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February 8 - 17, 2014
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Concept Car History
Chicago Auto Show -
Not many Chicagoans had an opportunity to take a close look at an exotic Lamborghini Countach, except at the 1986 auto show. Built in Italy, the Countach had scissors-style doors and a sticker price that topped a whopping $100,000. The same year, marketers for the new Yugo tried in vain to equate the low-budget, Yugoslavian-built minicar with the legendary Volkswagen Beetle and Ford Model T. Although the Yugo's price was tempting, reliability problems cropped up quickly.
Workers are mounting the numerals "1986" in the red carpeting on the auto-show floor, while a number of visitors are looking over the vehicles. Evidently, the show has not yet opened officially to the public.
Chicago Mayor Harold Washington (center) and Illinois Secretary of State Jim Edgar cut the ribbon to open the 78th Chicago Auto Show. Executive Show Committee chairman John Mathias is standing at left, holding the ribbon. Other CATA executives are standing to the rear, including president Robert J. Foley, vice-president Jerry Schiele, and show manager Ross E. Kelsey. A reporter is at right, extending a microphone toward the ribbon-cutters.
Chicago Mayor Harold Washington was impressed with the Pontiac Trans Sport concept minivan during his tour of the 78th Chicago Auto Show in Feb.1988, Designers at General Motors blended a massive glass-enclosed front-passenger compartment and a gull-wing right side door with a sleek body composed of plastic body panels. Six buckets seats awaited the riders and each had individual radio controls and ear phones. Power was supplied by a 2.9 liter aluminum turbocharged V-6.
Illinois Secretary of State Jim Edgar (center) is speaking into a microphone held by a reporter, in a quiet corner of the auto-show floor. At far right, CATA executive vice-president/show manager Ross E. Kelsey is looking on.
WGN radio broadcaster Bob Collins (center) is interviewing Ford Motor Company chairman Donald E. Petersen, at Ford's exhibit space. Looking on, at right, is Edsel Ford II.
WGN radio broadcaster Paul Brian is on the air at the Chicago Auto Show, sitting at the end of a long table on the main show floor. A large sign lists the broadcasters who are scheduled to appear early in the week, and invites auto-show visitors to "meet the world champion Bears" on Sunday afternoon.
At Pontiac's main-floor display space, popular Chicago Bears football player William "The Refrigerator" Perry is signing an autograph for a young auto-show visitor. A young woman is seated next to him. Perry earned his nickname as a result of his abundant size.
A compact Somerset coupe is in the foreground of this scene at Buick's exhibit space on the main floor. Formerly named Somerset Regal, it was a companion to the similar Buick Skylark. Other models can be seen toward the rear, including a stock car on a raised platform. Note the distinctive viewing platform with staircase, at near left.
A Monte Carlo LS (Luxury Sport) coupe sits in the left foreground of this scene at Chevrolet's main-floor exhibit space. LS was a new model for 1986. An emblem on the fender indicates that this car carries a 4.3-liter V-6 engine. At right, farther toward the rear, is a white Cavalier convertible. Other models may be seen even farther back.
Only glimpses of automobiles are visible among the people in this crowd scene at Pontiac's exhibit space. At left, a female presenter in a pink dress is leaning against a red Firebird coupe. Part of a 6000 LE coupe can be seen in the left foreground. Ford and Toyota exhibit spaces are toward the rear.
Two Chrysler Laser hatchback coupes are in the right foreground of this scene at the Chrysler-Plymouth exhibit space: a silver-colored coupe on the floor, and a red one on a raised platform. Other models may be seen toward the rear, but they are tiny in size.
Restyled this year, a two-passenger Escort EXP, with new bubble-back rear hatch, is in the foreground of this scene at the Ford exhibit space. Other models may be seen toward the rear, including a red _______ concept coupe at near left, but they are small in size.
Cars are tiny in size in this long shot taken from the corner of the exhibit space for Merkur automobiles. A white Merkur is on a raised round platform, and additional models are farther back. The Merkur XR4Ti hatchback coupe used a turbocharged four-cylinder engine. A total of 14,315 were sold in the U.S. during 1986.
