2001 Lincoln MK9 and 2003 Mercury Messenger Concept Cars

2001 Lincoln MK9 and 2003 Mercury Messenger concept cars at Amelia Island 2016

The importance of the 2001 Lincoln MK9 and 2003 Mercury Messenger concept cars at Amelia Island 2016 isn’t just that two fabulous designed cars are going to be one of the stars of show at Amelia Island but the real importance is that Bill Warner, is once again taking an avant-garde approach by making collectible cars of the 21st Century stars of a major concours for the very first time in the United States.  Basically showing 21st century cars at a major concours has never been done, not to my knowledge.

For a reference point, this is not the first time that a major show has stuck its neck out and stretched the boundaries of collecting.  In 1989, Jules “J” Heumann and Lorin Tryon, the two gentleman that served as co-Chairmen of Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance at the time, saw the handwriting on the wall that by only allowing cars that were registered with the Classic Car Club was very limiting and decided to test the changing focus and include post war cars.  Their experiment was done by displaying the Bortz Auto Collection post war collectibles at Pebble Beach to see how the public reacted.  They felt that if there was a negative reaction to the showing of post war collectibles they could always claim it was just a special showing of dream cars/concept cars and be off the hook.   However, the show was so successful in 1989, they brought back the other half of the Bortz Auto Collection in 1990 to be the stars of the show.  As far as I know, this is the only time that Pebble Beach has ever had the same theme for the stars of the show two years in a row.

I guess the point being that it was not only that Bill is making the 2001 Lincoln MK9 and the 2003 Mercury Messenger the stars of the show but he is putting them in the highest focal point of the show, which will be on the platform in front of the pond.  Bill did this with the two LaSalles in 2013 (Link to Jay Leno’s Garage interview about the LaSalles at Amelia Island 2013) and this display of the two LaSalles on the stage by the pond also was the hit of the show.

frdconcept lincolnmk9 01newyork

Lincoln MK 9 Concept.

About 2001 LINCOLN MK9

2001 LINCOLN MK9 designed by Gerry McGovern and was the hit of the 2001 New York auto show.  It is built on a Lincoln chassis with an Italian composite body and fabulous proportions and matching absolutely futuristic interior.

DOHC V8 engine, automatic transmission, four-wheel independent coil spring suspension, and four-wheel power anti-lock disc brakes. Wheelbase: 121.9″

– Timeless elegance born of inherent simplicity
– Striking ergonomic interior
– Heritage styling cues with future concepts

The last Lincoln Mark VIII went out of production at the end of 1998.  For three years, ambiguity reigned, until the April 2001 New York International Auto Show. There, suddenly, was a concept of what Lincoln envisioned for the future: the MK9.

The interior is striking, a combination of Dark Cherry Red and Marlboro Red leathers with accents of polished metal. Dark Cherry saddle leather is used on the floor and white leather in the headliner. The front seats, which are cantilevered off the center console to improve passenger foot room, are inspired by the Eames Lounge Chair, a mid-20th Century American classic, which was designed for comfort.

There are visual connections between exterior and interior, such as the body-colored seat shells and the horizontal chrome finishers. The symmetrical dashboard is clean and simple. The etched glass instruments are crafted with jewel-like quality and illuminated indirectly.

This vehicle runs and drives.




The 2003 Mercury Messenger is the car that was going to save and probably would have!  It is a two-passenger car that’s design is filled with adrenaline. The proportions are perfect and there is not a bad side angle on the car.  Be sure to take a look at the introduction of the car when it was dropped down from the ceiling at the auditorium on a platform with attached ropes – see video and fast forward to 5:58 of the video to see the Mercury descending from the ceiling.

The car has an energetic stance accented by the spoked wheels that has a turbine theme with veins reflecting the Mercury Flying M logo.  The functional veins helped to cool the brakes.  The body was a lightweight aluminum hydro-formed monocle while forming part of the integral occupant safety cell.

