The Evolution of the Original Pony Car

The Ford Mustang is widely recognized as the first of the American pony cars and is a legend of the American road. Since its first drive off the production lines in 1964, this muscle car has gone through a number of major changes to accommodate evolving tastes and preferences in the U.S. automotive marketplace. Here are some of the most important turning points for the Ford Mustang.

The First Generation

The Ford Mustang originated from the T-5 project helmed by chief engineer and assistant general manager of Ford Motor Company Donald N. Frey. The objective of this project was the development of an affordable new sports car for the Ford lineup. The Mustang was the result of the combined efforts of renowned designers Phil Clark and Eugene Bordinat, engineer Roy Lunn and automotive stylist John Najjar Ferzely. The first Mustang prototypes featured a choice of two V-4 engines capable of producing 89 horsepower and 109 horsepower respectively. Production models, however, were released with V-6 and V-8 engines and considerably more power under the hood. The iconic Mustang emblem was created by Phil Clark and still adorns modern Mustangs to the present day.

Redesigning an American Classic

Just three years after the initial release of the Mustang, Ford’s design team went back to work to create a larger version of this successful entry in the automaker’s lineup. By 1971, this trend had reached its peak with underpowered, oversized Mustangs that failed to reach the market created by its initial release. A new fuel-efficient Mustang was released for the 1974 model year; dubbed the Mustang II, the new vehicle was available in coupe and hatchback and reclaimed some of its previous audience in the U.S. marketplace.

Third Generation Mustangs

Between 1979 and 1994, Ford produced four-passenger Mustangs in a variety of configurations that included coupe, convertible and hatchback models. The Cobra and Cobra R trim levels were introduced during this period and soon earned a place among the legendary muscle cars of the American automaking industry. The relatively stodgy exterior design and lackluster performance of the Mustang, however, failed to attract the buzz and sales hoped for by Ford executives and resulted in a return to the drawing board for the automaker’s design division.

A Return to Greatness

The fourth generation of the Ford Mustang was released in 1994 and featured a 3.8-liter overhead valve V-6 engine capable of producing 145 horsepower and 215 pound-feet of torque. The exterior of the new model featured a welcome return to the aggressive styling and powerful performance that characterized the original Mustang. This innovative retooling reignited interest in the Mustang and attracted a new generation of buyers for this classic muscle car.

In 2014, the Ford Mustang will celebrate its 50th anniversary. The modern Ford Mustang incorporates more powerful engine choices, a wide array of special editions and some of the most technologically advanced features available in the automotive market. After five decades of continuous production, the Mustang continues to enjoy exceptional popularity and delivers the performance and style buyers expect from this iconic pony car.

The Classic Car Appraisal Process

The quality of the restoration work performed on classic vehicles can have a significant impact on the value of these cars and trucks. The appraisal process for vintage automobiles can be confusing for novices to the field. Developing a basic understanding of the procedures used to arrive at a fair value for these vehicles can help car collectors in navigating this specialty marketplace.

Comparable Prices

Because the value of classic cars can vary widely depending on location, professional appraisers look at the fair market values of comparable vehicles in the same regional market. Online and auction prices may also be considered if they are available to potential buyers in the same geographical area. For example, an appraiser might look at the selling price for a 1966 Mercedes-Benz 230 SL in Kansas City and compare that amount to the price fetched at auction in Wichita, Kansas. Any online auction sites might also provide added information to create a more accurate picture of the comparable prices for the same make and model of vehicle in the regional marketplace.


The condition of the vehicle will also have a significant impact on its overall value in the classic car market. Concours quality restorations, for example, can command higher prices than comparable vehicles that have not been restored to similar high standards of accuracy. Documentation of the work performed on a vehicle can also be helpful in establishing the high quality of the craftsmanship and the materials used to restore the classic car to its current condition. Obviously, cars in good running condition will sell for better prices than non-functional vehicles; additionally, any dings, dents or other damage will have a negative effect on the appraised value of the car or truck.


Older vehicles are typically much rarer than their modern counterparts. As with any economic commodity, valuable items that are in short supply can command much higher prices in the competitive marketplace. Some limited edition vehicles are in high demand as well; despite their more recent vintage, these cars are often highly prized and can go for extremely high prices at auction or in private sales. The rarity of a vehicle must be considered when establishing its fair market value and providing an appraisal to the owner or potential buyer.


