Iola ’14 to feature 3 concept cars

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Three of the most valuable postwar four-doors will be coming to the 2014 Iola Old Car Show in Iola, Wis. — the 1955 Chevrolet Biscayne concept car, the 1955 LaSalle II sedan concept car and the 1966 Duesenberg prototype. Each of the cars will be at the show July 11-12 courtesy of their owner, dream car collector Joe Bortz of Highland Park, Ill.

“Iola is a wonderful show,” Bortz said, “and we’re looking forward to showing these cars, the three most valuable postwar four-doors.”

IOLA ’14 is featuring “Four for ’14,” an assembly of four-door cars and trucks of all types: convertibles, sedans, station wagons, hardtops, crewcab trucks and the like. No four-doors are as unique as each car Bortz is bringing to IOLA ’14, which will be held July 10-13.

The 1955 Chevrolet Biscayne and 1955 LaSalle II sedan were built for display at the traveling General Motors Motorama. Each featured unique styling and features that predicted the future. The Biscayne was a compact four-door hardtop that predicted Corvette and Corvair styling. It also trophied the new V-8 engine that Chevrolet first employed for 1955, and was the first Chevrolet concept car that was not Corvette-based.
Likewise, the 1955 LaSalle II sedan was a four-door hardtop with suicide-style rear doors built to drop jaws at the Motorama shows. Its futuristic styling  predicted Corvette-like body side coves, seemingly acres of glass area and an experimental overhead-cam V-6 egine, although it was never made to run.

After the LaSalle II and Biscayne sedans wowed crowds across America, they fell from their respective podiums and into disrepair when GM dictated the untested dream cars be destroyed. Fortunately, the salvage yard charged with their destruction hid the cars for decades. However, yard owner Harry Warholak did have to dismantle the Biscayne (and other dream cars) in front of GM officials. Fortunately, the officials were satisfied the cars would be destroyed before the LaSalle II sedan was cut up.

Joe Bortz has since had the Biscayne reassembled — some pieces salvaged from the earth around the car — and restored to show condition. The LaSalle II remains intact and will be shown in its as-found condition,  although Bortz plans a restoration back to Motorama condition in its future.

The third one-of-a-kind car Bortz will display at IOLA ’14 is the 1966 Duesenberg concept built by Ghia of Italy. The four-door hardtop was built as a prototype in the attempt to revive the hallowed Duesenberg automobile name by Fred “Fritz” Duesenberg, son of August and nephew of Fred. The car was grander than the era in which it was built — large, powerful and custom-bodied, just like the original. Also like the original, its luxury came at great expense: it was to be $19,500.

A revived Duesenberg automobile brand never matured past this single prototype, which remains in exceptional original condition. It will be displayed in this state alongside the 1955 GM concept cars and several other notable four-door vehicles in the IOLA ’14 theme area.

There is still time to participate with a car or in the swap meet at IOLA ’14. To register, call 715-445-4000 or go to www.iolaoldcarshow.com to learn more.

 

 

 

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