His name is Dezer … Michael Dezer.
And for a while, his incredible collection of cars merely collected dust in the garages of Donald Trump’s hotels.
“Now, I’m sharing it with the rest of the world,” Dezer said.
A walk through his new 260,000-square-foot car museum reveals at least two of the real estate mogul’s loves: classic films and cars. Dezer, a wealthy business partner with Trump, has taken the word “obsession” to a new level. Fortunately, this obsession has created an entertaining attraction for South Floridians, including what Dezer boasts as the only museum commemorating the James Bond film franchise.
“This is the only Bond museum in the world,” Dezer said. “I own the largest collection of Bond vehicles, submarines, motorcycles, airplanes, helicopters, boats, and the like.”
This year, the Bond franchise celebrates its 50-year anniversary. On 7 p.m. Friday, the Dezer Collection is hosting an event for the opening of the new Bond movie, Skyfall. For $75, guests can view the movie in a private theater, walk a red carpet, enjoy a grand tour and photograph the latest additions to the Bond exhibit. There will also be “Shaken Not Stirred Russian Standard Martinis” and canapés served by chef Adrianne Calvo. Dezer purchased the largest collection of Bond vehicles from London and shipped it home to Miami. The exhibit is valued at $15 million.
“These days, I’m on a mission to spend my children’s money,” he explained.
As tempting as it may seem, Dezer doesn’t drive the classic cars, said museum General Manager Tamara Cohen. After all, the machine guns mounted to the hood of James Bond’s Aston Martin “might throw the cops a little bit,” she explained.
Dezer’s favorite Bond car is the 1963 Aston Martin DB5 from the 1964 movie, Goldfinger, which featured scenes from Miami Beach and starred Sean Connery as Bond. Vehicles from the modern Bond films are also displayed, including an Alfa Romeo 159 used in the 2008 film Quantum of Solace, and the Land Rover used in 2006’s Casino Royale.
In the “Cars of the Stars” exhibit, moviegoers will recognize most, if not all, of Dezer’s famous Hollywood cars — each presented with dioramas depicting the movies’ actors or scenes. The collection hosts about 1,500 cars from America and Europe, and more than 800 motorbikes.
“The Hollywood cars are a pretty big thing,” Cohen said. “Almost everyone who comes through here gets a sense of nostalgia with at least one vehicle.”
They include the 1948 Ford De Luxe, also known as “Greased Lightning,” from Grease; the 1989 Alfa Romeo from the 2012 film Rock of the Age, and the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car from the 1920s, valued at $1.5 million.
Treats from the 1980s abound, such as Magnum PI’s 1984 Ferrari 308 GTS with its Hawaii license plate; the Ectomobile (aka Ecto-1), a decked-out 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor ambulance from Ghostbusters (only 100 were built); the “Time Machine,” a 1981 Delorean from Back to the Future, and a 1982 Pontiac Trans Am, also known as “KITT,” from the 1982 television series, Knight Rider.
Inside the “Batman Lounge,” fans will enjoy an impressive array of batmobiles, batcycles and even a batboat used in the forgettable 1995 film, Batman Forever. Batman vehicles range from the Adam West television series in 1966 to the newest Christopher Nolan trilogy.
Dezer started collecting cars more than 50 years ago, when he was just 16. In his native Israel, his father spurred the lifelong passion by giving him a Vespa.