I love classic cars, I’m really into movie memorabilia, and I’m a sucker for a good museum visit so with a few days to kill in Miami I was happy to dedicate a full afternoon to the Dezer Collection. I had found the car museum online and their website looked fantastic; photos of gorgeous hunks of metal flickered across the screen, bright lights glinting off of classic curves and tailfins, not to mention the promise of a full Batman exhibit(!) and a room solely dedicated to James Bond vehicles.
I was in.
The ticket was pricey; I think it cost something like $40 to get in. I could see the first room of the museum past the ticket booth and it looked fantastic. Clearly this was going to be money well spent.
That first room was large, brightly illuminated, and painted all in white like some heavenly dream sequence from a movie – you almost expected Morgan Freeman to appear in a white tuxedo. In the room were maybe eight or nine cars very widely placed and each sitting atop a polished mirrored platform. They were each stunning works of art, sculptures in metal, glass and leather, and they were presented as such. Beautiful.
Off to the side was the Batman Room. I held my breath and stepped inside.
Though I’ve never been a comic book guy I’ve been a big fan of the Adam West Batman TV series as long as I can remember, an obsession which has forced me to endure pretty much every Batman movie since. So you can imagine my amazement when I walked through a three-room complex that held vehicles from every single Batman movie going back to the campy TV series. They had the Batboat, the Batcopter, the Batcycle (with sidecar), and more Batmobiles than I can remember.
Next up was the movie car exhibit and this is when my opinion of the museum started to turn. Don’t get me wrong, the Dezer Collection has every movie car you can think of, the Banana Splitsmobile, the Ghostbusters ambulance, the Addams family hotrod, it just went on and on.
It’s truly astounding how all these cars could be in one place but the presentation was horrible. Cars were packed in so tight you had to almost crawl over one to get to another. They had just the most incredible, iconic vehicles backed up bumper-to-bumper and door-to-door with other equally remarkable vehicles making access to many of them basically impossible.
The classic car wing was even worse. The cars were jammed into a series of rooms with no apparent rhyme or reason, many of the cars had rust spots or rips in the upholstery and signage was almost non-existent. They just have too many pieces on display and as a result the cars aren’t being properly cared for, restored or curated.
C’mon guys, you’re charging $40 to see this, let’s try working a little harder, okay?
That’s when it hit me. This Dezer guy is a local condo-development bazillionaire and this museum must be his way of writing off his car collection. He probably had everything stored here anyway, all he had to do was set up a ticket booth and open up a cafeteria and just like that his hobby becomes a business and his collection becomes a tax write-off.
I suppose the guy didn’t get rich by being stupid.
I will say that the James Bond exhibit was pretty top-notch; the guy must be a real fan. I’m not, but I still found the vast array of Bond cars, helicopters and full-sized airplanes impressive. They had suits and gadgets and a room full of Bond-themed toys, action figures, lunch boxes, etcetera. I can’t imagine there is much in the Bond universe that the Dezer Collection doesn’t own.
In the end I give the place a ten out of ten for the collection itself and maybe a three out of ten for their sluggish curating skills. And a two out of ten on the price. Dude, if the place is a tax write-off why not charge $5 a head and write off some serious money?