Tucked away in a corner of Northern Miami Dade County is one of Miami’s best kept secrets. No, it’s not a private beach for the ultra rich or some ultra exclusive bar where musicians and starlets hang out. It’s a place open and accessible to average Joe’s like you and me (even though you might find some notable Hollywood movie stars there). I’m talking about the recently opened Miami Automobile Museum featuring the Dezer Collection. If you even think you might have a passion for cars or are looking for something cool to do in the Miami area, you have to check out this car museum.
What began as a space to hold and privately display the automobile collection of real estate mogul Michael Dezer, has become one of the most impressive collections of cars, bikes, vehicles, and memorabilia that I have ever seen. It’s not just the size of the collection (over 1200 vehicles) amassed at the Miami Automobile Museum that is so impressive. It’s the incredible quality and depth of the collection that makes it stand out. The majority of the vehicles in the collection are not only in prime condition, but are still functioning and drivable. Dezer’s collection features such a wide variety of vehicles on 2, 3, or 4 wheels there is sure to be something there for every kind of car lover. Lauren and I spent almost an entire day taking in the collection and we could both easily go back again for more. The collection is so vast the museum is spread across 7 galleries in two separate buildings covering about 250K sq/ft! Here’s a peek at some of our favorites from each collection!
Our tour of the Miami Automobile Museum began in one of my favorite galleries, the Micro Cars. Popular in post-war Europe, microcars came about as a way to solve transportation needs in a time of incredibly high fuel prices and uber-scarce resources. Since most microcars were 2 and 3 wheeled vehicles, they were legally classified as motorcycles which made them subject to much less regulation. As a result, there were many different players manufacturing them which allowed for a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and designs. In addition to that, there were many customized one-of-a-kind designs that were manufactured. Because of this, it’s one of my favorite automotive eras. Dezer has amassed an incredible collection at the car museum, it’s easily the largest I have ever seen in one place.
The next gallery on our tour is a perennial favorite at any car museum, Star Cars! Dezer’s collection spans from early hollywood cars like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang to more modern classics like the Ghostbusters Car, the DeLorean from Back to the Future, and (of course) Herbie the Love Bug!
In addition to the cars themselves, the gallery also features props and memorabilia from each film, which livens up the space quite a bit. One section of the star cars gallery definitely stood out as my favorite though, the Batman room. Featuring several iterations of the Bat Mobile, from one of George Barrister’s Bat Mobiles to Val Kilmer’s, it’s definitely got a place in my heart!
James Bond Gallery
The Dezer Collection features one gallery that will absolutely blow your mind if you are even remotely a fan of the James Bond films. With a collection valued at over 15 million dollars, the Miami Automobile Museum features one of the largest James Bond Exhibits in the world. The exhibit features more than just cars from The James Bond Franchise. You can find planes, tanks, and even helicopters.
On top of that there is a whole area dedicated to movie related memorabilia and collectibles that you can spend hours admiring and still not see everything.
The American Classics Gallery was more like a trip through the country’s entire automotive history. This gallery is absolutely packed with stunning examples of the American automobile industry.
From extremely rare examples, like one of four known 1927 Duesenberg Model X‘s, to the Cord 812 the gallery features many beauties from the early days of the automobile.
The American Classics gallery then continues into some beautiful examples of the golden age of automobiles. This part of the gallery is large and deep enough to be a museum all of it’s own and features more rarities like the Kaiser Darrin below, along with other well known American Classics.
2 Wheelers – Bikes, Motorcycles, and Scooters
Considered to be one of the first forms of “modern transportation” the bicycle holds an important place in the worlds automotive history. Without the bicycle, we would have never had motorbikes, scooters, or motorcycles which remain to this day the most prolific modes of transportation worldwide. The Dezer collection does a nice job of taking it’s visitors through the history of bicycles and features some finely restored examples of many classic bikes.
It is said that the entire Dezer Collection can be traced back to one vehicle, the original Vespa owned by mister Dezer himself at the age of 16. It is said to be the vehicle that inspired his love of motoring and started a life-long passion for automobiles. It’s no wonder then that The Miami Automobile Museum features the largest collection of Vespas in the world with over 400 models on display.
The Dezer Collection’s Euro Car gallery features vehicles from 12 different countries that impacted the evolution of the modern automobile. Displayed by each individual country you can see many of the different cars that launched some of Europe’s most popular brands like Fiat, Saab, BMW, Audi, Renault, and of course Volkswagen.
Often overlooked, military vehicles played a hugely important role in the evolution of the automobile. Because the vehicles had to be durable and had to be able to perform in extreme conditions, they helped shape the face of may off-road grade vehicles today. The Dezer Collection at the Miami Automobile Museum features many examples of military jeeps, motorcycles, and other motorized military equipment from around the world.
As you can see, The Dezer Collection at the Miami Automobile Museum is definitely a sight worth seeing for every lover of automobiles. If you are planning on visiting I highly recommend getting there early. You can easily spend a whole day here admiring and learning about the history of the automobile. For more information including hours and admission cost take a look at the Miami Automobile Museum official website.