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February 14 - 22, 2015
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Concept Car History
Concept Car History
Chicago Auto Show -
In 1971, the new McCormick Place was ready, and show organizers brought the nation's largest auto show back in grand style. The new McCormick Place was beautiful and an inviting environment in which to view the latest automobile models from around the world. Ford unveiled its Pinto hatchback Runabout at the 63rd Chicago event, and Chicagoans were given the first look at Pontiac's Ventura II compact. Also on display was the British-built Jensen Interceptor II sports car, with its 330 horsepower Chrysler V8 engine. Only 742 Interceptor II were produced in 1971. On the right, a beautiful female model wearing mini skirt and white “go-go” boots, poses with an automotive beauty, the 1971 Dodge Challenger convertible.
Built along Lake Michigan in place of the ruins of the first McCormick Place, the new exposition center opened Jan. 3, 1971. Offering a total of more than 600,000 sq.ft. in the main exhibit area, the second McCormick Place served as the home for the Chicago Auto Show from 1971-1996. A record-setting 942,029 visitors during the nine-day 1971 run, saw the debut of the Ford Pinto hatchback, and Pontiac Ventura II compact. Also on display were the new Porsche 914, Lamborghini Espanda and Jensen Interceptor II sports cars.
Auto Show chairman Richard V. Lynch is seated at the left, during a radio interview with John Harrington of WBBM-AM. Lynch gave highlights of what was planed for the 1971 Chicago Auto Show, including the all-new McCormick Place along Lake Michigan, with two floors of exhibit space and the Aerie Crown Theatre.
CATA President Lee Klinger is seated at the right, in this scene taken during a radio interview with Bob Elson of WCFL radio station.
Auto show chairman Richard V. Lynch, standing on the right, poses with two unidentified men and two woman on the show floor during a black-tie pre-show opening event at the new McCormick Place East. The four guests are ready to explore the show driving a three-wheeled electric cart with a large Buick logo decal on the front.
Three CATA executives are shown holding an artist's rendering of the interior decor for the first auto show to be held at the new McCormick Place East. Left to right are: CATA vice-president and auto show manager Ross E. Kelsey; auto show chairman Richard V. Lynch; and CATA president Lee Klinger.
Chicago's Mayor Richard J. Daley (center, at microphone) presents U.S. Savings Bonds to five of the winners of the annual safety slogan contest, held in Chicago-area high schools. Standing behind the mayor are (left to right) CATA president Lee Klinger, auto show chairman Richard V. Lynch, and CATA vice-president and auto show manager Ross E. Kelsey. Notice the official Chicago seal on the podium, as well as evidence of the miniskirt rage during this era.
Michigan Governor (and former AMC executive) George Romney (at far right) poses with three CATA executives in the Buick exhibit. Left to right are: CATA vice-president and auto show manager Ross E. Kelsey; CATA president Lee Klinger; auto show chairman Richard V. Lynch; and Governor Romney.
CATA vice-president and auto show manager Ross E. Kelsey is speaking from the podium at the head table during the Economist Newspaper's South Side Day luncheon, held in a McCormick Place East banquet hall. Economist Newspaper publisher/editor Bruce Sagen is seated to the right of the podium (taking notes), and Michigan Governor (and former AMC executive) George Romney is seated at the speaker's table, third from the right, looking at the speaker.
Looking due north from the roof of McCormick Place East, cars are lining up in the left lane of northbound Lake Shore Drive, to park in the large outdoor lot on the left. Soldier Field can be glimpsed behind the parking lot. People are walking toward the show on the right side of the photo.
Wide shot looks due south from a bridge over northbound Lake Shore Drive and into a parking lot between the north and southbound lanes. The lot is nearly filled to capacity, and the brand new McCormick Place East is seen off in the distance/center photo.
Ford's exhibit fills most of this overhead shot of the upper level at the new McCormick Place East. Notice the white Ford Tridon Thunderbird-based concept car slightly to the left of the center of this photo, seated on a raised/revolving platform with its driver's door open.
Long view looks down one of the aisles in the aftermarket area, north end lower level, of the auto show. On the left is the entrance to the Meister Brau New Orleans Beer Garden. A menu board can be glimpsed at the entrance, with all food and drink items under $1.00. A considerable number of people fill the aisle.
