The Lingenfelter Collection
Although over the years Detroit hasn’t exactly had a good reputation, and even with its billing as the Motor City, it’s unfortunately also known as one of the most dangerous cities in the country. And with manufacturers moving their production to other states and countries, Detroit’s future has become more and more bleak. But that doesn’t mean Michigan has lost all of its automotive glory; queue the Lingenfelter Collection.
Originally, the Lingenfelter name was an aftermarket tuning company for GM products. John Lingenfelter was the original owner and founder, and was an NHRA driver. Corvettes are of course a favorite for any tuning company, Lingenfelter included. When John was injured in Pomona and later lost his life to the crash, his cousin Ken Lingenfelter took over the company and started his famous collection here in Brighton, Michigan.
The main garage is split into three separate garages. The middle garage is the Corvette room. With at least two versions of every generation of Corvette included, it’s a dream for any Corvette fan. Along with the factory Corvettes, there’s also a large amount of Callaway Corvettes included.
Some, like this Callaway Speedster, which is one of 12 made, are what makes this garage so interesting, with it’s rare and unique American specialties.
This Callaway C16 Speedster was made to combat the Porsche 911 GT3 and Ferrari F430. The humps behind the seats are actually the helmets built into the car. No need to plan ahead for a race, they’re right there ready for you whenever. With a supercharged LS3 pushing 650HP, racing is something this car was made for, shame they aren’t as common as the F430. But with this being car #1 of 1 produced, this is as close as you can get.
No matter what genre of car, or what it’s purpose is, it seems that BBS meshes still make their way in somewhere. Although this car is bit of a mystery to me with both Callaway and Lingenfelter badges on it. But any twin turbo Corvette bearing the two names must be a powerful car. The last car to share the names was the Callaway Sledgehammer that put out 900HP and reached a top speed of 254.76mph, driven by John Lingenfelter himself.
Along the other side is the first generation of Corvettes. Possibly one of the best looking American sports car ever made. And definitely not a car that looks like it’d turn into the car it is today.
The Duntov Corvette is the first Corvette to have a small block V8. Before anyone really knew the Corvette, Duntov was working on this test mule to see what it could really do. In 1955 the car hit 163mph with the famous Duntov cam (A high-lift cam), making it the first true high performance Corvette.
Along with the other special Corvettes, this is the 1954 Styling Corvette. It may not be the most exciting looking car, but knowing the history makes it pretty amazing.
Moving on to the second generation, with this one owned by Nicholas Cage. Did he sell this before his money crisis? Aside from that, the 427 V8 with a four on the floor definitely doesn’t hurt.
Now one of my favorite cars, the Greenwood Corvette. Based off the IMSA Corvettes in the mid to late ’70s, the Greenwood comes with the wide body kit influenced by Duntov and exhaust made for street and track use designed John Greenwood. With the wide body kits that are showing up now, it seems like a perfect car nowadays. Only 22 Greenwood Corvettes were produced, so again it’s a pretty rare car.
Back to the Callaways, the C12s always catch my eye when I visit the garage. Their long noses and huge headlights remind of the GT cars from road racing in the ’90s. Understandable since the C12 was raced in Le Mans in 2001, where it achieved pole in its class. Again a rarity, only 20 of these cars where produced, Lingenfelter must also like the C12, having three. The two you see here and one other….
The Inky Blue C12. It may just look like a dark blue color, but the entire car is bare carbon fiber. The goal was to show off what Callaway could do with the IVM Directional Carbon Weave.
Along with collection Corvettes, Lingenfelter also makes and has various recreations. Like this 50th anniversary Corvette. For being a 2003 Corvette, Classic Reflection defiantly knows what they’re doing to recreate the lines of the original Corvette.
Lingenfelter also threw his hat in the recreation ring with their Trans Am replica. Named the LTA Camaro, it just doesn’t quite fit the original TA, but trying to take a car like the modern Camaro and replicate such a smooth car like the TA is going to be tough.
To finally finish off the middle garage, there’s the Camaro drag car. No tuning company would be complete without their own showroom stock drag car to show off the power and capability of their products.
A quick look into the third room shows the muscle car collection from various manufacturers. A little biased to GM with a good 80% from them, there’s still a good mix of the American muscle car
I grew up with hot rods and muscle cars before I was introduced to the import and European scene. And one car that has always captivated me is the ’71 Camaro. The “Spilt Bumper” is one of my favorite designs from any muscle car. The four lights and open grill sticking out from the rest of the car just gives it a look all its own.
Ford’s corner may be little, but it definitely isn’t something to brush off. The 2010 GT500 and 1967 GT500 are two of the best Mustangs to come off the line. Granted, Vaughn Gittin’s RTR is a pretty mean Mustang, but you can’t beat the GT500.
If anyone has played Gran Turismo 3, I’m sure you recognize the SVT Cobra R. Sure, the 2000 Mustang wasn’t the best looking, but the aggressive kit on the Cobra R definitely makes it look good. With that and a V8 5.4L out of the truck line, it’s quite a beast. Also with a limited run of 300, it’s not a common one, just like everything else.