This experimental car was equipped with electric motors to drive it and to operate all its power equipment.  The car was equipped with computer active independent suspension on all four wheels and anti-lock brakes with bimbo disks and high performance calipers.

It is true that this car was originally planned to be operated by a V8 gas powered engine but secretly it was also the idea of either making it a high bred or possibly a full electric car.

Since the Bortz Auto Collection acquired this car in 2014 it has enhanced the electric drive so that the car could be capable of speeds in excess of highway speed limits.  The car is fully equipped with power steering, large disk brakes and full lighting system.

These two cars are both designed by Gerry Mcgovern and allow Bill Warner, founder of the Amelia Island Concours, to be avante garde by presenting cars that are of the turn of the 21st century.

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The Story of the man who pioneered concept car collecting.

Paul Fraser Collectibles, 2010 article

The Story of… The man who pioneered concept-car collecting

When Joe Bortz bought his first concept car, it was his first step to becoming a world-renowned collector…

Four exceptional, one-of-a-kind concept automobiles will appear at July’s Concours d’Elegance of America. But as fascinating as the cars themselves is the story of the man who collected them…

The name Joe Bortz needs no introduction for fans of historic concept automobiles. His reputation precedes him as the man who made concept-car collecting a serious reality, and a big draw at international exhibitions.

Joe’s journey to collecting fame began when he was 13 years old, when he persuaded his father to buy him a 250cc NSU motorcycle. (At 13, Joe didn’t yet need a license for a bike that size.)

His first car was bought whilst in high school in 1962: a 1950 Oldsmobile coupe. Increasingly, Joe found himself drawn to the aesthetics of classic cars, and soon developed dreams of owning a collection…

The first big step came years later, when he purchased a 1928 Chevrolet coupe. It was pulled to his house on a towrope and signified that Joe had officially caught the collecting bug.

His next acquisitions included a 1930 Chrysler Model 70 roadster and a 1931 Cadillac V-8 convertible coupe (the latter bought for $1,500, a lot of money back then).

In fact, Joe couldn’t afford the authentic whitewall tyres for the Cadillac. Instead, he bought truck tyres and painted them white.

After a while, the young collector began trading his rolling works of art. His further buys included a coveted Packard V-12 Dual Cowl Phaeton and a 1931 Duesenberg Rollston Victoria.

By the 1970s, limited-production American cars of the 1950s became the focus of Joe’s collecting passion. These included cars like the 1953-58 Cadillac Eldorado and the 1954 Buick Skylark – very rare automobiles, some of whose productions were limited to just 500 examples.

Initially, Bortz’s friends thought that he was crazy for focussing on still-recent 1950s automobiles. But, over time, his collection grew in size and magnificence… until one day an opportunity to buy a one-of-a-kind motor sealed his fate as a collector.

Bortz jumped at the chance to own the Bonneville Special. It would be the first-ever concept car to grace his collection. This was an especially unique find, as it was typical for car manufacturers to send concept cars straight to the crusher after they had dazzled onlookers at exhibitions.

Through further digging, Bortz learned that cars could often escape the crusher. Sometimes, they were either hidden away in the yard, like the 1955 La Salle II Sports Coupe, or cut-up and left to rot in pieces, like the 1955 Chevrolet Biscayne.

What’s more, the fate of these cars was often a source of much upset for their designers. For many, these concept cars represented the finest work that they would ever produce.

“A designer would go into the executive’s office and cry – literally break down and cry,” Bortz told the car publication Hemmings Classic Car in an interview.

“It was like telling Rembrandt, ‘We’re going to destroy a few of your paintings.'”

On occasion, a chairman would allow the designer to keep the car. But such instances were rare, with many high-level execs making no secret of their disregard for these temporary ‘fantasy’ automobiles.

By the early 1980s, Bortz was actively hunting concept cars from bygone eras as more and more examples of the historic cars came to light. “Nobody was looking for them,” he later said of his newly-discovered niche.