Cadillac spotlighted the second generation of its front-wheel drive Eldorado convertible in McCormick Place East during the 1971 Chicago Auto Show.
In the foreground of the 1971 Oldsmobile display space is a 3/4 front view of a Cutlass-based 4-4-2 convertible. Two Toronado two-door hardtops are directly behind the 4-4-2 convertible, one on a raised turntable. This would be the final season for the performance-oriented 4-4-2.
Specialty models dominate the foreground of this scene at the Chevrolet display space on the main floor. In the foreground, at left, is a side view of a Chevelle-based "Heavy Chevy" two-door hardtop, featuring special body stripes, SS hood with raised center and lock pins, black-painted grille, and rally wheels without trim rings. On the right is a portion of a "Rally Nova" coupe, black-painted grille, special body stripes, rally wheels minus trim rings, and heavy-duty suspension. In the center, farther back on a raised/revolving platform, is a Kingswood Estate wagon.
Painted in a rainbow of exterior colors, five Capri models were captured in the wide angle photograph, shot on the lower level of McCormick Place. The Capri was built in Germany and Great Britain, offered a choice of two 4-cylinder engines, and were available through Lincoln-Mercury dealers.
Close-up view inside the Datsun (Nissan) exhibit features a 3/4 rear view of the 1200 Coupe on a revolving platform. Note the fastback roof profile with optional padded covering. On the left is a front view of the Datsun Pickup. The slogan for the 1971 Datsun 1200 Coupe's was, "We took the ugly out of economy and put performance in."
Honda's small exhibit scene on the lower level of McCormick Place featured a trio of minicars. In the foreground, on a tiny raised/revolving platform, is the 600 coupe. On the left is a green 600 two-door sedan, and on the right is a white 600 two-door sedan.
Only one car is on display at the Lamborghini exhibit space on the lower level, which was no surprise, considering the limited number of Italian-built Lamborghini models sold each year. Seen in high a 3/4 front view, is a brown Espada 400 GT. This V-12 (240 cubic-inch engine) coupe featured bodywork by Bertone.
Colorful scene was photographed outside the Chevrolet Truck exhibit space on the lower level of McCormick Place. In the foreground is a Vega panel wagon, towing a small racing boat and trailer. Several full-size pickup trucks are in the space, including a red and white one with a camper top.
A very special exhibit at the 1971 show was presented by the Natural Gas Industry. On display was the 37-foot long, three-wheeled "Blue Flame" land speed car. The rocket-powered vehicle broke the world land speed record at 622.407 mph on Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah on October 28, 1970.
A favorite spot to relax and enjoy refreshments during the 1971 auto show was the Meister Brau New Orleans Beer Garden. It was located on the north end of the lower level of McCormick Place. A menu board on the left lists the food and drink items, all priced under $1.00.
At the booth for the Beachcomber MPV Multi-Purpose Vehicle, on the lower level of the auto show, a modified full-size van is being explored by people getting in and out of the vehicle. A salesman leaning on the rear spare-tire cover is in discussion with a potential customer. A poster states that the price is $7,360.
A 3/4 front view of the Ford-powered semi-trailer truck, which serves as the Chicago Police Exhibit Cruiser, almost fills this scene. Step stools are placed in front of the trailer's side doors. A modest crowd passes by the vehicle. Notice the single emergency light on the roof of the truck's cab.
Two young women are behind the booth for Warshawsky & Co. (also known as J.C. Whitney Co.), probably the best-known dealer in auto parts in the country during the early 1970s. Their slogan was "Everything Automotive." The booth consisted of various auto parts and repair manuals. Several potential customers are in the photo.
At the booth for Ziebart Rustproofing, on the lower level of the auto show, a man holding a section of a door with cutaway sections is in discussion with a man. Other people are looking at the display. A poster on the table states that Chicago Bears football player, Jim Seymour, will appear at this booth to sign autographs.
Dozens of boxed kits and assembled cars are on display, either on the counter or on shelves at the rear, at the Scale Models booth on the lower level of the auto show. A sign states that all assembled cars are $2.38 and the kits range from $1.00 to $3.00. The blond woman who runs the booth is at the left. A number of potential customers, mostly young, are in the booth.