Joe Bortz to Host Historic Dream Car Discussion Panel
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|Dream car collector and historian Joe Bortz has prepared a special treat for participants at the 40th Annual Pontiac-Oakland Club International Convention in St. Charles Illinois, this coming July 17-21. In addition to bringing his four historic Pontiac Dream Cars, he has also assembled a panel, conisisting of two noted designers, a retired engineer and two veteran authors to examine the topic of Pontiac's early concept vehicles. The panel discussion will be held on Friday, July 20th at 1:30 pm and is open to all POCI members. 'As the seminar plans were being laid out, it sort of developed a life of its own,' Bortz said. 'Pretty soon, a simple one-man presentation had evolved into a panel discussion with some of the biggest names in the business- I couldn't be happier.' He added that, 'This panel is comprised of not only those who were in the design and engineering fields at the time, but also two authors with vast research experience on the subject.' Virgil M. Exner, Jr., son of the legendary 'Forward Look' designer and a renowned designer himself, Mr. Exner will provide a unique perspective to the Pontiac discussion, the view from the competition. Most auto enthusiasts are aware of the elder Exner's storied history with Chrysler but few people are aware that he was also the lead designer at Pontiac in the early 1930s. Even fewer know that he rose to that position before the age of 30! Virgil Exner Jr's career began working with his father. Gradually, he came into his own, having worked as a design consultant for Ghia, Pininfarina, U.S. Steel and Riva Boats before beginning a long career with Ford, both in the U.S. and Ray Koenig started at GM Styling in the 'Class of '56' and remained there until 1977, when he left to accept an assignement at GM's International Group. While at GM Styling/Design Center, he worked under Harley Earl and Bill Mitchell, along with Chuck Jordan, Wayne Cherry, Larry Shinoda, Bill Porter and current head of GM Design, Ed Welburn. He also worked with John DeLorean, Pete Estes and Bill Collins. Mr. Koenig retired in 1991 and was profiled in the April, 2011 issue of Collectible Automobile. Bill Collins' reputation as an engineer at Pontiac is nothing short of legendary, having worked closely with General Managers Semon E. 'Bunkie' Knudsen, Elliott M. 'Pete' Estes and John Z. DeLorean. He was part of the team that brought the Super Duty Catalinas and Tempests to fruition in the early 1960s, as well as having developed the race-only PowerShift transaxle. After GM pulled out of racing in 1963, he went on to help develop the 1964 GTO and the XP-833 Banshee, among others. David W. Temple is a veteran automotive historian and journalist, whose bylines have appeared in such magazines as Pontiac Enthusiast, Hemmings Classic Cars, Car Collector and countless others. His book GM's Motorama: The Glamorous Show Cars of a Cultural Phenomenon, is unquestionably, the definitive work on the topic and represented more than six years of research. Rounding out the panel discussion is noted Pontiac author and POCI Smoke Signals Editor-in-Chief Don Keefe. A veteran automotive journalist, photographer and historian, Don will act as moderator for the first half of the discussion and will then switch places with Joe Bortz on the panel. Joe will then assume the role of Master of Ceremonies. He will then question the panel and direct the conversation. The Bortz Dream Car panel disussion will follow Don's Department X seminar on Pontiac concept cars from 1980 to the end of the marque's run. Be sure to plan ahead as, seating is already filling up for this historic event. To join POCI and/or register for the convention, go to www.poci.org and fill out the convention application.|
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