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Muscle on the Block

Christenholz Muscle Collection headed to Mecum Indy auction.

As reported in the recent issue of Old Cars Weekly, Mecum Auto Auctions will present a series of live-televised, Saturday-night auctions beginning March 29 from the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis. The auctions will continue through May 17, and each three-hour, televised segment will feature 60 collector vehicles crossing the auction block.

These televised auction segments are a lead-in to the May 16-17 Mecum Spring Classic Auction that will also take place at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, one week prior to the Indianapolis 500, and will feature 1,000 collector vehicles offered for sale. A featured part of the lineup already consigned for this sale is the Dave Christenholz Collection of muscle cars and automobilia.

The Dave Christenholz Collection of muscle cars that will be offered for sale at the Mecum Spring Classic Auction includes this 1970 Buick GSX Stage 1 hardtop. (Meredyth Albright photo)

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Christenholz’s collection is comprised of 21 muscle cars that include the “A list” of any enthusiast’s most-wanted performance machines. Among the cars are a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL-1 coupe, ’70 Dodge Hemi Coronet R/T convertible, ’70 Buick GSX Stage 1, ’68 Shelby Mustang GT500KR convertible, ’70 Oldsmobile 4-4-2 W30 convertible, ’69 Chevy Yenko Chevelle hardtop, ’70 Pontiac GTO “The Judge” Ram Air IV convertible and ’69 Ford Mustang Boss 429 fastback.

In addition to his impressive muscle cars, Christenholz also amassed a 150-piece collection of automobilia and petroliana – primarily neon-based signs – that will also be auctioned.

Building his collection

Christenholz relocated from Chicago to the Scottsdale, Ariz., area in 1982. Passionate about cars since the age of 16, he chose to assemble a car collection focused on the highest horsepower/largest engines offered by each manufacturer that were available to the public during their respective periods of production.

Christenholz initially identified a list of the top 50 muscle cars built. Next, he studied Web site for information on power-to-weight ratios and other details. He then tweaked the list based on his personal preference and made sure there was no replication.

The majority of the cars were purchased by private treaty, and a few were purchased at auction. Often, a car was purchased and then sold to “trade up” to a better pedigree. In some cases, this was done multiple times to arrive at the desired car.

It has taken Christenholz approximately 10 years to amass his collection that includes Dodge, Plymouth, Chevrolet, Pontiac, Ford, Oldsmobile and Buick. There are also specialty vehicles within the marques, produced by Yenko and Shelby.

Regarding advice to those who are interested in building a significant collection, Christenholz explained, “Be patient in building your collection. Don’t just invest. Find cars you really want and like. Look for cars you want to drive and look at, not just cars that have a great price tag.”

Commenting on cars at auction, Christenholz remarked, “I am not the star, the cars are the star. I believe celebrities often harm cars at auction.”

For more information on this collection, visit

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