From the time that Joe was 9 years old collecting new car brochures from every dealer within bicycling distance to his ultimate treat of the Chicago Auto show from the age of about 12 to 20 - never did it occur to him that he could actually touch one or sit in one of these beautiful cars. Now after over 30 years of admiring and dreaming about these cars he has amassed one of the largest private collections of dream cars.
Not only has he become a collector of some of the most original works of automotive art he literally has saved many prototype cars from the "kiss of death". The fact that many of the concept cars were produced for ideas only, the manufacturers didn't want anyone to have these cars after they had been shown because of liability risks. So all of these cars were scheduled to be destroyed.
As you can imagine, it was like telling an artist that when we're done showing your statue here, we're going to smash it. These designers would go to the front office and cry. Now and then, they managed to save one and they would be told, "Well, here, I'm giving you the car, but I don't ever want to hear about it again."
Through sheer persistence and a driving desire to find these cars that had managed to escape the crusher, Joe and his son, Marc, managed to find 24 of these special one-only cars.
Each car that Joe has acquired has been a treasure hunt with it's own unique history and story. It is interesting to note the comaraderie among car enthusiasts who have been kind enough to share their information on the different cars.
The collection has been featured in many museums and car shows with tremendous response from the public. The cars just seem to generate more and more interest with every article, t.v. show and car show that they appear.
Jan 23, 2013
"We are grateful of Joe Bortz's efforts in keeping a significant piece of GM Motorama's rich heritage alive for future generations to enjoy," said Jeff Mylenek, GM Design. "His passion for finding and restoring classic concept cars -- such as the 1955 LaSalle Roadster that will debut at the Amelia Island Concours -- is appreciated by automotive enthusiasts everywhere."
READ ABOUT JOE'S ESCAPADES AS A BOY IN CORVETTES
MORE ARTICLES ABOUT JOE
Resurrecting a dream, Monterey Country Herald, August 15, 2008 - Click Here to Read More
Caring Joe Bortz saves our design history, Auto Afficionado, Nov/Dec 2006 - Click Here to Read More
A Collector Gives Concept Cars a Second Life, New York Times, June 25, 2004 - Click Here to Read More
Wild one-offs resurface in Chicago, Classic & Sports Car, October 1, 2004 - Click Here to Read More
Bortz Auto Collection -Carlisle Events, June 18-20, 2004 Click Here to Read More
Eyes on Design, CORVETTE QUARTERLY, Winter 2003 - Click Here to Read More
The Cars GM Didn't Want You To See, FORBES, March 2001 - Click Here to Read More
His Field of dream Cars, Chicago Tribune, 2/11/90 - Click Here to Read More
Collector Saves Rare Concept Vehicles, GM EDGE, August 2003 - Click Here to Read More
Suite Dreams Suite Dreams Chrysler Fabulous Ghias, Car Collector, December 1990 - Click Here to Read More
Collection - Hemmings - 2003 Eyes on Design - July 2004 - Click Here to Read More
In Memory of our dear friend Sid Kahn (12/10/41 - 3/29/06)
To see more photos of Joe's 1950 Oldsmobile Bubble Top click the link below.
Joe Bortz second from right and Judy Johnson third from left. Joe had the biggest crush on Judy from the first grade and this picture was taken at their 8th grade prom.
Joe was looking into buying a Cadillac from Rick Raciborski, Chicago, IL (who has a huge collection of Cadillacs and Cadillac parts for those of you looking - 312-607-9417) and Joe got to talking to Rick about where he grew up in Chicago and Rick told Joe that his ex-wife grew up in the same neighborhood and when Joe asked her name, Joe said, “Judy Johnson! I was crazy about her in the first grade!” and so Joe contacted Judy to say hello and she was nice enough to send this old picture.
It is amazing where the car hobby will take you! This particular Cadillac ended up taking Joe on a nice ride back to the past to say hello to his first love Judy!