Chain Saw Massacre

By Joseph Bortz


Many have asked me how I came across the five Futurliner busses that I had in the 1980’s. Back in the 80’s my old friend Al Gartzman informed me about a gentleman who claimed that he had a GM Futurliner in his backyard in the Chicagoland area…it seemed like a far fetched story but certainly one I felt that I had to investigate being that at tha time I had already acquired several dream cars and knew that this was part of my calling. It was never my intention to own a 1953 GM Futurliner Parade of Progress bus as they were so large and so difficult to restore.  Yet, I knew that it would be an amazing task.

 When I met this gentleman after months of discussion I found out that he didn’t just have one Futurliner in his backyard but he had another four stored west of Chicago on North Ave. in a large deserted part of an industrial park.  I was perfectly happy to find out about the situation and thought it was wonderful that

he was preserving these busses until one day he presented me with the plan that he had for these busses which was to chain saw them into pieces and use the pieces to make a unique restaurant.  For those of you that remember the Victoria Station this is exactly what he was going to do.  Have a core restaurant and have pieces of the busses attached to the core and have dining tables in the various pieces of the busses that would be sticking out from the core.  While it sounded like a great idea I realized that he was about to destroy a very important part of General Motors history.  Knowing that much of the history had already been restored I knew that I had to step in and save the busses. 


Futurliner Busses


Because I was in the restaurant business he was willing to turn over his ideas and plans to me with the idea that I would possibly continue on with his plan.  Of course my plan was to intercede and save the busses. 

I bought the five buses and donated one to the Car & Truck Museum of Auburn, IN which of course has been beautifully restored and has been touring around the United States in the summer months for the last several years.

All the details of what happened after I bought the busses and how they eventually got distributed is 

another story and hopefully I will be able to make the time to write this up and have published for all those who are interested.    Now I hope to work with the current GM management to preserve the many later day concept cars that they still have.  My hope is that the important icons of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s from GM will be kept for their historic value by GM. 

futurliner-bj ronpratte3

In January 2006 this Futurliner brought a record breaking price of over $4 Million at auction.

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