People are lined up alongside Ferrari's exhibit space, restricted from passing the surrounding fence. A few people are inside, two of whom are peeking inside the 328 GTB coupe that dominates this shot. This two-passenger coupe used a 260-horsepower V-8 engine.
Partially blocked by a sign, an Excel hatchback sedan is featured at the lower-level space for Hyundai automobiles. A newcomer to the American market, the South Korean make debuted for 1986. After a few months on the market, a 2-door hatchback joined the original 4-door sedan and hatchback.
A red Vanden Plas sits on a raised platform at the exhibit space for Jaguar automobiles. Vanden Plas was the most posh version of the six-cylinder XJ6 sedan.
A red 928S hatchback coupe dominates this scene at the lower-level exhibit space for Porsche sports cars. This Porsche held a V-8 engine, mounted up front, in contrast to the 911's rear-engine layout.
Many different models are spread around the large exhibit space for German-made Mercedes-Benz automobiles, on the upper level of McCormick Place. "Engineered like no other car in the world," reads a large sign along the outer wall. Note the huge Mercedes-Benz emblem in the center.
A sign in the foreground at the Mitsubishi exhibit space on the lower level promotes the new Galant sedan. Cars visible in this scene, however, are other Mitsubishi products. A Mirage hatchback is partially visible at the center.
A racing 300ZX sport coupe is in the left foreground at Nissan's exhibit space on the upper level of McCormick Place. To its rear, on a raised platform, is a red production 300ZX coupe.
Two Peugeot 505 Turbo sedans may be seen in this scene at the lower-level exhibit space for this French-made automobile. At left is a racing edition; at right, facing away from the camera, a production 505 Turbo. In the center is a racing 2-door Peugeot, billed as World Rally Champion.
A GL 2-door hatchback sits on a raised round platform at Subaru's amply-sized main-floor exhibit space. Additional Japanese-built Subaru models may be seen toward the rear, including the new wedge-shaped XT sport coupe at near left.
At far right in this wide scene at Volvo's main-floor exhibit space, a sedan has been cut away for public viewing of its innards. Production Volvo cars are partially blocked from view and/or small in size, elsewhere in the photo.
What kind of comparison is this? Three cars are sitting on a long platform: a Model T Ford, a Volkswagen Beetle (already extinct in the U.S. for a decade, and a red Yugo. Produced in Yugoslavia, the new Yugo GV was the cheapest automobile available in the U.S., priced at a mere $3,990. "Introducing the same old idea," reads a sign above, which includes the car's price. Another Yugo, painted white, is at far left.
At the lower-level display space for Jeep/Renault, a Comanche pickup truck has been partially cut away to expose its suspension and other components. The pickup truck sits on a tilted platform, with a mirror beneath it to give a better view of the underside.
A red/black Jeep Cherokee Chief sport-utility vehicle is in the right foreground of this scene at the lower-level display space for Jeep/Renault. At left, on a raised platform, is a Jeep Wagoneer with simulated woodgrain bodyside trim. An overhead sign advises that the Jeep Comanche pickup truck had been named Four Wheeler of the Year by Four Wheeler Magazine.
"Nothing works like a Chevy truck," says the overhead sign in this scene at the lower-level display space for Chevrolet trucks. A two-toned Astro van is at left, its rear end cut off in this photo. At right is a cutaway display of Chevrolet's 6.2-liter V-8 engine.
Is this a Mercedes-Benz? Sure, it wears a Mercedes-Benz grille up front; but it's actually a specially-built model from Benny S, a West German produced of limited-production automobiles. Only the one car occupies the Benny S display space on the lower level. Note the wide fender flares.
A woman is at the microphone at the lower-level exhibit space for US99 radio (WUSN - 99 FM), "Chicago Country," broadcasting from inside a Vixen 21 motor home. Several auto-show visitors are passing by or stopping to chat.
Several people are looking over the publications at the kiosk for Floyd Clymer's books, operated each year at the Chicago Auto Show by Stan Hegberg. Several other aftermarket booths can be seen toward the rear.
Portions of several booths are visible in this crowd scene at the aftermarket area of the auto show.