If we said “Lingenfelter,” what would pop into your head? The answer is probably Lingenfelter Performance Engineering (LPE), the tuning firm started by the late John Lingenfelter.

Over the years LPE has turned out some pretty amazing creations, perhaps best known for their blend of performance and civility. There’s another Lingenfelter that you may not be aware of, and he has one of the most impressive automobile collections in the United States.

We’re referring to Ken Lingenfelter, a distant cousin to John Lingenfelter and the owner of LPE since 2008. Ken’s had a thing for collecting cars since his Matchbox and Hot Wheels days, but he’s been financially successful enough to branch out into accumulating the real things.

Ask him how many cars he has in his collection, and Lingenfelter can’t even give a precise number. Counting, it seems, would bring the reality of his collection’s value to mind, and Lingenfelter doesn’t want to go there. Let’s just say there are over 200 vehicles and leave it at that.

While Corvettes of various vintages and trims make up 40-percent of the collection, there’s something for everyone, ranging from a Bugatti Veyron to a Vector Aeromotive to a lowly Opel GT. There’s even a few relics from the 1970s, like the Pontiac Can Am that may well be the last surviving example in the world.

The crown jewel of Lingenfelter’s collection, however, is the Corvette Duntov Test Mule EX-8, the very first Corvette to be fitted with a then-new small block Chevy V-8. Early Corvettes, equipped with GM’s “Blue Flame” six-cylinder engine, simply didn’t deliver the kind of performance necessary to lure buyers into showrooms.

Enter Zora Arkus Duntov, often billed as the “father of the Corvette.” Duntov took a small block Chevy V-8, bored it to a displacement of 307 cubic inches and added a custom-ground cam that became known as the Duntov 3030, then stuffed it under the hood of a Corvette test mule.

The rest is history, but the plain-looking white Corvette with the red steel wheels in Lingenfelter’s collection is, perhaps, the most important Corvette in history. Without this car, it’s quite possible the Corvette line would have been killed off by disappointing sales.

The Lingenfelter Collection isn’t open to the public, but it does occasionally stage corporate events for charity. For more information on upcoming events, head on over to the Lingenfelter Collection website.