Mike Musto is the host of “Big Muscle”, a weekly video series hosted on YouTube’s Drive Channel. As the link indicates, this week’s show has Mike visiting one of the most revered and well-known private owner car collections – The Lingenfelter Collection located in Brighton, MI.
The Lingenfelter Collection is home to some 200 rare, unique and vintage performance automobiles plucked up over the course of 40 years by its owner Ken Lingenfelter. Ken is a distant cousin of legendary drag racer and performance engineer John Lingenfelter and had the means and opportunity to purchase Lingenfelter Performance Engineering, a company created and built by John, back in 2008 five years after John’s untimely death due to injuries sustained during a racing event.
This episode focuses on two very important vehicles in the Lingenfelter Collection – 1954 Duntov Mule Test Corvette and the 1993 Lingenfelter Z01 Corvette. Both cars are significant for their historical perspective and their performance level. The 1954 Duntov Corvette was a prototype vehicle (EX-87) with a prototype V-8 engine installed and then turned over to Zora Duntov to “play with” and hop up. Duntov promptly headed down to Smokey Yunick’s shop and together they redesigned the 283 cid engine into a 307 cid. Duntov headed back to GM to engineer a prototype solid lifter camshaft and thus the legendary 30-30 Duntov Cam was born. After the testing was completed, the engine parted ways with the body and ended up under a cover in Yunick’s shop (with full documentation attached to it). After Smokey’s death in 2001, his wife came across the engine and it was eventually reunited with the body in 2003. Lingenfelter purchased the vehicle at an auction in 2009 for $315,000.00+. Today it is valued at over $1,000,000.00.
The 1993 Lingenfelter Corvette is according to their website: “This Lingenfelter 1993 ZR1 wide body Corvette is powered by a Lingenfelter 415 CID LT5 engine. This Corvette was the first LPE ZR1 body kit car that was built and features a custom hood, front fascia, side skirts and rear fascia with LPE logo. The 415 CID engine produces over 600 horsepower and had a unique remote activated exhaust cut out system for straight through flow.” Yes, you read that right – a turn of a key and you have straight through flow of the exhaust system! If you have never heard an open exhaust system on a big block engine, you’ve got to watch this video.
In reviewing Lingenfelter’s vast and eclectic collection, one vehicle in particular stands out, the 1966 Ford Fairlane 500 GT. Called a “Ford Factory Lightweight”, this bad beast was 1 of only 57 manufactured and came with a 427 cid engine cranking out 425 hp through the utilization of a mechanical solid lifter cam. The hood and its’ scoop are one piece fiberglass and the interior and suspension were modified at the factory for performance. This Fairlane turned a ¼ mile in under 13.0 seconds and had a 0 – 60 mph time of less than 6 seconds. If this seems like nothing great, consider that your average grocery getter or urban driver (Chevrolet Tahoe – current year model) has a 0 – 60 time of 7.9 seconds. And I know it is not nearly as fun to drive as this ride.