Some vehicles are more valuable because of their association with individuals in the public eye. For example, Jay Leno’s prized Fiat 500 Prima Edition sold at the 2012 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance for $385,000, roughly 10 times its appraised value prior to the sale. Celebrity ownership is not the only way in which provenance can affect value; cars modified by Don Yenko, for instance, can often attract much higher prices from buyers than comparable vehicles without these customization options.

These factors can have a significant effect on the appraised value of vintage cars. By considering the condition, rarity, provenance and comparable prices for classic vehicles, owners and buyers can better understand the appraisal process and can ensure the right price for these elite cars and trucks.

The Mystique of Concours Quality Classic Cars

Achieving a concours quality restoration amounts to a Holy Grail of sorts for many classic car collectors. While show quality cars can vary widely in terms of workmanship and original appearance, concours quality vehicles have been restored to the highest standards of accuracy and craftsmanship to the precise condition in which these vehicles left the assembly line or showroom floor. The term concours quality is sometimes accidentally or deliberately misused by dealers or restoration experts to refer to a show-quality vehicle that does not meet the exacting standards required for true concours condition.

Defining Concours Quality

To achieve true concours condition, a classic must have all the original equipment present and in pristine condition. No additions or deletions can be made to the original manufacturer’s equipment list. Even upgrading the original equipment to incorporate air conditioning, antilock brakes or other safety and comfort features can prevent a vehicle from living up to the standards of concours quality in the eyes of a restoration expert. Simply put, concours quality is defined as the optimal original condition of a classic or vintage vehicle. Nothing has been added or removed from the original vision of the designers and manufacturers of these cars.

The Restoration Process

To return a vintage car to its original condition can entail a large investment in time and money for dedicated car collectors. Upholstery, dashboards and other interior equipment must be replaced or restored to the original specifications used by the manufacturer at the time of production. In some cases, these items may not be available as replacement parts and must be fabricated or reconstructed by a professional craftsman. Exterior body panels can be repaired or replaced with machined parts created from the same materials and to the same specifications as the originals. No upgrades can be made to bumpers, lighting systems or other equipment on the vehicle. Even the paint color must be matched to the original hues to ensure real concours condition.

Show Quality vs. Concours Quality

Show quality cars may incorporate modern equipment as part of the restoration process. These vehicles often include air conditioning systems, seat belts, modern upholstery and enhanced bumpers to improve comfort, ensure safety and bring the car into compliance with current safety regulations. By contrast, concours quality vehicles may not be street legal and may not include safety equipment required by state and federal law. These vehicles may only be suitable for auto shows and expos; however, they represent the state of the art in restoration and offer a glimpse of the automotive past for true connoisseurs of classic cars.

Creating a true concours condition vehicle can take years and may cost many thousands of dollars. However, the end result is a real automotive work of art that can be worth many times the initial financial investment. In most cases, restoring a classic car to concours quality standards is a labor of love that justifies the hefty price tag and provides a true sense of accomplishment for the dedicated classic car collector.

Eight Great Celebrity Car Collectors

The classic sports car has been immortalized in song, glorified on film and enshrined in literature. These stylish vehicles have had a significant impact on world culture and have earned their place in the highest echelons of the automotive world. Here are eight of the most devoted celebrity car collectors and their areas of expertise in the custom and classic car world.

Shaquille O’Neal

Known for his prowess on the basketball court, Shaquille O’Neal is also a noted collector of classic cars. His prized possessions include a stretch Lamborghini Gallardo and a Superman Cadillac Escalade.

Jerry Seinfeld

As a comedian, Jerry Seinfeld’s name has become synonymous with a whimsical and detached style of wit. As a car collector, however, Seinfeld has shown a marked preference for Porsche products and owns a 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder, a 1973 Porsche 911 and a 1959 Gmund Porsche.

Bill Goldberg

Noted wrestler Bill Goldberg made a major impact on fans and opponents in the WCW and WWE. His collection of American muscle cars includes a 1969 Dodge Charger, a 1963 Dodge 330, a 1970 Boss 429 Mustang and a 1965 Shelby Cobra replica.

Ralph Lauren

One of the premier clothing designers in the modern era, Ralph Lauren is known for his classic lines and timeless styling. His collection of European sports cars reflects this sensibility perfectly; his 1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SE 3.5 convertible is one of the highlights of his personal lineup of classic cars.

