It’s not Jay Leno or Ralph Lauren, but this Florida entrepreneur who has the largest collection of American muscle cars. The genius with humble beginnings started by collecting Matchbox models and went on to own 440 cars, which are now housed inside a 123,000-square-foot building

It takes a different kind of dedication to go from a Matchbox scale model collection as a kid, to one of the world’s largest car collections in the world. Mark Pieloch, a pharmaceutical entrepreneur, has done just that, with a collection of over 440 cars. It’s a collection that’s so large it’s been turned into the American Muscle Car Museum in Florida, a 123,000-square-foot ode to one man’s love of cars.

A drone view of the American muscle car museum. Via Facebook / @American Muscle Car Museum

Despite this Florida billionaire’s car collection overshadowing many others in sheer volume, Pieloch keeps a low profile, and is largely unknown, in part thanks to the museum only being open for private showings, not to the public. The 66-year-old’s Instagram account, for example, has under 500 followers. On the other hand, his collection of Yenko Chevys is the largest single collection of these very special muscle cars anywhere in the world.

Via Youtube / @Autogeek

The outright honor of the largest car collection in the world, without a doubt, goes to the Sultan of Brunei, with an estimated 7,000 cars. While the exact number of the cars in some other car collector’s garages can be quite a bit of hearsay and speculation, going by what we do know, it wouldn’t be a stretch to put Mark Pieloch’s car collection in the top three in the world, just by numbers.

Mark Peiloch with his 1966 Shelby Cobra. Via Facebook / @American Muscle Car Museum. Via Facebook / @American Muscle Car Museum

As the story goes, it all began with his family. Pieloch’s father and brother were into restoring cars, while an uncle owned a junkyard. It was only natural that Pieloch would turn to collecting Matchbox cars as a child, with money earned from chores. His first restoration was a 1967 Ford Ranch Wagon, which ended up getting stolen by thieves.

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Mark with his wife at the American Muscle car museum. Via Facebook / @American Muscle Car Museum

A pharmacist by education with patents to his name, Pieloch would go on to found several pet pharmaceutical companies and is currently the president of PF Inc, formerly Pet Flavors. Pieloch only started building his collection of cars relatively recently, in the year 2000. As he puts it in an interview with Highline Autos, he made deliberate buys, either from private parties or auctions. The collection grew slowly, and Pieloch has made special efforts to acquire low-mileage cars in great condition.

Via Youtube / @Autogeek

Of the 440 cars, spanning classic cars, muscle cars, tractors, and modern performance cars, 63 show less than 100 miles on the odometer. Another 70-odd vehicles have been driven less than 10,000 miles overall. It’s no mean feat finding cars like this, considering some are over 70 years old. All the cars in the collection, except the extremely low-mileage ones, are started and driven regularly to keep them working as they should. This is one car collector who goes to great lengths to make sure his collection is as much a museum, as it is a time capsule.

Via Instagram / @theamericanmusclecarmuseum

Some of the highlights include over 280 American muscle cars, making it the largest collection of muscle cars anywhere in the world. The obsession runs deep, the collection has 47 years of Indy 500 pace cars, spanning 1955 to 2017. Pieloch also owns eight Ford GTs in every production color available, including an original and highly sought-after actual Ford GT40 Le Mans racecar. The cherry on top has to be Pieloch’s collection of 26 Yenko Chevys, one for every model year and style built.

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Via Facebook / @American Muscle Car Museum

These came from one very special dealership owned by Don Yenko, who customized cars for customers with special orders. At the time, few dealers knew about the option to order cars from factory with non-regular engines, but Yenko did. He would then add extras, like special equipment like steering-column mounted tachometers, and tune these large-capacity engines to higher horsepower than standard. It all makes for some of the rarest, fastest, and most desirable versions of cars like the Chevelle, Camaro, and Nova. The American Muscle Car Museum has Yenkos from across the years, spanning 1966-2018, including Don Yank’s personal car.

Via Youtube / @Autogeek

Apart from his collection of 30+ Shelbys, including prototypes, Pieloch’s collection boasts of four-wheeled rarities, such as every model of the Porsche Tractor made. This is commendable because though these tractors were fairly popular overseas in the ‘50s and ‘60s, only 1,000 made it stateside.

The Porsche section. Via Youtube / @Autogeek

Pieloch isn’t just a muscle car fan either, there’s a staggering 66+ Porsches in the collection, from a 356 Limousine, 1971 Porsche Carrera RS Lightweight, a 930 Slantnose, nearly every generation of Porsche GT car, all the way up to the 2023 Porsche 911 Dakar.

Via Youtube / @Autogeek

The American Muscle Car Museum is open to private showings, and charity events. It’s often open to educational school visits as well, as often as twice a week. If that means more kids dream of turning their HotWheels and Matchbox collections into the real thing, we consider it a job well done.

Mark Peiloch and his wife in front of his 1966 Corvette. Via Facebook / @American Muscle Car Museum
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From crafting advertising copy to road testing the latest cars for leading automobile publications, Simran's passions haven taken him all over the world, over the last decade-and-a-half. He's now besotted with the irresistible charm of older cars, and can often be found polishing them to shiny perfection.