Rick Treworgy’s Muscle Car City is one of the biggest collections of high-performance American cars in the world. With over 200 cars of mostly GM makes, it’s a mecca for fans of the golden age of Detroit iron. Unfortunately, the museum will be shutting its doors for good on Jan. 17 and auctioning off most of its assets with no reserve.
The collection is, to put it bluntly, astounding. Advertised as a combined 65,000-plus horsepower, it occupies a 60,000-square-foot retail space in Punta Gorda, Fla., in a former Walmart store. It make sense when you learn that founder Rick Treworgy made his fortune in the commercial real estate business. As a hobby, he began to amass a truly jaw-dropping collection of muscle cars, filling out a collection that often has every year of a particular model represented, or a grouping of the rarest and highest-performance option packages of that year or model.
Often, Treworgy bought placeholders while scouring the country for even rarer versions. It helps that Muscle Car City also houses a showroom where unwanted cars are sold, as well as its own speed shop that stocks plenty of parts. There’s even a ’50s-style diner called Stingray’s Bar and Grill.
According to a 2014 episode of Car Crazy, Treworgy has 80 Corvettes alone, more than the actual Corvette Museum. Among them are 20 models from 1967, one of Treworgy’s favorites. The rest span the decades from 1954 (he once had a ’53 but sold it) to a recently acquired 2020 C8, which, according to The Drive, has only 300 miles on the odometer.
You like Impalas? There are models of every year from 1958 to 1969. El Caminos? He’s got ’em from 1964 to 1972. Novas? Every year from 1963 to 1970 is represented. Most are the more desirable examples of each breed, with four-speed transmissions, the biggest blocks, and unicorn option packages like a factory 1965 Z16 SS396 Chevelle, one of 200 that were ordered off-menu at Chevy dealerships.
And don’t even get us started on the Camaros, which include not one, but two COPO 1969s. Treworgy even owns the only known surviving example of a 1936 Chevrolet Phaeton, of which only seven were built.
On top of it all, many of these cars are concours quality and have won awards at prestigious car shows.
While it’s sad to see a collection like this broken up, Treworgy told The Drive that he’d been planning to retire next year anyway. However, the COVID-19 pandemic sped up those plans, greatly reducing the number of visitors to his museum. His friend Dana Mecum of Mecum Auctions convinced him to move up the timeline. The auction will take place Jan. 22-23 at the museum.
Treworgy said that he didn’t build the museum to make money, and in fact it doesn’t. But over the years, the cars have been a better investment than stock and real estate.