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February 8 - 17, 2014
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Chicago Auto Show -
The 75th anniversary edition of the Chicago Auto Show did not disappoint its many eager visitors. Chrysler Corporation gave a close look at two sporty models, due for 1984 production: the Dodge Daytona and related Chrysler Laser. Concept vehicles seen in Chicago that year included the Buick Questor, Ford Probe IV, Continental Concept 100, and Nissan NRV II research vehicle. Convertibles were in fashion once again with Ford's Mustang, Chevrolet's Cavalier, and Pontiac's Sunbird all displayed in ragtops. On the right, a young woman is performing on a large platform inside the Nissan exhibit. She was one of the Olympic hopefuls, part of the U.S. Gymnastic Federation. Nissan was the official car and truck for the gymnastic federation.
Visitors who enter the 1983 Chicago Auto Show on the upper level of McCormick Place were greeted by the message that this was the annual event’s 75 anniversary. Seemingly stretching for miles, the red carpet aisle separated the various automakers exhibits, starting with Ford on the left and Chevrolet on the right. New-for-1983 models included Mercury Cougar, Chrysler New Yorker, Chrysler LeBaron Town & Country convertible, Renault Alliance and Ford Thunderbird.
All-black and devoid of trim, a Grand National edition of the rear-drive Buick Regal sits on a raised platform during the 1983 Chicago Auto Show. Available later as a limited-production offshoot of the Regal T-Type, with a turbocharged engine, the Grand National was supposed to provide much of the feeling of a NASCAR race car. Note the subtle rear spoiler. Other Buick models can be seen toward the rear of this scene.
Chevrolet did not offer a Corvette for model year 1983, but people attending '83 Chicago Auto Show were given a sneak peek at the 1984 sports car’s chassis to keep that link between the Corvette and Chicago unbroken. In the Chevy exhibit was also a 1982 Corvette Collector Edition coupe with T-bar roof and transparent acrylic lift-off panels. To the right is a side view of the full-size Chevrolet Caprice Classic Estate wagon.
Cadillac's smallest model, the Cimarron sedan, is in the foreground of this scene at the luxury automaker's main-floor exhibit. Cimarrons got a new fuel-injected 2.0 liter engine for 1983. Prices began at $12,215. Cimarron was essentially a posh variant of the GM J-body group that included the Chevrolet Cavalier. On a raised platform at the rear is a Cadillac Seville sedan with its easy-to-spot "bustleback" rear end.
A Custom Cruiser station wagon with roof rack and woodgrain bodyside trim is in the foreground of this scene at Oldsmobile's main-floor exhibit space. Similar to the Ninety-Eight series, the Custom Cruiser had its own grille. Standard engine was a 307-cid V-8. Other Oldsmobile models may be seen toward the rear, including a mid-size, rear-drive Cutlass Supreme coupe on the left.
A T-roofed Firebird coupe--actually an Official Pace Car for the Daytona 500 race--sits on a slightly raised platform in the center of the Pontiac exhibit during the 1983 Chicago Auto Show. Note the huge back window on the red Firebird coupe at far left. Chevrolet's display space is across the aisle.
David Hasselhoff, star of the 'Knight Rider' television series is photographed while signing autographs for fans inside the Pontiac exhibit during the 1983 Chicago Auto Show. Standing next to him is Natalie Carroll, billed as Pontiac's "Firebird Girl' and a line of youngsters waiting to meet the two celebrities.
A Dodge 400 convertible sits on a raised platform in the foreground of the automaker's main-floor display space at the 1983 Chicago Auto Show. Capable of carrying four passengers, the 400 convertible--like its Chrysler LeBaron counterpart--had a narrow and cramped back seat. A sign behind the car lists all Dodge models, several of which can be glimpsed toward the rear. At far right is an imported Colt. As an experiment, Dodge also exhibited a variant of the production convertible, equipped with a "rumble seat."
An angular-shaped Lagonda sedan is in the foreground of this scene at the lower-level display space for British-built Aston Martin automobiles. At far left is a red Volante convertible. In between, washed out and barely visible, is a racing Aston with a tall rear spoiler. Just 145 Aston Martins were produced in 1983, and only a handful of those reached the U.S. market.
A closeup view of the new Audi 5000S sedan on display at the 1983 Chicago Auto Show. The German automaker's large model. was redesigned and became available in May 1983 as an early '84 model.
Sitting within protective ropes, a Porsche 911SC coupe occupies the foreground of the Porsche-Audi exhibit. Porsche-Audi was a division of Volkswagen of America. Porsche also offered an open 911SC cabriolet in 1983, for the first time in 18 years (seen at center left). Posed on a revolving platform is an Audi 5000 turbo sedan. At far right is a Porsche 928S equipped with a V-8 engine.
Ferrari typically established a strong presence at the Chicago Auto Show, considering how modest its sales totals were in the U.S. market. A silver-colored 380 GTSi Spider coupe, with its top in place, is in the foreground of this scene at Ferrari's relatively large display space. A blue Mondial 8 coupe is on a raised platform to its rear.
Mazda's sports car, the rotary-engined RX-7 coupe, is in the foreground of this scene at the Japanese automaker's main-floor exhibit space. Four versions were available this year: S, GS, GSL, and Limited. A GLC sedan (also available in hatchback coupe and station wagon form) is at left.
A group of Mercedes-Benz models has been lined up along the wall, angled inward, at the German automaker's main-floor exhibit space. Focal point of this photo, however, is the huge Mercedes-Benz symbol (a three-pointed star within a ring) that is part of a floor display.
A group of Mercedes-Benz models has been lined up along the wall, angled inward, at the German automaker's main-floor exhibit space. Visible in this shot are a 380SEC coupe, a 380SL roadster, and a 380SEL sedan.