At the same time, Joe’s phone had began ringing when news of his acquisition of the Bonneville Special spread around collectors and dealers. It soon became clear that his transformation into being ‘the saviour of old concept cars’ was complete.

Ever since, Bortz’s mission has continued to this day. He continues to return yesterday’s dazzling concept vehicles to their former glory, and has a reputation which has stretched across the globe.

All of this brings us to July’s Concours d’Elegance of America. The prestigious event will bring together four cars from Bortz’s collection – the 1954 Pontiac Bonneville, the 1953 Buick Wildcat, the 1953 Pontiac Parisienne and the 1955 Chevrolet Biscayne.

The occasion will mark the first time these four cars have been seen together in public in more than 50 years. In particular, the 1955 Chevrolet Biscayne is now in restored show condition (as shown in the above video).

All images © 2014 Bortz Auto Collection




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1977 AMC AM Van Concept at Kenosha History Museum

AM VAN AmVanKenosha1

1977 AMC AM Van at Kenosha County Historical Society

Curator Don Shepard has done an amazing job of setting up the AMC display at the Kenosha County Historical Society located at 220-51st Place, Kenosha, WI  262-654-5770.  Joe and I drove up to Kenosha to see the display and Joe was so pleased to see his 1977 AMC AM Van out for public display.  The AM Van has only been shown three times in the last three decades and the public’s response has been overwhelming.  It seems that this showing was way over due.  Many of the former employees of the AMC Kenosha UAW Local 72 are going to be having a reunion day on July 24, 2014 and have invited Joe to attend and to talk with the attendees about his 1977 AMC AM Van and to share stories with the employees.  You can contact Jeff Schenning 262-818-7720 for more information on this event.

Mike Spangler who is well known for his rare AMC 1971 AMX prototype, which was Richard Teague’s attempt to talk AMC into keeping the AMX a true two-seater, was very instrumental in getting the 1977 AM Van to Kenosha for the display.   

While we were at the Kenosha County Historical Society museum, we were extremely impressed with all of the fascinating displays and we are definitely planning on going back to spend more time viewing all of the displays.  Well worth a trip to Kenosha!!  This area is called Simmons Island and looks like a beautiful area to explore.  We want to take a closer look at the two historic lighthouses, Pierhead Lighthouse known as “Big Red” and Southport Light Station [1866] on our next visit. There is also a historic Beach House that is listed on the National Register. It’s a Tudor Revival structure at 5001 Simmons Island. The building is made of concrete, brick, slate and wood. 

Since it was lunch time we stopped at the Breakwater Bar & Grill, which was across the street from the museum.  We were the first customers of the day and we had a beautiful view on the patio and the food was delicious and also creative!  I had the beef and pancetta burgerGround sirloin with Caramelized Onions, Sun-dried Tomatoes, Pancetta, fresh Spinach and stuffed with Gorgonzola cheese.  OH MY GOSH, totally blew my diet but it was so worth it!!  I would make the drive to Kenosha for this hamburger alone!!! 

If you get a chance, take a drive up to Kenosha to view the beautiful lake front on Simmons Island and enjoy all the interesting sites!

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AMC AmVan Concept to be displayed at Kenosha History Center Hemmings Daily Blog

AMC’s Concept 80 AM Van to go on display at Kenosha History Center Kurt Ernst Jul 2nd, 2014 – See more at: http://blog.hemmings.com/index.php/2014/07/02/amcs-concept-80-am-van-coming-to-kenosha-history-center-in-time-for-2014-kenosha-homecoming/#sthash.gWixs6TL.dpuf



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Bortz Cars at Iola Car Show 2014

Bortz Cars at Iola Car Show 2014

1955 Biscayne & 1955 LaSalle Roadster – both survivors from The Great Warhoops Find of 1988 and the 1966 Duesenberg Ghia prototype to celebrate 4-door cars.

