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February 14 - 22, 2015
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Concept Car History
Chicago Auto Show -
Visitors to the 1988 Chicago Auto Show were shown the Jeep Cherokee Sport, the 10th anniversary Mazda RX-7 Turbo special edition, and the new Honda Accord coupe to be built only in the U.S. Following the lead of Cadillac, Buick turned out a two-seat model for 1988, named Reatta, and other new models that year were the Ford Probe, Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 and Mercedes-Benz 300SE. On the right, a stylish female model was featured with the Cadillac Voyage concept that was a study in aerodynamics and high tech equipment. The four-door, four-passenger sedan was designed for stability at 200 miles per hour and fuel efficiency, so said the commentators at the 80th edition of the Chicago Auto Show.
General Motors president Robert C. Stempel (left) shakes hands with Chicago Auto Show manager Ross E. Kelsey. Kelsey also was executive vice-president of the Chicago Automobile Trade Association (CATA).
Hundreds of people are lined up in the McCormick Place lobby, waiting to enter the 80th edition of the Chicago Auto Show. By the end of the nine-day run (Feb. 13-21, 1988), a total of 974,432 visitors enjoyed the annual 'windy city' automotive extravaganza.
A long shot down the main aisle on the upper level of McCormick Place shows the Ford and Chevrolet exhibits. A white Ford Probe coupe--forthcoming as a 1989 model—is on the left, and a red Chevrolet Corvette is on the right.
Long, wide crowd scene shot down the main aisle on the upper level of McCormick Place shows the Ford exhibit space at left, and Chevrolet's section at right. A red Camaro convertible is in the foreground at Chevrolet, and a red Probe coupe--forthcoming as a 1989 model--highlights the Ford side of the picture.
Chicago Mayor Eugene Sawyer (second from left) stands with CATA executives during the ribbon-cutting ceremony on the auto-show floor. Pictured are (left to right): CATA executive vice-president and auto-show manager Ross E. Kelsey, Mayor Sawyer, CATA president Jerry Schiele, Executive Show Committee chairman Richard C. Hoskins and Joseph Lesniak, one of the CATA's directors.
Chicago Mayor Eugene Sawyer is seated behind the wheel of a red Corvette convertible at the Chevrolet exhibit space. With the Mayor in the car is Executive Show Committee chairman Richard C. Hoskins. Standing toward the rear are CATA president Jerry Schiele and (to his rear) CATA public-relations director Frank Mauthe.
Chicago Mayor Eugene Sawyer (foreground) watches a male presenter at the Chevrolet exhibit space, accompanied by CATA executives. Next to the Mayor is CATA president Jerry Schiele. Speaking into a microphone, the presenter is pointing out details of GM's solar-powered Sunraycer.
A red Sundance with grey lower-body accent sits in the foreground of this scene at a corner of Plymouth's display space. To its rear is a futuristic, aerodynamically-shaped concept vehicle on a raised platform, called the Slingshot. Other Plymouth models sit far to the rear.
Introduced for 1988, a white front-drive Regal coupe sits on a raised turntable, facing away from the camera, at Buick's main-floor exhibit space. This Regal was completely different from the rear-drive models sold by Buick for years before. A sign at the rear reminds show goers that football great Walter Payton is again a spokesman for Buick at the Chicago Auto Show.
Rather than an ordinary Coupe de Ville, the Cadillac in the foreground of this scene is the distinctive Spring Edition. Special models of this sort often were promoted at the Chicago Auto Show.
Only glimpses of automobiles are visible in this dense crowd scene on the main floor. Chevrolet's display space is to the right of the aisle, while Ford's is at far left. One sign at right promotes the Chevrolet Beretta GTU coupe.
One of the joys of attending the auto show is sitting behind the wheel of the many sports cars, like the red Corvette in the Chevy exhibit. One young lad is inspecting the center-mounted fuel-filler cap.
A red Corvette convertible is facing directly at the camera in this scene, filling a corner of Chevrolet's display space. A sign overhead touts that Chevrolet is "The Heartbeat of America." Other Chevrolet models may be seen toward the rear, led by a pair of Camaros.
A white Cavalier Z24 convertible with a transparent hood is sitting in Chevrolet's main-floor exhibit. A sign overhead advises that Chevrolet is "The Heartbeat of America." Other Chevrolet models may be seen toward the rear. Cavaliers were restyled this year, adopting a more rounded appearance. The only Cavalier convertible was the sporty Z24.
Interest in exhibits at the Chicago Auto Show typically crossed the generational divide. Here, a man and a younger fellow--perhaps his son--are looking over a Mustang 5.0-liter high-output V-8 engine on a stand, at Ford's display space.
