General Motors will be joining BMW and bringing some of its classic machines to the Amelia Island Concours in Florida this weekend, March 9-11. On hand will be a fully restored 1954 Cadillac Series 62 decked out in the livery of the one of the cars that ran in the classic Mexican road race, the Carrera Panamericana. The car had been part of GM's collection and was restored in 2006 by a team from the General Motors Performance Division, befitting this year's show theme of Great Road Races.

Joining the big Caddy coupe will be a quartet of Corvair based concepts from the GM Heritage Collection. The Corvair specials were built between 1962 and 1967 and each is unique. Where production Corvairs all hung the engine behind the rear axle, one of the concepts, the Monza GT coupe flipped the power-train around to create a mid-engine layout. In addition to the four concepts, GM design chief Bill Mitchell's personal 1969 Corvair Monza will also be at Amelia Island. This last car was one of the last production Corvairs to come off the Willow Run assembly line, and has only 2,688 miles on it. The GM press releases are after the jump.

[Source: General Motors]
Historic Road Racing Cadillac Drives into Amelia Island Concours

AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. – When a dirt-covered 1954 Cadillac, bearing the markings of a vintage Mexican Road Race car, rolls into the driveway at the Ritz-Carlton on Amelia Island on Friday, March 9, it will represent living history.

This replica of a famed Carrera Panamericana (Mexican Road Race) Cadillac road racer, created by the General Motors Performance Division, was driven to the island by a group of journalists who began their trek in North Carolina .

"With this year's theme of the Amelia Island Concours being "The Great Road Races", bringing Cadillac's heritage to life seemed a natural fit", said Cadillac Division General Manager Jim Taylor. "It only made sense to drive a great road racer to the Concours, not haul it there in a trailer."

The story began in 1954, when Keith Andrews and Blu Plemons entered a Cadillac Series 62 coupe "borrowed" from a local Colorado Springs independent car dealer in that year's Carrera Panamericana – the sixth round of the 1954 FIA World Sports Car Championship – against heavily funded factory teams.

Andrews and Plemons finished third in class and 11th overall, completing the 1,907-mile race over treacherous highways and dusty cart paths in less than 21 hours. Their Cadillac averaged more than 115 mph over the last 410 miles to outrun every other stock car over the final two high-speed stages.

"Their performance in 1954 is consistent with Cadillac's DNA" said Taylor . "Cadillac introduced America 's first V8 in 1914, the first V16 in 1929 and the first high-compression OHV V8 in 1948. Today, the V-Series CTS, STS and XLR express Cadillac's performance heritage with power and style".

In 2006, a replica of that 1954 Cadillac took shape at GM's Performance Division in Warren , Mich. The frame-on restoration began with a vintage car discovered in GM's own vehicle inventory matching the original racer's specs, even in color.

"We made updates that would enhance the vehicle and occupant safety but maintain the original design intent," said Al Oppenheiser, GM Performance Division director of concept vehicle engineering.

The partnership of GM's Performance Division and Cadillac delivers exciting benefits to drivers who have a passion for great cars. The V-Series Cadillacs, developed by the Performance Division, are some of the most powerful ever, offering levels of style, performance and exclusivity that define the brand.

The Carrera Panamericana Cadillac re-creation is just one of the more than 700 vehicles found in the GM Heritage Collection of historically significant vehicles.

GM Shows the Future by Sharing Its Past at Amelia Island Concours

AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. – General Motors brought four prized Corvair-based 1960s concept cars from the GM Heritage Collection to the March 9-11 Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance for both historical and visionary purposes.

While providing a reminder of American automotive history for vintage car enthusiasts, these unique concepts also offer a glimpse of the future by demonstrating the rich heritage of innovation that continues to define the work of GM Design.

When Chevrolet introduced the Corvair in 1960, it launched a vehicle decidedly different from its American competitors.

Featuring a rear-mounted, all-aluminum, air-cooled, horizontally opposed 6-cylinder engine, Corvair's design offered great benefits: a low silhouette, flat passenger compartment floor and, combined with 4-wheel independent suspension, significant improvements in ride quality, handling and braking balance.

That innovative platform also gave designers the ideal platform on which to build the four revolutionary Corvair concept cars appearing at the 2007 Amelia Island Concours; the 1962 Corvair Super Spyder, the 1962-63 Corvair Monza GT and SS Concepts and the 1967 Corvair Astro I.

The first of these Corvair-based concepts was the Super Spyder. Built on a shortened 1961 Corvair platform, the Super Spyder featured a 2-seat configuration, metal tonneau cover with integrated headrest and three chrome exhaust pipes exiting behind each of the rear wheels. A supercharged engine guaranteed performance to match its looks.

The final Corvair concept was Astro I. With a design target of low "aero" drag, the Astro I combined a small frontal area, low roofline and a "tall" back to achieve its aerodynamic goals.

The centerpieces of the quartet of Corvair concepts are the Monza "twins"; the GT coupe and open-top SS.

Similar in appearance, there were significant mechanical differences between the two concepts.

For the Monza GT coupe, the standard Corvair engine placement was rotated 180°, putting the engine ahead of the transaxle, creating a true mid-engine car. Riding on a 92-inch wheelbase the GT was track-ready and had more than a passing resemblance to the yet–to-be introduced Porsche 904 race car.

In the case of the SS, the engine was left in its stock location behind the transaxle, allowing a shorter (88-inch) wheelbase.

Both the Monza GT and the SS feature magnesium-alloy wheels, 4-wheel disc brakes and fixed seats with adjustable pedals, features that would not find their way to production cars for years.

On loan from the General Motors Heritage Collection, these four Corvair concept cars provided a vision of the future to enthusiasts in the 1960s. Today, they serve as inspiration for new designs that will define the future for today's enthusiasts.

The Corvair concepts represent just four of the more than 700 vehicles found in the GM Heritage Collection of historically significant vehicles that date back to the early 1900s.

General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), the world's largest automaker, has been the global industry sales leader for 76 years. Founded in 1908, GM today employs about 284,000 people around the world. With global headquarters in Detroit, GM manufactures its cars and trucks in 33 countries. In 2006, 9.1 million GM cars and trucks were sold globally under the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, HUMMER, Opel, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn and Vauxhall. GM's OnStar subsidiary is the industry leader in vehicle safety, security and information services. More information on GM can be found at www.gm.com.