Tim Allen

A self-professed aficionado of muscle cars and hot rods, actor Tim Allen has amassed a sizable collection of classics during his nearly 40 years in show business. Among other classic vehicles, Allen owns a 1946 Ford convertible, a 1955 Ford Customline, a licorice-black Tim Allen Moal Roadster Special and a 1964 Chevrolet Chevelle SS.

Floyd Mayweather

A legend in the boxing world, Floyd Mayweather is currently the World Boxing Council welterweight champion and the World Boxing Association super welterweight champion. Mayweather owns two Rolls-Royce Phantoms and a rare Maybach 62.

Reggie Jackson

Mr. October really needs no introduction, especially among the many fans who followed his 20 years in Major League Baseball. Over the course of his career, Reggie Jackson won seven American League West pennants, four American League East pennants and two World Series titles. Jackson has dedicated his car collecting career to Chevrolet products and boasts a 1969 ZL1 COPO Camaro in his elite lineup of classic cars.

Jay Leno

Well-known comedian and former host of The Tonight Show, Jay Leno has made a name for himself in the field of television. His love for classic automobiles is no secret from his friends and fans; Leno has more than 100 cars from all eras of the automotive industry. Included in his collection are such rarities as the 1909 Baker Electric, the 1909 Stanley Steamer, the 1934 Rolls-Royce Phantom II and the 1931 Bentley 8-Liter.

While most classic car collectors lack the financial resources and the connections necessary to acquire vintage vehicles like the ones owned by these celebrities, finding and restoring the great sports cars of yesteryear is a hobby well worth the effort and expense.

Car Collectors Love of Cars Started at a Young Age

Mark Pieloch’s love affair with cars began when he was a child, riding alongside his older brothers in their 1960s muscle cars. An avid collector, his extensive collection of American classic and vintage cars contains some of the most unusual makes and models ever made in the United States. Pieloch also loves the challenge of bringing old, battered cars back to their original glory.

MP_3Pieloch’s first restoration project was borne of necessity. His dad gave him a 1967 Ford Ranch Wagon to use when he went to college. The car had over 130,000 miles on it and needed some work. Without the financial means to pay for someone to repair the car, Pieloch took the project on and restored it to brand new condition. He did such a good job that the car was stolen a month after he moved to Boston for school. But that didn’t deter him. His first project sparked his interest and he enjoyed the process of taking a beat-up car and restoring it so it performed and looked like new car. For Pieloch, restoration is an artistic challenge, much like creating a masterpiece. His next restoration project was a 1965 Mustang GT Fastback. After that, there was no stopping him. He restored several Mustangs, Camaros and Bel Airs, rarely selling any. After all of his hard work, he found it impossible to let them go.

The Mark Pieloch Classic Car Collection has over 130 classic and antique vehicles. All American made, each is either a low mileage original or full frame-off restoration, restored to national show-winning standards. The collection includes over 25 Indy 500 pace cars, including a rare 1955 Bel Air Convertible and a 1957 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser Convertible. Over 25 of the cars in the collection have less than 100 original miles. The collection contains a complete set of Boss Mustangs from 1969-1971. The collection has several very rare cars, such as a 1966 Yenko Corvair race car, a 1968 Yenko Camaro with only 5,800 original miles and a 1969 Yenko Camaro with 9,900 original miles that was Don Yenko’s personal car, known as “UNO.” One of the most rare cars in the collection is a 1972 Yenko Vega Wagon. Only 50 were ever produced and Pieloch’s is the only one known to still exist. His 1981 Yenko Camaro Stage III Turbo Charged is only one of three ever produced and the only one known in existence. Numerous 1955 and 1957 Chevrolets, Fords, Mercurys, Bel Airs, convertibles, Nomads and pickups round out the vehicle collection. His collection of classic cars has won over 80 First Place National Car Show awards.

In addition to the vehicles themselves, Mark also collects car-related memorabilia. Vintage artifacts include more than three dozen restored antique gas pumps, over two dozen restored antique pedal cars, over a dozen antique radios (including an extremely rare 1949 Coca Cola table top radio), more than a dozen restored antique balloon-tire bikes, over 100 restored neon auto signs, a restored 1952 Seeburg Model 100 jukebox and several antique restored soda coolers.

