BISCAYNE DREAM CAR CELEBRATES
CENTURY OF CHEVY AT AMELIA
’55 Motorama Star Car Symbolizes Harley Earl’s “Exploration In Elegance”
JACKSONVILLE, FL; November 00, 2010 — The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance announced today that part of its celebration of the 100 Years of Chevrolet at its 16th annual event March 11-13, 2011 at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, will include an appearance of the 1955 Biscayne, considered one of Harley Earl’s most intriguing designs. The concept vehicle will be on hand courtesy of Joe Bortz of the Bortz Auto Collection in Highland Park, Illinois.
Described by GM as “An Exploration In Elegance,” the Biscayne was a four-passenger tour de force by Earl and his styling team. This car was designed as a pillar-less hard top design complete with suicide doors, indented side panels, and “Stratospheric” windshield. The car was also used as the display platform for the then new production 1955 Chevrolet V-8, a 265 c.i., 215 h.p. powerplant. Unique swivel front seats allowed the front passengers easy exit from the low-slung car. Front and rear ashtrays and lighters were located on the driveshaft tunnel between the passengers.
Combining styling queues that would later show up in GM’s Corvair and Corvette production models, the Biscayne was produced for the popular Motorama shows of the 50s, which were sponsored coast-to-coast by the automotive manufacturer and designed to promote its forward-thinking approach to automotive styling and production. All of the Motorama cars were built by hand and most had no engine, electrics or interiors. The Biscayne featured a fiberglass body.
“This is one of the really rare concept cars that luckily survived after the Motorama shows ended,” says Bill Warner, Amelia Founder & Chairman. “One of the unique features of the Biscayne was that it was a motor car – meaning it had full running gear and was not a ‘push mobile’ like so many of the Motorama cars.” The car escaped the fate of many of the concept cars, which were ordered destroyed by GM after their use as styling exercises had ended.
After a painstaking search, the Biscayne was found in 1988 by Joe Bortz in the Warhoop Junkyard in Sterling Heights, MI; it had been cut into eight pieces and was scheduled for the crusher. Fate intervened again as the salvage yard owner Harry Warholak hid the pieces along with three other GM Motorama cars and ended up selling them all to Bortz. He began the car’s restoration slowly in 1990 using files found in a file cabinet at GM’s famed Tech Center, which enabled Bortz to fully recreate the Biscayne’s chassis and running gear to original specifications. The Biscayne was returned to its former glory and debuted at the 2010 Concours d’Elegance of America at Meadow Brook. The Bortz Auto Collection will also be displaying the very famous Glenn Johnson 1937 Ford that was the cover car for Hot Rod Magazine’s April 1952 issue.
Tickets for the 16th Annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance are $45 for adults purchased in advance and $50 the day of the show. Students ages 12-18 are $20, and children under 12 are admitted at no charge when accompanied by a paying adult. A VIP ticket will again be offered for 2011 and it includes admission to the Concours, VIP parking, food & beverages, cash bar, preferred viewing tent for the awards, commemorative gifts, and a poster signing with the show honoree. Event tickets can be ordered in advance at HYPERLINK “http://www.ameliaconcours.org” http://www.ameliaconcours.org or can be purchased at the door.
Grand National Roadster Show 2011 – the 1937 Glenn Johnson Ford