Muscle Car City provides a festival of GM power

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Chevys dominate the displays at Muscle Car City. The first year of the second-generation Corvette was 1956, and this one, mounting two four-barrels, leads the pack of '50s Corvettes. Note the custom murals on the walls and the extensive collection of neon signs. Fabulous atmosphere | Jim McCraw photos

Rick Treworgy has a problem.  Every time his car collection grows by a lot, he has to buy, renovate and redecorate another former Wal-Mart to house the cars.

Treworgy, who made his fortune in construction and real estate, has been buying, selling, restoring and showing cars since he bought his first car, a 1955 Chevy Bel Air convertible, a long time ago, and now he houses more than 200 of his cars at his Muscle Car City Museum in Punta Gorda, Florida.  

The other 80 or so cars he keeps in a building on his property about a quarter of a mile away from the museum.  In his home garage, there are 20 ’67 427 Corvettes. 

From the outside, you would never believe that this building used to be a WalMart, now festooned with red, white and blue paint and home to more than 200 cars, trucks, motorcycles and hot rods

He started his collection with one Chevy, and now his museum sports every kind of Chevy you can imagine, dating to a 1914 Royal Mail roadster.  There are so many Tri-5 Chevys here they take up most of the 50,000 square feet of floor space in three rows, virtually every body and engine combination ever offered between 1955 and 1957, including wagons and Nomads.

Over there, there is the Chevelle/Malibu collection, including some very rare cars like the Z-16 big block from 1965.

On this side of the building is the late Chevelle and Malibu collection, again including just about every high-performance permutation that Chevrolet built for its midsize muscle cars.  Behind them is a very tasty row of El Caminos.  

In the front of the building is the Corvette collection, starting with a 1953 and spiced with some rare ZL-1 and Z06 models, and a bunch of 427s. Yes, of course, he has an original’63 split window, and another split-window that’s been treated to the resto-mod treatment.

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The Chevrolet collection includes a number of early roadsters from the 1920s and 1930s and an outstanding collection of commercial trucks.  There are not one, but two, 1935 Suburbans from the first year of production, one restored and one original in excellent condition for its age. And a ’69 COPO Camaro.  And a gorgeous ’32 Chevy street rod.  And a ’62 bubbletop 409.

The other divisions of GM have not been ignored. Treworgy owns a bunch of Cadillacs from the 1959-1960 big-fin era, a slew of high-performance Pontiacs from the first GTO in 1964 to some wonderful 389 Tri-Power Catalinas, a Hurst Olds pace car and a Buick here and there.

If you like Chevelles and Malibus, you will find a treasure trove at Muscle Car City, arcing around from the wall to the front entrance, almost

 The oddball stuff in this beautifully decorated and nicely lit building include a 1920s Bonneville car, a Boss Hoss motorcycle powered by a GM 502 V8 crate motor, a string of Whizzer motorbikes, a beautiful collection of kids’ pedal cars, and some nifty Schwinn bicycles.

The museum, formerly located in another former big-box store a few miles away in Port Charlotte, hosts frequent car shows and swap meets in its parking lot.

So, if you’re planning a Florida vacation, one of the places that should be on your bucket list after you’ve done Disney is this amazing collection of American muscle.

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Jim McCraw has been writing about cars, motorcycles, design, technology, car people and racing for 50 years, in such publications as Hot Rod Deluxe, Super Chevy, Muscle Mustangs, Road & Track, Car and Driver, Popular Mechanics, Popular Science, Penthouse, Winding Road, The Mercedes-Benz Star, AutoWeek, The New York Times, and a number of European publications. He was executive editor of Motor Trend, editor of Hot Rod and Super Stock. He co-holds the record for the drive from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, to Key West, Florida, 96:22, and has run in major events such as the Mille Miglia Storica in Italy, Goodwood, the California Mille, the Colorado Grand, the New England 1000, Forza Mille, and four One Lap Of America competitions He owns a pristine Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Been going to Muscle Car City for the past 4 or 5 years when I go down for the Indy Car race weekend in March.
    Every year it gets better and better with new additions to the collection.
    Truly urge everyone to go for a great nostalgic experience! Plan on going for the day because there’s so much to see.
    I am looking forward to going next year and I bet Rick will have the new C-8 Corvette added to his collection!
    Everything and every car is immaculate!! Well worth the price!

  2. Just wondering if you still have the 35 Chevy Canopyexpress , that you purchased from a person in West Virginia and has anything been done to it ? The last time I saw it, AC had been installed and tire rims replaced. I wanted to buy it back, but asking price was more than I could afford.
    Thanks, Bud Perry

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