PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Just a few minutes off I-95 is a museum of muscle cars: The LRA Auto Museum.
At his shop and museum in Bristol, Bucks County, Rob Leipziger is living a boyhood dream.
“When I grew up, 13 years old, I started working at a gas station. I got to wax ’em,” Rob said. “One of the fellows had a ’68 Chevelle Big Block 375 car, and the thing was a rocket ship. That’s where I really developed a love of all these cars.”
These cars are rare gems. They were meant to literally be sacrificed for speed.
“Every one of these cars, the survival rate is nil because everybody raced them,” Rob said. “You’d miss a gear–it’s a solid lift camshaft motor–and you’d hurt the motor. That was the end of the car.”
The cars here were rescued from potential wreckage.
“They look great,” Meisha said.
“A lot of the cars are restored. There’s no doubt about it,” Rob said.
“They look so perfect.”
“That’s what you want.”
It helps to learn the numbers. Engine size was measured in cubic inches, followed by horsepower, a measure of the muscle strength of these muscle cars.
Like a green and white 1967 427 435 Corvette Sting Ray: “Electric windows, original motor trans.”
Meisha said, “How much is this?”
“This one probably worth every bit of $250,000 or better, ’cause it’s real,” Rob said.
The car was originally sold at a Chevrolet dealership on Broad Street. Decades later, Rob found it in Manheim, California, verified its authenticity, and brought it back to Philadelphia.
“It’s funny,” Rob said. “The cars are same as people. They go away and then they come home.”
“Isn’t that the truth!” Meisha said.
A white Camaro RS/SS with a red interior was made specifically as a pace car for the 1969 Indy 500.
“This beauty caught my eye,” Meisha said.
“There’s less than 700 of these that were made,” Rob said.
Another car is “like a boss,” Meisha joked. “Why does this say Boss 429? What’s significance of that?”
“These are really rare. This is a real 29,000 mile Boss 429, all original,” Rob said. “The only thing that we did to the car, and believe me I took a lot of (flack) over it, we did paint it. Still the original seat covers, rugs, floor mats…”
“It’s absolutely stunning,” Meisha said.
Rob is collecting the next generation of muscle cars, like a 2012 Copo Camaro, made specifically for drag racing.
“It’s not street legal. They only made 69 of them,” Rob said. “When there’s only 69 of ’em, I just believe that history is going to repeat itself.”
You can find LRA Auto Museum and Sales at 3114 Veterans Highway, Bristol, PA, 19007. Admission is free. Hours are 9am to 5pm Monday through Friday, 10am until 3pm on Saturday.