And now for something completely different, some big American cruisers. Although this one isn’t what you’d expect. It’s a Pontiac Can Am from 1977 and was meant to be a high performance cruiser. Originally a Pontiac Le Mans, it was sent out to the company that gave it the paint, decals, and swapped in a 6.6L Pontiac 400, pushing a whopping 200HP.
Then there’s the Monte Carlo SS Aerocoupe. Knowing that Monte Carlos weren’t the hot car back in the ’80s, the Aerocoupe changed that. Only 200 Aerocoupes were made to satisfy the NASCAR officials to allow the Aerocoupe to race in the series. I must admit for a Monte Carlo, this one looks really good.
Front wheel drive isn’t the best drive train for a car, but the Toronado sure does look good in my eyes. It’s big, two door, and has a good shape. It’s the first front wheel drive car made in America since the Cord, so I guess this car is the reason for the FWD wave that came over America later on.
For being a large collection of fine automobiles, the amount of race cars is pretty low, two to be exact. This Funny Car from 2007 driven my Mike Ashley was sold to Lingenfelter at the Barrett Jackson auction to help support a foundation that makes custom wheelchairs and supports paralyzed people and educates the public on how to avoid accidents that could result in a paralyzing injuries.
The other race car is a Car of Tomorrow Impala driven by Jimmie Johnson.
And saving the best for last, if anyone has heard of the Lingenfelter Garage, you’d know the supercar garage. It’s the first garage you walk into when you enter and if you’re interested in supercars, you probably wouldn’t even leave. It’s easily the most crowded garage during an open house.
It’s a pretty diverse mix, but all the cars are still high performance in their own way. Porsche 928, Cadillac CTS-V, and a Ford GT. And that’s just the basic cars.
Any collection need s a GT-R, that’s no debate. This GT-R is on Bridgestone Blizzak tires, which shows it’s ready to be driven any time not just a garage queen. And in reality, Lingenfelter does take many of his cars out often, attending various shows around the state, and every now and then taking them out for a drive.
The Porsche 959, not much else you can really say about it. It’s the first wll wheel drive Porsche, raced Le Mans and the Dakar Rally, there were only 292 ever made and it was never actually legal in the United States. It’s definitely a car any car enthusiast would love to have.
Right next to it is its younger and crazier relative, the Porsche Carrera GT. The 5.7L V10 has one of the best exhaust notes out there, especially with the straight pipe modification. The flat and swoopy body lines look different from any other Porsche. And being in Michigan, I can’t imagine there are too many others around here either.
I love the single lug in race cars, and I love the one lug on the GT. If I had the money, I’d have a single lug conversion on my 240 tomorrow, but until then I can only dream.
The American supercar scene is pretty well represented with the twin turbo Saleen S7. American cars aren’t exactly the top of the food chain cars, but the S7 definitely gets close.
And the probably forgot Shelby Series 1. When they weren’t working on Mustangs, Shelby decided to take a stab at cars themselves. It somewhat has the looks of the original Cobra with a little more body added on. And surprise surprise, this is just one 249 produced.
One of the oddest cars in the collection, is their Vector M12. The car was set on a lengthened Diablo chassis with a Lamborghini 5.7l V12. It’s an acquired taste for sure, it screams ’90s from every angle and makes you want to just look at it from every angle. And the production number here? 17.
Although Lingenfelter was based on GM, the Italians hold the most impressive collection here. First off is the beautiful Alfa Romeo 8C. There are some cars that look good from a certain view, the 8C however, looks good from whichever angle you look. Although it may not be the best driver’s car, it’s certain to be one of the best looking cars on the road.
And to the most impressive and most famous part of the garage. The Ferrari row: 288 GTO, F40, Enzo, F430 16M Scuderia, 599GTO, 575 SuperAmerica, and the FF. Not much else to say really, hard to pick one favorite out of this line up, but if I have to, the 288 GTO is my pick.
McLaren brought out one of their MP4-12Cs to show at the open house. I’m sure sooner or later there will be one in the collection. Or maybe he’ll wait for the P1?
While walking around in the second garage, there was a commotion in the first garage. Obviously the noise of some car, it seemed like a vacuum was switched on and sucked 99.9% of all the people into that garage.
The centerpieces however are the Reventon and Veyron. This is number 12 of 20 built. This is one car that is driven fairly often to shows around Michigan. There’s even a video of it being driven in the rain. That’s how you own a supercar. After the McLaren rep did his thing, Lingenfelter had to show him up. One of the first cars he went to was the Reventon, but due to a dead battery, it was left to charge while he started other cars. With a crowd following him to ever car and clapping after every one.
And to finish, two of the most expensive cars in Michigan. Even though Michigan has been struggling for the past years, there’ still some incredible cars here. Although it’s no Southern California (I wish), this is our little piece of automotive heaven. With only one Ferrari dealership and one Lamborghini dealership in Michigan, Lingenfelter keeps us on the map with his collection. And with the Ferrari F70 debuting at Detroit next year, who knows how long until it’s in here?