A current Cordia hatchback coupe pokes into this photo at the left, but the main attraction is a Mitsubishi product that's far older. Mitsubishi first produced the Model A, an example of which is shown at the company's lower-level display space, in 1917. Only about 20 were built. A sign on the floor promotes Mitsubishi's car audio products.
An Alliance sedan is in the foreground of this scene at the main-floor exhibit space for that model, which was produced by American Motors--an affiliate of Renault--in Kenosha, Wisconsin. A racing Alliance may be seen at left, as can other production models toward the rear. A sign promotes the naming of a European predecessor as "Car of the Year" by the European press.
Two Subaru hardtop coupes are sitting on a raised round platform surrounded by promotional signs at a display for the Japanese automaker. That body style came in DL and GLF trim levels, as well as in front-wheel or four-wheel drive configurations. All Subarus used horizontally-opposed four-cylinder engines, with a turbocharged edition available beginning that model year. Additional Subaru models may be seen toward the rear.
Camry was the big news from Toyota at the 1983 Chicago Auto Show. Toyota launched this replacement for the long-lived Corona in mid-season. A black Camry sedan sits on a raised platform in the foreground of this scene at Toyota's main-floor display space.
A dark GTI hatchback coupe sits on a raised platform in this scene at Volkswagen's main-floor exhibit space. "It's a wolf in sheep's clothing," says a sign above the new-for-1983 model, considered VW's sportiest offering. In the right foreground is a maroon Rabbit 4-door sedan. Various other Volkswagen models may be seen toward the rear, though not necessarily clearly.
Ford exhibited a new Bronco II sport-utility vehicle.at the Chicago Auto Show, identified as a 1984 model. Intended to compete against Chevrolet's S-10 Blazer, it was a smaller-sized, four-wheel-drive companion to the full-size Bronco.
Wearing number 58, a racing Porsche 944 sits between ropes at the German sports car exhibit during the 1983 Chicago Auto Show. A production Porsche 944 is on the raised platform. Evolved from the 924 series, the 944 series was new for 1983.
A compact S-10 pickup truck, painted light blue, dominates this scene at the lower-level display space for Chevrolet trucks. This one has the extended Maxi-Cab. Several additional Chevrolet trucks may be seen toward the rear.
Mazda's claim, as stated in a large sign at the Japanese company's lower-level display space, is straightforward: they promise "the lowest priced truck in America." A blue B-Series pickup sits directly below the sign, and a bronze-colored example may be seen at left.
Several pieces of cactus help highlight the compact pickup truck that sits on a raised round platform, in this scene at the lower-level display space for Toyota trucks.
Yes, that appears to be a Packard sign at the rear of this display space, borrowed from the marque that had expired after 1958. This is a neo-classic rendition that borrowed the Packard name. Both a maroon Sport coupe and a white "Caribbean" convertible are in the foreground, with a third example toward the rear. Starting at a hefty $59,995, these cars were produced by the Bayliff Coach Corp. in Lima,Ohio. Buick Riviera and Cadillac Fleetwood mechanical components were employed.
Still the best-known of the neo-classic makes, Excalibur was a regular exhibitor at the Chicago Auto Show. A Series IV SS Phaeton is pictured in this scene, complete with sidemounted spare tires, exposed exhaust pipes, separate headlights, and external horns. Phaetons stickered for $55,500, and a Roadster cost even more.
Produced in Germany, Bitter was a modern sport coupe with concealed headlights. A grey Bitter is in the foreground of this scene at the company's lower-level display space, and a glimpse of another coupe can be seen at left.
Several companies turned out replicas of the legendary Shelby Cobra race car. Two complete cars are in this scene at the exhibit space for Aurora Cars Ltd., of Richmond Hills, Ontario. Also on display is an exposed chassis and inner structure. A high-output Ford 302-cid V-8 engine supplied the power, while the suspension and differential came from Jaguar.
Since the early 1970s, Allison Replicars Ltd. of Port Orange, Florida, had been reproducing replicas of the 1952 MG-TD. Though powered by Volkswagen engines, the replicars were quite close to the original in dimensions and equipment, including side curtains and a fold-down windshield. Two examples are in this scene, including a red one with its top up at right.
Mark III Conversions exhibited this highly modified Chevy Van at the Chicago Auto Show, to demonstrate its skill at producing special full-size vans. Note the raised roof and fancy paint, as well as the distinctive side windows.
Rockwood is the name of the conversion company that transformed this Chevy Van into a distinctive rendition of the otherwise-ordinary full-size van. Note the multi-hued paint and special window treatment. Another conversion van is at right, exhibited by Shepard Chevrolet.
When does a conversion van become a full-fledged motor home? Probably, when the vehicle has been created by Winnebago, a world leader in motor homes. A sign promotes this Centauri Van as "the 24 mpg Winnebago built for America. In America."
To help promote its BodyGard product, Simoniz exhibited this Pontiac Grand Prix stock car, wearing number 53, adjoining the antique/classic exhibit area on the lower level. Several antique and special-interest cars can be seen toward the rear.
The Chicago Region of the Sports Car Club of America sponsored this exhibit in the lobby area of McCormick Place, outside the auto-show entrance. Several racing sports cars are visible.
A long, low dragster with a coupe body and a protruding engine that reaches roof height is in the foreground of this scene at the special racing car exhibit in the McCormick Place lobby. A Dodge van-type pickup, labeled "Dodge Rebellion," sits to its rear. Another racing vehicle is partially visible at left.
Sports celebrities gained a strong presence at the Chicago show during the Seventies and Eighties. A young Michael Jordan represented Chevrolet in ads like the one with a 1983 S-10 Blazer, and appeared at the auto show to sign autographs.