A maroon 300SE four-sedan, powered by a 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine, sits on a raised platform in the Mercedes-Benz exhibit. Mirrored panels are positioned behind the car.
A scene at Nissan's main-floor display space includes a white 300ZX hatchback coupe on a raised platform, below large "300ZX" and "Nissan" signs. On the left foreground is a black 300ZX .
Several models may be seen in this scene at the lower-level display area for German-built Porsche sports cars, including a silver-colored 944 Turbo coupe at left. All Porsches are sitting on slightly raised platforms, behind ropes, spread around a portal-style display unit. Two red 911s are partially visible at right: a Cabriolet and a coupe.
Think about their price stickers, and it's no wonder these four automobiles from Rolls-Royce/Bentley are sitting within a fenced enclosure on the lower level of the auto show. It's a low fence, however, so everyone can get a close look at the white Bentley Continental convertible in the foreground. At left is a red Bentley Mulsanne S sedan, and the car at far left is a Rolls-Royce Silver Spur.
Signage and aisle space occupy most of the area of this scene at the lower-level space for Sterling models. A white 825 sedan can be seen at left. Built from the same design as the Acura Legend, the front-drive Sterling was the product of a joint venture between Honda and Austin Rover in Great Britain.
A white 825 sedan with a sunroof sits in the foreground of this scene at the lower-level space for British-built Sterlings. A red 825 sedan, with doors fully open to expose the interior, sits on a raised platform toward the rear. Another Sterling is partially visible at left.
A sporty Celica coupe dominates this scene at the upper-level display space for Toyota automobiles. Celicas also came in hatchback form. Toward the rear, a red Supra coupe, a white Celica hatchback and a red mid-engined MR2 two-seat coupe are arranged on a set of raised platforms, beneath a sign reading "Toyota Performance."
Only portions of automobiles are visible in this wide scene at the upper-level space for Swedish-built Volvos. The red car in the center isn't a 1988 model at all; it's a P1800 (or 1800S) sports car, built in the 1960s and early '70s.
A white GV hatchback is sitting on a sloped platform at the left of this scene at the lower-level space for Yugoslavian-built Yugos--the lowest-priced car on sale in the U.S. at the time. Upscale GVL and GVS editions joined the original GV in 1988. Another Yugo hatchback is at right, partially blocked by a sign. A prototype Yugo yellow convertible is far to the rear.
A white Jeep Comanche SporTruck pickup with "hockey stick" body striping occupies the center of the lower-level Jeep/Eagle exhibit. Several other Jeep vehicles can be seen, including a pair of pickups and two Wranglers, which had replaced the long-lived CJ series during 1986.
Quite a selection of replicars and neo-classic creations greeted the show goer who visited the lower-level space for Classic Motor Carriages. The massive dark formal-roofed coupe in the foreground is a Tiffany Classic, with exposed exhaust pipes and dual covered sidemounted tires, as well as external horns and separate headlights. Just behind the Tiffany is an MG replica, ahead of a replicar made to look like a mid-1930s coupe. At far left is a replica of the Porsche Speedster.
A quartet of motor scooters sits in the foreground of this scene at the lower-level space for two-wheeled Hondas. Also present are five Honda motorcycles. Honda regularly exhibited its two-wheeled vehicles, as well as its line of passenger automobiles.
The sign at far left says Rolls-Royce, but those automobiles are behind the divider rail. Instead, a modified red Firebird with removable roof panel sits at the end of the long, narrow exhibit space taken by the Knudsen organization. To its rear is a white, more extensively modified coupe, wearing a Tojan label. Far to the rear is a neo-classic Spartan II coupe, styled to vaguely resemble posh automobiles of the 1930s.
Four very different vehicles are displayed at the lower-level space for Zimmer Motor Cars. In the foreground is the type of automobile for which the Zimmer name was best known: a red neo-classic coupe, borrowing its styling theme from the 1930s. Three modern-looking white vehicles also can be seen, each a distinctive variant of a more contemporary model.
A full-size Ford Econoline van, converted for use by disabled drivers, sits at the back of the display space for Adaptive Products Inc., a regular exhibitor at the Chicago Auto Show. Another van is partially visible at right. At far left, atop a table, is a display for the Hug-A-Tot auto safety vest, offered at a "show special" price of $55.
An abundantly-modified red Porsche 911 convertible sits in the right foreground of this scene at the lower-level space for Performance Group International Ltd., which encompasses AMG and Recaro. At left is a modified red Mercedes-Benz sedan, wearing a body-colored (red) grille.