Rick Treworgy bought his first car when he was 14 in the mid-60s. He was buying and selling cars in high school; eventually, his side hustle became a habit, and over time he amassed hundreds of cars. In an exclusive interview with The Drive, Treworgy told me that having a museum was always a dream of his, and he opened Muscle Car City 14 years ago. On January 22 and 23, his whole collection will be sold by Mecum Auctions at the museum in Punta Gorda, Florida, which is about 100 miles south of Tampa.
Considered one of the best collections of General Motors cars in the world, Treworgy’s collection is centered on Chevrolet, including 80 Corvettes of every generation. Even a 2020 C8 is on the block with less than 300 miles on the odometer; he says he has his eye on a 2022 Z06, which is expected to have a 5.5-liter V8 and a Ferrari-like flat-plane crank. He knows the 2020 model will fetch a solid price and he figured he would have traded it in for the Z06 anyway.
While he was planning to retire and sell his museum collection next year, the coronavirus slowed his traffic to a trickle and his friend Dana Mecum suggested that the time to sell was sooner than later. Just about everything in his massive building–which used to be a supermarket–will be sold, including a collection of high-performance Chevelles, Camaros, El Caminos, 442s, and GTOs.
I’ve visited this muscle car museum at least twice with my parents and I’m sad to see it go. I asked Treworgy what he’s going to drive now and he told me he’s still keeping a mini-museum at his home with about 50 of his favorites. Twenty of those are 1967 Corvettes in every color and a 6,000-square-foot building that houses Chevy parts. I asked him to adopt me and he declined, with a laugh. His daughter will have the pick of what he has in his own personal collection, and I am more than a little envious. Can you imagine how incredible his car playground must be?
Treworgy’s expensive hobby will pay off for him at the auction, but his advice for prospective collectors is “don’t ever do this if you want to make money.”
Muscle Car City will close its doors on January 17 and the auction will take place on-site on January 22 and 23. A year ago, Mecum Auctions made a big investment in its online auction platform, which will supplement the balance of the traffic after filling a limited number of seats in person. I have my eye on a turquoise 1957 Cameo and a 1967 Corvette restomod that I’ll be dreaming about long after they’re sold. It’s going to be bittersweet for Treworgy, who loves every one of these vehicles.
“These cars are physical things you shouldn’t care about, but when you collect, you do.”