Mark Pieloch started learning body and paint work while he was still in high school in the little town of Groveland, Massachusetts, and that led to restoration projects, 10 of them over his first 30 years. He left all that behind to become a very successful entrepreneur, patenting and manufacturing specialized veterinary pharmaceuticals.
Then he started collecting muscle cars, and now he owns one of the largest collections in the world, housed in a gorgeous 123,000 square-foot museum near Melbourne, Florida.
His 248 perfectly maintained cars are from every part of the car world. The lobby contains some but not all of his Ford GT 40, Ford GT, and Shelby Cobra collection. The rest are in the giant main room, bright as daylight, spotlessly clean, and without a single pillar.
Along one wall is his collection of Yenko Chevrolets, at least one of every Yenko muscle car ever built in Pennsylvania by the dealer/racer Don Yenko. There are more than 40 of them here.
On the opposite wall is his complete collection of Indianapolis 500 pace cars, 45 of them and counting, right up to the 2017 Camaro pacer.
The pace car collection faces a row of high-performance Mustangs that goes on until sunrise.
The middle of the room contains a string of Camaros, another string of Mustangs and Shelbys, a long string of Corvettes, and a gaggle of Ford retractable hardtops 1957-1959.
Backing up the other GM cars, Oldsmobiles, Buicks, and Pontiac GTOs is the foreign muscle group, Ferraris and Porsches, including a group of sweet vintage 911s, a Carrera GT and a 918 Spyder, along with the obligatory Rolls-Royce convertible. Then there are the MoPars, a huge group of 440 6-Pak and Hemi cars and a Viper with only 18 miles on it.
On the far short wall, there’s a nice group of Dale Earnhardt and Goodwrench-black Chevrolets.
The entire building is festooned with a million dollars’ worth of vintage, restored and repro automotive neon signs. Bicycles, outboard motors, gas pumps and kiddie rides complete this amazing collection.
There’s a hitch. It’s not open to the public. Pieloch operates his collection on an appointment and invitation-only basis, hosting school kids, sick kids, shop students, seniors, the military, veterans, and special guests like recent visitors Edsel B. Ford II, the US Air Force Thunderbirds pilots and ground crew, and students from McPherson College in Kansas who specialize in automotive restoration.
He and his small crew of employees look for very, very good original and restored cars on the open market and refurbish them in their on-site shop, but they don’t do restoration work.
The museum closes from Memorial Day to Labor Day to give the staff and volunteers and chance to take a breath between events.
This article, written by Jim McCraw, was originally published on ClassicCars.com, an editorial partner of Motor Authority.