I have eight Ford GTs—one in each color produced.—Mark Pieloch
If you are lucky enough to pull in through the gate and park in one of the 10-foot-wide parking spots framed by massive solar-panel arrays, you are about to experience an amazing collection of vehicles. Pull open the front door of the American Muscle Car Museum and under the glow of LED lighting and neon signs are eight Ford GTs surrounding an original 427 Cobra, which may one day be swapped out for 2017 Ford GT.
“I have eight Ford GTs—one in each color produced,” Mark Pieloch told us casually.
Let that sink in for just a moment. The octet of Ford supercars is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to his personal collection, which is exactly why he is creating a museum for his collection of toy cars. He wants people to enjoy these cars as much as he does rather than having them hidden away in an anonymous warehouse.
Mark Pieloch was kind enough to give us a personal tour of the American Muscle Car Museum, which is a car enthusiast’s dreamland. It houses his personal collection of vehicles. While they aren’t all Fords, there are a substantial number of Blue Oval machines, and we lost track of how many times he told us the vehicles had a rare color combination or exceptionally low mileage; and he knew the details on every car right off the top of his head.
Hobby Gone Wild
“I have been in the car hobby, basically, since I was a little kid. …I used to take 50 cents and go buy a Matchbox car once a week after I did my chores,” Mark said. “My folks would give me 50 cents a week for allowance and I still have my Matchbox cars, I have just moved up to bigger cars.”
“It’s kind of a hobby gone wild,” he added. “I wanted to build a nice museum… and before you know it, it turns into a major project, but it will be well worth it.”
Having one Ford GT would be cool enough, but Mark has one of each color built from 2005 to 2006. This Speed Yellow 2006 Ford GT is one of 75 Ford built in this color and it only has 43 original miles on the odometer!
All the cars I have today are 100-percent original.—Mark Pieloch
That major project is a 123,000-square-foot facility on 42 acres. This green building receives much of its power from a giant grouping of solar panels, which will also provide convenient shade during car events. That power is put to good use in a heavily insulated building lit with LED lighting. Inside that massive building—constructed to withstand a fierce storm—is a collection of cars exceeding 240 in number and valued at over $28 million.
“I’ve been collecting cars since 1974. All the cars I have today are 100-percent original, so the color combinations may see are original. I don’t have any hot rods or modified cars, it’s all 100-percent stock,” he said. “My automobiles pretty much go from 1955 up through the current day. The most popular years are going to be 1969-1970, which is kind of the peak of the American muscle car period.”
The collection is brimming with Indy Pace Cars, including this mint 1979 Mustang, which is one of 2,106 built. It only has 300 miles on the clock.
After selling several businesses, Mark started looking for a location for this facility and he eventually settled on Melbourne, Florida, where he still runs his main business, PF Inc.
“My business I still have is my Pet Flavors company. We make flavors for the pharmaceutical industry that go into prescription drug products,” Mark said. “So if you give a flavored tablet to your dog for his arthritis or his heart-worm prevention, we make about 55 percent of the flavors that are sold worldwide for those products—all made right here in Melbourne, Florida.”
A centerpiece of the Ford collection is this restored 1966 427 Cobra. Not a low-mileage machine—it has 37,859 miles—but it is one 348 built. It will be on a turntable in the lobby of the museum for all the visitors to see as they walk in.
Moving and Shaking
In addition to moving to the area and building the facility, Mark has slowly been moving vehicles and other memorabilia to Florida. Besides the cars, visitors will be able to see everything from an Indian outboard motors and a Harley Davidson bicycles, to vintage soda coolers and plenty of neon signs.
The idea is to use the facility to host a variety of private events, from charity events to automotive introductions, and car shows to autocrosses. Yes, the museum grounds are large enough for some cone-carving and even setup to allow for some eighth-mile drag racing exhibitions. Besides all the fun stuff, Mark hopes to have plenty of young people visit to learn about cars.
Who doesn’t have a soft spot for Terminators? The museum collection features this 10th Anniversary 2003 Cobra convertible. It only has 23 miles on the odometer!
Savor The Flavor
Wonder how you might be able to finance an insane private auto museum of your own? Well, the simple answer is to invent something cool that people (or animals) really need. In Mark’s case, his company, Pet Flavors, makes medicine more palatable for animals. So when you don’t have to fight your pets to get them to take their meds, think of Mark. His company made your life a little easier.
Of course, Mark is the big kid at the center of all of this, and he does still enjoy driving some of his rare machines. One of his favorites is the Shelby F-150, which he says attracts looks and questions wherever he drives it.
“The third aspect that we want to get into is educational. I have started to talk to the Girls and Boys Club of America. We are talking to the public school system. We are also talking to FIT because they have a degree program in automotive technology,” he said. “So, eventually, we want to get the educational component in there also. If you can get kids through at a young age to hopefully catch the car bug, that’s the future of the hobby.”
We still have fond memories of wheeling one of these around what was then called Miller Motorsports Park (see Utah Motorsports Campus), but we never owned one. Mark owns two of them. This is silver 2008 Shelby GT500KR hasn’t made many laps. It only has 81 original miles.
When you have 250-plus cars, you can’t drive ’em all.—Mark Pieloch
“Some of the cars I drive, and some of the cars I just keep. When you have 250-plus cars, you can’t drive ’em all,” he said. “It’s impossible.”
Seeing all these cars isn’t impossible, but you will need a ticket to one of its events to take a look. The grand opening event, Rev Up For A Cure, took place on October 22 and benefitted the American Cancer Society. You can look for future events here if you would like an opportunity to check out this amazing collection.
One of a pair of rare modern bosses in the collection, this 2012 Boss 302 Laguna Seca is one of 767 built in that model year and it too has low miles, 119 to be exact. One of the few vehicles in the American Muscle Car Museum with higher mileage is a truck. That’s because Mark loves to drive this 700-horsepower pickup. The Blue Flame-painted truck is one of 500 built in the 2016 model year. While Mark is still on the hunt for a new Shelby GT350R, he does own this Triple Yellow 2016 Shelby GT350 that has a whopping 2 miles on the clock