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Bortz Cadillac LaSalle concepts to take center stage this summer

1956 Valkyrie on display.

1956 Valkyrie on display.

Three out of five of the most important Cadillac LaSalle concept cars in private hands will be featured at the Cadillac Grand National meet in Brookfield, Wis., a suburb of Milwaukee.

Joe Bortz said that the Bortz Auto Collection was very honored when the Cadillac and LaSalle Club invited three of the Cadillac LaSalle prototype/concept cars to attend the 2015 Grand National meet at the Sheraton Milwaukee Brookfield hotel. Bortz further indicated that for decades, he has received requests from many of the members of the club to have at least one of the concept cars attend a national meet. The amount of Cadillac LaSalle concept cars that are in private hands is very scarce and having three Bortz concept cars at the 2015 meet will be a rare opportunity.

The first car that will be presented will be the 1956 Cadillac Valkyrie by Brooks Stevens. Brooks Stevens was a very famous designer in Milwaukee and designed this Cadillac El Dorado concept car, a 1956 chassis, having the body built by the German body builders Spohn. The car was shown extensively in Europe, as well as the United States. It was considered the most important international concept car at that time. It was painted in Brooks Stevens favorite color combination of black and white and was the feature, many years ago, at the Milwaukee Art Museum, when Brooks Stevens life story and designs were presented at this museum.

The restored 1955 Lasalle roadster.

The restored 1955 Lasalle roadster.

The next two cars, the 1955 LaSalle Sedan and the 1955 LaSalle Roadster, were designed by Harley Earl as his swan song as he made his plans to retire as vice president and head of the design department at General Motors. His plan was to retire in 1958 and he wanted to make his last significant contribution to automotive design with the two LaSalle’s.

Interesting enough, both cars were fitted with V-6 aluminum block, double overhead cam fuel injected engines, with independent rear suspension and flexible drive shafts. It is often said that the LaSalle Sedan is General Motor’s first compact design car. Many of the design cues from these cars were used in production cars in subsequent years, such as the sight insert on the 56 Corvette and the wrap around windshield into the roof on the 1959 General Motors line up.

The "junkyard fresh" 1955 LaSalle sedan.

The "junkyard fresh" 1955 LaSalle sedan.

Unbelievably, both of these cars were junked out in 1958 at the Warhoops Junkyard in Sterling, Mich. They lived there in their cut up and dilapidated condition until they were discovered by the Bortz Auto Collection in 1988. Since that time, the LaSalle Roadster has been completely restored and made mobile and the 1955 LaSalle Sedan is, basically, junkyard fresh.

Because of the lack of major weatherproofing for the two LaSalles, they will be featured inside the hotel during the duration of the national meet. The 1956 Cadillac Valkyrie will be featured just outside the front door of the hotel.

For further information, contact the Bortz Auto Collection at Bortz Auto Collection, or 847-668-2004.

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