Five-piece 1955 GM Motorama display for auction at Mecum

By: Alex Affat, Unique Cars magazine

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GM Motorama display 3 speed manual detail GM Motorama display 3 speed manual detail
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Available as a single lot, the display features five functional ‘cutaway’ components

These days, the Motor Show circuit is dwindling around the world, with Australia amongst the first to feel the decline, officially dissolving back in 2014.

We dream of an era past where travelling Motor Shows were a family event, bustling to the brim with show-goers marvelling at the latest vehicles and technology. America’s Motoramas of the 50s were arguably the most extravagant – fuelled by industrialism and fuelled by post-war optimism.

Come August 3, Mecum Auctions is offering you the opportunity to relive that magic, and even take it home with you.

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Five pieces of GM’s 1955 Motorama display will be auctioned as a single lot, offering a unique opportunity for private collectors and car museums.

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The collection was found in Utah back in the 90s and comprises of a 265ci ‘Turbo Fire’ V8, a 235ci ‘Blue Flame’ inline-six, two three-speed manual transmissions (one with optional "Touch-Down verdrive", and a two-speed Powerglide gearbox – all with fantastic "cutaway" sections putting the various components’ innards on full display.

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GMs 1955 Motorama circuit began in New York City in January, and passed through Miami, San Francisco and Boston.

Along with the cutaway components on display, GM brought along various cars including the Chevrolet Nomad (GM’s 50-millionth car), a Bel-Air two-door hardtop, the new Buick Wildcat III, Chevy Biscayne, Pontiac Strato Star, Oldsmobile 88 Delta, LaSalle II Roadster and Sedan, Cadillac Eldorado Brougham and the GMC L’Universelle.

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The total cost of GM’s travelling display is said to have cost them over US$2 million (and that’s 1955 dollars!), though was justified by the coast-to-coast exposure for Chevrolet, GM’s top-selling brand.

This was the debut of Chevrolet’s small-block V8 – diverging from the iconic inline-sixes that had powered GM since before The War.

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All five display pieces have been fully restored and repainted in their original colorus by Chevrolet Creative Services – the same division that made them back in 1955. Chrome parts were either polished or replated completely, and the same original cutaways were updated with new electric motors, wiring and relays.

Mecum pegs the pre-auction estimate between US$125,000 (AU$180,000) and US$150,000 (AU$215,000). While that does sound like a lot – a single Chevrolet V8 cutaway display motor sold in January this year for US$165,000 (AU$235,000). More recently, three Mopar cutaway display engines sold through Mecum for a combined AU$803,670.

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