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.
The 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.
As 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.
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 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.
As a serious collector of antique and classic cars, Mark Pieloch has chosen to focus his collection on American vehicles. By narrowing the range of the Pieloch Classic Car Collection primarily to the elite muscle cars manufactured during the 1960s and 1970s, Pieloch can highlight the exceptional quality and styling of these powerful vehicles. Automakers like Ford, Chevrolet and Dodge created a new paradigm for U.S. vehicles and created the enduring legend of the open road.
Most experts trace the birth of the American muscle car to the 1964 Pontiac Tempest GTO. Based on the existing Tempest model and designed by John DeLorean, the vehicle featured a package of upgrades that included a powerful V-8 engine. This enhanced power plant produced 350 horsepower and could accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour in less than seven seconds, making it one of the fastest cars available at the time. In 1966, the GTO was released as a standalone model and received critical and popular acclaim in the automotive world.
Although the heyday of the muscle car was during the 1960s, advances in engineering have allowed even better acceleration and increased power for many modern vehicles. The Pieloch Classic Car Collection incorporates popular vehicles manufactured during the 1950s, 60s and 70s with a few elite cars of more recent vintage. Pieloch’s ongoing work in preserving and collecting these vehicles will allow future generations to explore and experience the beauty and power of classic and antique American cars for many years in the future.
For Mark Pieloch, collecting antique and classic muscle cars has been an ongoing passion for many years. The Pieloch Classic Car Collection includes a number of rare vehicles that include the following:
- A unique 1981 Yenko Camaro Stage III Turbocharged modified by world-famous race car driver Don Yenko
- A 1968 Yenko Camaro with just 5,800 original miles
- The UNO car driven by Don Yenko as his personal car; this vehicle has 9,900 original miles on its odometer
- The SCCA Class D National Champion 1966 Yenko Corvair race car
Pieloch’s collection also includes cars that have served as pace cars and show cars in major events around the country. The Pieloch Classic Car Collection boasts more than 25 Indianapolis 500 pace cars. A 1957 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser convertible pace car and a 1955 Bel Air Convertible pace car are among the exceptional vehicles showcased in Mark Pieloch’s collection.
Pieloch has also amassed 10 classic Ford Shelby Cobra muscle cars. A joint venture between AC Cobra and Ford Motor Company, the Shelby AC Cobra represents one of the shining achievements in the automotive world. One of Pieloch’s most prized possessions is his 1966 Shelby 427 Cobra, widely regarded as a classic by auto experts, thanks to its powerful V-8 engine and style.
The Pieloch Classic Car Collection is currently located in Syracuse, Nebraska, but will soon find a new home in Florida in facilities built specifically to house these classic cars. Mark Pieloch expects to continue adding to the collection for many years to come.