Author Sean Cridland Compiled a Comprehensive Account of the Legendary Porsche Team
By Godwin Kelly
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The history of Brumos, the most recognizable Porsche racing brand in North America, has been chronicled in detail by author Sean Cridland in a three-volume set of books titled “Brumos: An American Racing Icon.”
Cridland spent two years researching and crafting this 1,500-page sports car trilogy, which features never-before-published photographs (some 2,000 photos in all) and documents, some dating nearly 100 years.
“Brumos is America’s most iconic Porsche racing team, period,” Cridland said in a recent interview. “When you think of Brumos, you think of Hurley Haywood, which brings you to Peter Gregg, which brings you to the red, white and blue color scheme, and so on.”
It went from one book to three after Cridland received documents from the founders of Brumos that reach back to the 1920s. Plus, the author had unrestricted access to all of Gregg’s business and personal records.
Gregg and Haywood dominated the highest level of IMSA racing in the early 1970s. Gregg owned the team and was a Porsche dealer in Jacksonville, Florida. But the team’s racing history stretches to the 1940s when the patriarch of a business family, Hubert Brundage, bought a Duesenberg race car that had finished second in the 1931 Indianapolis 500. Brundage was a businessman in South Florida.
“They raced the car in 1948 and didn’t do so good,” Cridland said with a laugh. “They completely reengineer the car and won a prestigious race at Palm Beach Shores and immediately get thrust into the national spotlight. By the end of 1949, the Sports Car Club of America outlawed hot rods from competition because they wanted Jaguars and Ferraris and cars like that. The last race of 1950 at Watkins Glen puts the Brundage family in touch with Porsche. It’s the first time Hubert Brundage sees a Porsche and can’t live without it.”
The Brundage family became a Volkswagen dealer in Miami.
“In 1953, their first year, they sold 15 out of a hardware store they owned,” Cridland said, which led to a deep relationship with Porsche.
At this point, the Brundage family now has the racing bug, to the point where Hubert Brundage creates a single-seat, open-wheel car series, now known as Formula Vee.
“And they go sports car racing and they get the two best Porsche drivers of the day, Bob Holbert and Roger Penske,” Cridland said.
In 1957, at the request of Porsche, they move Brundage Motors from South Florida to Jacksonville, which has a bigger port of entry. In keeping with the times of corporations shortening their names, Brundage Motors became Brumos in 1959.
“After Hubert’s death, much of the Brundage empire was sold to Johnny von Neumann,” Cridland said. “Peter Gregg went to school at Harvard, goes to driving school in Italy and decides he wants to be a race driver. Eventually, he starts driving Porsches, and Porsche sells him the Brumos dealership, and he becomes a factory driver.”
When Gregg bought the business, he revved up the racing department, picked “59” as a competition number and started winning in cars dressed in distinct red and blue striping. Gregg and Haywood teamed to win the 1973 and ’75 Rolex 24 At Daytona in a Porsche Carrera RSR. Gregg won the Rolex 24 four times between 1973-78.
When Gregg died in 1980 at the age of 40, his wife, Deborah Gregg, took over the business and Brumos continued forward. Dan Davis, whose family built the Winn-Dixie grocery empire, bought the dealership and its racing history in 1990 and put veteran Bob Snodgrass in charge of the motorsports program.
In 2009, the race team revisited past glory by winning the Rolex 24 At Daytona with a driver roster led by David Donohue, son of racing legend Mark Donohue, who spent much of his career driving for Roger Penske – the former Brumos driver turned hall of fame team owner.
Davis sold the dealership in 2015 but kept the Brumos name. He now has a museum in Jacksonville, The Brumos Collection, which chronicles the history of the race team. Davis waved the green flag for the 2021 Rolex 24.
“There are so many people and families that intersect with Brumos,” said Cridland, whose recent biography on Haywood led him to chase the race team’s history. “It’s all rather incredible.”
Cridland breaks the history of Brumos into three eras.
Volume I: The Brundage Era chronicles the historical events that led to the creation and development of one of the world’s legendary teams. With a foreword by Penske, the story begins with the introduction of Brumos founder Hubert Brundage and runs through significant events in American history before the onset of the American sports car craze of the 1950s.
Volume 2: The Peter Gregg Era begins with a foreword by Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance Founder and Chairman Bill Warner and recounts the explosive 1970s when Gregg, Haywood, Jack Atkinson and Porsche-owned American GT racing.
Volume 3: 1980 Through 2020 opens with comments from actor and racer Patrick Dempsey. It covers the challenges and victories of Brumos in the post-Gregg era.
“Brumos: An American Racing Icon” may be ordered online at brumosbook.com.