In fact, a walk inside the building reveals few clues. Sure, there are automotive-themed images on the walls, but like most other industrial buildings, the front is office space. It's when you walk through the doorway at the rear of the offices that a whole new world opens up—much like when Dorothy lands in Oz, and the movie turns from black-and-white to color. There are cars everywhere, and your eyes struggle to focus on only one at a time. That's difficult, because every car in the building is a specialty, one-of-a-kind, or super-rare model.
There are three "rooms" comprising the collection: European sports cars and exotics (including a Bugatti Veyron, a Lamborghini Reventón, and a Ferrari Enzo), American muscle cars, and, at the center, Corvettes. As we mentioned, it's a fluid collection, so the cars are parked sort of haphazardly, reflecting their constant movement to and from auctions, as well as transportation to countless cars shows and concours. Lingenfelter is a board member of the former Meadowbrook Concours d'Elegance, which has changed its name to the Concours d'Elegance of America, reflecting its historic move away from Meadowbrook Hall to the Inn at St. Johns, in Plymouth, Michigan, for 2011. His cars are regular fixtures at the prestigious event, and are also seen at shows throughout Michigan and around the country.
While all Corvette generations are represented, C1, C2, and C6 models make up the majority. The range includes everything from a '53 model to the newest-of-the-new ZR1, with all the major milestone cars on the timeline between them. Notable examples include:
&bull The only known supercharged '53 model
&bull The C1 Duntov "test mule"
&bull A big-block midyear previously owned by actor Nicolas Cage.
On the late-model side, there are several Callaway cars, a C4 Guldstrand roadster, a Pratt & Miller C6RS, and several Specter Werkes/Sports–built cars, including the blue twin-turbo GTR that was a hit at the 2009 SEMA Show and the subject of a VETTE cover story. The turbo system is an LPE item.
Lingenfelter's collection is an evolving entity. He is always buying and selling vehicles, but he tells us he is constantly on the lookout for significant models, concepts, and one-offs.
"There are so many great cars out there," he says. "It's thrilling to search for them."
Obviously, the photos of the collection say a lot more than our words could convey, so we're keeping the copy to a minimum here. We simply don't have the space to catalog every Corvette in the collection—and besides that, some of them are bound to have changed in the time it took us to photograph, write, and publish this story.
More than a dream in living reality, Lingenfelter's cars represent the payoff for an entrepreneurial work ethic that is classically American. To us, that makes it more inspirational than enviable. But no matter how you view it, it's a helluva great collection of some of the greatest Corvettes ever built.