Currently, the Pieloch Classic Car Collection is located in Syracuse, Nebraska. Pieloch is building a new facility to house the collection in Florida. Completion is expected within the next two years.

Personal Car Collection Features Over 30 Vintage Corvettes

Mark Pieloch fell in love with cars at a young age. As a child in Massachusetts, his older brothers often let him ride along as they took drives in their 1960s muscle cars. Since then, he has restored and collected 130 antique and classic American vehicles. The collection currently boasts over 30 Corvettes.

Chevrolet, a division of General Motors (GM), manufactures Corvettes. Chevrolet has a long and storied history. In 1911, Louis Chevrolet and ousted GM founder William Durant started the Chevrolet Motor Company. In a reverse takeover, Durant acquired a controlling stake in GM, took over the presidency again and Chevy became part of GM. Although design work on the first Chevrolet began in 1911, the first model, the expensive Series C Classic Six, was not introduced until the 1913 New York auto show. The now famous bowtie symbol that signifies Chevy was first used in 1914. Over the years, Chevrolet and Ford engaged in competitive rivalry that still goes on today. The 1950s and 1960s were landmark years for Chevrolet. During this time period Corvettes and Corvairs were introduced, Chevrolet’s first fuel-injected engine made its debut and, by 1963, one in every 10 cars sold in the United States was a Chevy.

Although Chevrolets were wildly popular in the early 50s, they hadn’t ventured into the sports car arena. Triumphs, MGs and Jaguars were on the market, but GM’s reputation as a staid family-car manufacturer seemed to preclude sportier journeys. Designers inside the company, however, came up with an idea. Chief designer, Harley J. Earl, thought that there was a market for an affordable sports car and handed the idea to Robert McLean. McLean decided to use already available mechanical components, the same inline-6 engine used in other Chevy models but with a higher compression ratio and an aggressive cam that ramped the output to 150 horsepower. To keep the car affordable, the body was made of fiberglass, not steel. Ed Cole, Chevy’s new chief engineer, had been working on a small-block V8. He took over from there and, in 1953, the first Corvette was introduced.

MP_2The 1953 Corvette look sleek and futuristic, but it performed well below expected sports car standards. It was also costly for the consumer. Priced at $3,498, it was over $1,000 more than Chevrolet’s eight-passenger Deluxe station wagon. The 1954 model Corvette was relatively the same as the original, but consumers were given more color options to choose from. Big changes came in 1955. The small-block V8 was finally ready and a few 1955 models were powered by the new engine. The Corvette came of age in 1956 with its new engine, chrome teeth, scalloped flanks and a removable top option.

The early 1960s Corvettes had bigger and more powerful engines. Many Corvette enthusiasts tout the 1962 model as the greatest Corvette ever. In the mid-1960s, Chevrolet introduced the Corvette Stingray. With a new look and more efficient styling, the Stingray was wildly popular with consumers and sales topped over 20,000 in 1963. Many collectors consider the 1963-1967 Corvette models the best of the best. The Corvette is still manufactured today and Chevrolet recently reintroduced an updated Stingray. With over 30 vintage Corvettes, Mark Pieloch is proud to own these iconic symbols of America’s love of the open road.

A Classic Car Collection Celebrates the Muscle Cars

The Mark Pieloch Classic Car Collection features over 130 American-made classic and antique cars. Pieloch is an avid collector who loves to take a “sorry old car” and restore it back to its “brand new car” look. Although he collects cars of all makes and models, muscle cars from the 1960s through 1971 remain a favorite.

The muscle car designation refers to a specific group of American-made vehicles that boast a high-performance V-8 engine fitted into two-door mid or full-sized car. Car enthusiasts point to the 1949 Oldsmobile Rocket 88 as the birth of the muscle car concept. Designed by General Motors, the Rocket’s never-before-seen engine was the first high-compression overhead-valve V-8 in the United States. Competition soon followed and nearly every automaker came up with its own version of a lightweight but efficient V-8.

MP_1The 1950s muscle car was big. Safety concerns caused a decline in sales and auto manufacturers scaled back production. Research behind the scenes didn’t stop, however, and the muscle car surged back in the 1960s. Sportier looking cars had been introduced, as had smaller, compact models. Pontiac’s 1964 Tempest GTO brought the muscle car blazing back into the American scene. Looking like a typical mid-sized coupe or convertible, the GTO hid a powerful 389 V-8 engine that appealed to young and old alike. Competition followed almost immediately, with Oldsmobile, Buick and Chevrolet introducing their own versions.

