s life and career through 1969, including his first racing efforts with another young military man, Haywood.
The second volume is where this work really hits its stride. Starting in 1970, the Brumos team was involved in IMSA, SCCA, Trans Am, and Can Am racing, with Gregg and Haywood leading the charge and turning a solid team into a legend. This epoch of the Brumos story fills almost 500 pages, ending with Gregg’s tragic suicide in 1980, following a debilitating crash. Again, Cridland has access to documents that illustrate the entire story, and he does not gloss over the hard parts; he presents the facts as they happened.
The final 500 pages in Volume 3 track the Brumos legacy from 1980 to the present, through a variety of series, sponsorships, ownership changes, and a cast of drivers selected from racing’s top echelons. The information in this volume fleshes out just how important an organization Brumos has remained over the past 40 years. Cridland gives some background to Haywood’s emergence as an advocate for LGBT issues, and why he ultimately decided to come out publicly. He also follows the original Porsche dealership as it changed hands and names, and the establishment of the Brumos Collection museum.
The three-volume hardbound set comes with its own slipcase decorated in Brumos livery with Gregg’s number on the outside. The books are printed on archival-quality gloss-finish paper, with each page measuring 11 inches square, which provides enough space for the photos to be printed in exquisite high resolution. Detail-oriented readers will appreciate the fact that the volumes are indexed, and the photos credited.
I must emphasize the photos and reproductions of letters and documents. There are thousands of each, and it’s rare to see a page without illustration. The documents are impressive, including telegrams, receipts, contracts, and personal letters.
The bottom line is that Cridland has compiled the definitive story of Brumos. This is the masterpiece of a lifetime devoted to automotive history. Anything further on the topic will be a shadow of this work. Fans of Porsche, Brumos, Gregg, Haywood, and racing in general should consider this book set a cornerstone of their motorsports library.
The book set is expected to be available in November, through the Brumos Collection BrumosBook.com. “The Brumos Edition” three-volume set we reviewed retails for $559.59. That edition will be a one-time print run of 1,500 copies. Additionally, there is the “Numbered Collector’s Edition” of 348 copies, which includes a fourth book of reference data and is signed by many important people in the Brumos story. That set retails for $959.59. Finally, there will be an “Ultimate Artist’s Edition” of only 10 copies with hand-painted slipcases, and the Brumos Collection requests personal inquiries for interest in those copies. Jeff Zurschmeide
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