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1956 Cadillac die Valkyrie – 2014 CCCA Grand Experience Hickory Corners, MI

1956 Cadillac Eldorado by Brooks Stevens from The Bortz Auto Collection to be featured at the 2014 CCCA “2014 Grand Experience” at the Gilmore Car Museum campus in Hickory Corners, Michigan on Sunday June 1, 2014.Image

The Bortz Auto Collection was honored to receive a request to have its 1956 Cadillac Eldorado by Brooks Stevens be the featured car at the 2014 CCCA “2014 Grand Experience” at the Gilmore Car Museum.  This concept car is one of two and was the one featured in 1956 throughout the European 1956 auto shows.  It was also the headline grabber at several automobile shows in the United States, including the Madison Square Gardens annual car show.

This Cadillac/Lasalle themed event will take place at the CCCA Museum on the Gilmore Car Museum campus in Hickory Corners, Michigan, on Sunday, June 1, 2014, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. There will also be a grand classic for all CCCA full classics. 


It is interesting to note that the Bortz Auto Collection was on exhibit for two years at the Gilmore campus museum building in the late 1990s.


The Cadillac die Valkyrie is rarely shown making it a very special event for car collectors and spectators who have not had an opportunity to see this most significant concept car design.  One of the more significant design features is the enormous “V” bumper at the front of the car.  This was done because Brooks Stevens, an international car designer, wanted to have the car tour in Europe as well as the U.S.  He wanted to show off the fact that most American high end cars were V8 while the Europeans engines were either straight six or straight eight.  Brooks Stevens was also famously known for painting many of his other concept cars in his signature black and white color scheme.

The 1956 Cadillac Eldorado designed by Brooks Stevens with a one off custom Spohn body for the auto shows of 1956 from the Bortz Auto Collection will be featured at this event.   

Link to video

This is an event not to miss!  Attendees will also get to view and enjoy the other five hundred quality automobiles on continuous display at the Gilmore Museum campus.

For further information or photos you can call Joe Bortz 847-668-2004 or BortzCars@gmail.com

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Joe Bortz to be keynote speaker at The Revvin Up a Cure for Cancer event in Lebanon, Missouri on May 17, 2014.

Joseph Bortz, an automotive legend and a collector for over 50 years was proud to receive an invitation from Steve Plaster, the owner of Evergreen Historic Automobiles (a collection of 500 cars) and the American Cancer Society to be the Key Note Speaker at the 3rd Annual Evergreen Event for American Cancer Society on Saturday, May 17, 2014. This event willtake place in front of 250 car club members and licensed automobile dealers in Lebanon, MO.  


Joe’s presentation will cover his 52 years of automobile collecting from the early 1960s and how it evolved into a famous automotive collection of “concept cars”.


The event is sponsored by BK Wealth Advisors LLC and is by invitation only. The annual event raises a great deal of money for the American Cancer Society and brings about a greater awareness of the importance of automotive car collecting.


Joe was quoted as saying that, “he not only feels very honored to be able to present a half a century of car collecting to those attending but feels that this show is a tribute to the four members of his family that he lost in the early 1970s to cancer”.


One of the Joe’s discussion points will be “The Great Warhoops Find of 1988” in which he found four General Motors Motorama cars at the Warhoops Junkyard in Sterling Heights, MI.


For further information contact:

Bortz Auto Collection,

Debra Powless 847-668-5004 cell BortzCars@gmail.comImage

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1956 Cadillac Die Valkyrie by Brooks Stevens at Amelia Island 2012

1956valkyrie2copyright1956 Cadillac Die Valkyrie by Brooks Stevens at Amelia Island 2012

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1956 Cadillac Die Valkyrie at Amelia Island

1956 Cadillac Die Valkyrie at Amelia Island

Collage of the 1956 Cadillac Die Valkyrie (by Brooks Stevens) at Amelia Island with photos of Yann Saunders & Joe Bortz and a photo of the beautiful model from Amelia Island, Rachel.

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Bortz Auto Collection at Geneva Concours 2013

Bortz Auto Collection at Geneva Concours 2013

General Motors Motorama Concept Cars from the Bortz Auto Collection

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