Classic 1960s muscle cars include the Ford Fairlane, Dodge Charger, Chevy Camaro and Ford Mustang. Muscle cars were designed to grab the attention of young people who wanted an affordable high-performing streetcar with a sleek look.

The Chevy Camaro made its debut in September of 1966 for the 1967 model year. Developed to compete with Ford’s Mustang, the two-door Camaro was built on a newly designed rear-wheel drive F-body platform and sold as a coupe or convertible. The second generation Camaro was introduced in 1970 and sported a restyled larger and wider design.

Ford publicly introduced its iconic Mustang in 1964 at the New York World’s Fair. The design was based on existing Ford products to make it more affordable to consumers and less expensive to build. First generation models came in a notchback coupe or convertible style and had unique design touches that included a running horse on the grille and scallops along the flanks. The car went on sale on the lots of Ford dealers the same day it was introduced and surpassed the first-year 100,000 unit projected sales forecast in three months. The Boss Mustang was developed as an answer to the more powerful Chevy Camaro. The Ford Boss 302 engine was introduced in 1969. It was designed specifically to meet the Trans-Am series racing guidelines. The 1970 Boss Mustang could accelerate from 0-60 mph in 6.9 seconds.

Pieloch credits his older brothers’ good nature with sparking his love for classic 1960s and early 1970s muscle cars. His older brothers had numerous muscle cars and were happy to drive their kid brother around. The Mark Pieloch Classic Car Collection now features over 25 Camaros and a complete set of 1969-1971 Boss Mustangs. It’s truly a muscle car enthusiast’s dream.

Keys to Classic Car Restoration With Mark Pieloch

MP_4As a collector and admirer of antique and classic cars, Mark Pieloch has a fair amount of experience in managing auto-restoration projects. During the initial stages of any major restoration, it’s critical to perform a full inspection of the vehicle to identify any major mechanical problems and to compile a list of required repairs and replacements. In most cases, restoring an antique vehicle is not a profitable undertaking: It’s a labor of love. Nonetheless, aspiring restoration experts should have a clear idea of the expenses required before beginning a project to ensure they have sufficient funds to complete the task properly.

Mark Pieloch’s Car Collection Features Rare 1957 Indianapolis 500 Pace Car

As part of his extensive antique and classic car collection, Mark Pieloch has acquired a beautiful 1957 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser convertible that was used as a pace car for the Indianapolis 500 race. The Turnpike Cruiser was manufactured for the 1957 and 1958 model years and was available as a convertible during 1957. Designed specifically to serve as the pace car for the Indy 500, the Mercury Turnpike Cruiser convertible was later released for purchase by the general public. This elite sports car was painted a characteristic bright yellow that set it apart from its competition and ensured maximum visibility on the track.

Mark Pieloch: Don Yenko and the Muscle Car Mystique

Mark Pieloch is a longtime fan of Don Yenko and the vehicles he created during his 25 years in the performance modification marketplace. Yenko is known throughout the automotive industry as a leader in creating outstanding sports cars for auto racing and for use on public roadways. He began his second career in 1957 when he opened a shop catering to Chevrolet owners and dealerships and providing high-performance replacement parts and modifications for Chevy vehicles. Mods available from Yenko’s shop included steering enhancements, bodywork and upgraded engines. His technicians also performed transmission upgrades and installed aftermarket positraction, a limited-slip differential that provided improved traction on uneven terrain.

It was Yenko’s work with the Chevrolet Camaro, however, that brought him national attention and acclaim. When the Camaro was initially released in 1967, Yenko immediately began replacing the 6.4-liter engine with a 7.0-liter big-block V-8 lifted from the Corvette. This engine was capable of generating 430 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque, making it one of the true powerhouse engines in the marketplace at that time. Big-block V-8s were extremely popular among performance-minded buyers, and Yenko did a booming business in these modifications. He also worked on Novas and Chevelles and created a category of sports cars known colloquially in the automotive world as Yenko Super Cars.

Don Yenko’s legacy lives on in the Pieloch Classic Car Collection and continues to have an impact on the collector car market to the present day. Car enthusiasts like Mark Pieloch continue to honor Yenko’s memory by preserving the elite cars he created for future generations to enjoy.