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February 14 - 22, 2015
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Concept Car History
Concept Car History
Chicago Auto Show -
Front cover of the 1994 Chicago Auto Show (CAS) program featured the creative painting by Alan Silverman, a senior at Naperville (Illinois) North High School. Official debuts at the 86th edition included the Toyota Avalon, Mercury Mystique, Pontiac Firebird convertible, 1995 Chevrolet Blazer and 1995 Mitsubishi Eclipse/Eagle Talon. At the '94 Chicago Auto Show, Buick used a product presentation theater to promote the new 1995 Riviera. Ford teased visitors with its Profile concept, said to suggest the coming-soon Contour. Lincoln's Contempra concept foretold the 1995 Continental. Chicago Bulls basketball star John Paxton signed autographs at Nissan, and visitors who scored a soccer goal at the Pontiac exhibit won a water bottle and a chance to win a brand new Pontiac Trans Sport mini van.
Everything looks deserted and desolate in McCormick Place before opening day of the 1994 Chicago Auto Show. Within hours, huge lines of eager show goers were filing through the doors to experience the 86th edition of the 'windy city' automotive extravaganza. By closing hours of the nine-day run, a total of 954,389 people had attended the show.
Official Vehicle of the Chicago Auto Show (CAS) was a 1994 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 convertible, shown sitting on a raised pedestal in the lobby of McCormick Place East. The vehicle was also the grand prize at the CAS Charity Preview, held the evening before the public opening of the 86th annual show.
A wide panoramic shot highlights the main isle on the upper level of McCormick Place East before the official opening of the 86th Chicago Auto Show (CAS). On the left side is the exhibit for Ford automobiles, and on the right is arch-competitor Chevrolet. Ford displayed the Mustang Cobra ragtop that would pace Indianapolis 500 race. Chevy debuted the Blazer, and a Camaro convertible was the grand prize at CAS Charity Preview night.
A dark 1994 Buick Park Avenue Ultra sedan with supercharged V-6 engine faces the camera at far left in Buick's exhibit space. Two other non-supercharged Park Avenue models are also in the scene
Wearing ground-hugging lower-body panels, a red 1994 Chevrolet Beretta Z26 coupe sits in the left-center foreground of the Chevy exhibit. On the far right, behind ropes, is a Chevrolet/GM Goodwrench Service Plus racing car. Portions of several additional models can be seen, positioned around the exhibit area. A neon display sign promotes the 'Techna-Vision' presentation, which entertained and explained the features of Chevrolet's newest models to interested showgoers. In the compact Beretta lineup, the Z26 replaced the prior GT and GTZ.
A red Cutlass Supreme convertible, with simulated roll bar behind the driver's seat, is one of several models in this scene at Oldsmobile's upper-level exhibit space. Toward the right rear, sitting on an elaborate display platform, is an Aurora sedan, to be introduced as a 1995 model. In the right foreground is a black Cutlass Supreme SL.
A red Bravada sport-utility vehicle sits in the foreground of this scene at Oldsmobile's upper-level exhibit space. Another Bravada is on a display platform, behind it. Note the sculpted musicians in the Contempra display at right.
A red Trans Sport minivan sits on a raised round platform in the foreground of this scene at Pontiac's upper-level exhibit space. Another Trans Sport, painted white, is down on the floor. The white coupe sitting on an elevated, roof-like structure is a compact Grand Am.
Painted a golden hue, the Pontiac Sunfire Speedster concept can be seen in this view of the Pontiac exhibit during the 1994 Chicago Auto Show. Ready for introduction as a 1995 model, the Sunfire would replace the Sunbird series. In the foreground, a dark Bonneville sedan is on the left, and the back of a white Bonneville end can be seen at right. The red sedan is a Bonneville.
Scissors-style doors were just one of the unconventional features of the Neon Aviat concept, billed as a sport coupe for the 21st century. Pictured at far left, the Aviat had bodywork that wrapped inside the rear wheels. Note the huge air scoop ahead of the rear wheel, and the full fender skirt. An everyday red Neon is seen at the center, along with several other members of that subcompact family.
A Lincoln Mark VIII coupe occupies the foreground of this scene at the Lincoln-Mercury display space on the upper level. Its 4.6-liter V-8 engine developed 280 horsepower. Several additional Lincoln models also can be seen, at least partially.
Long view down the main aisle on the lower level of McCormick Place reveals only glimpses of a few vehicles: Infiniti models on the left, and BMW automobiles on the right.
No Bugattis had been produced since a handful that had appeared in 1951, but a modern sports car of that name turned up at the Chicago Auto Show in '94. This blue Bugatti EB110 coupe fills out most of the photo. Regular production was anticipated, but only a handful of Bugattis actually were built over the next several years.
Several production Hondas can be seen in the foreground, including a silver Accord coupe and a red Prelude. No doubt, many show goers' eyes fell instead upon the red/white Indy Car sitting on a raised, tilted platform at the company's upper-level space.
A red Excel hatchback sits at right in this scene at the main-floor space for Korean-built Hyundai automobiles. At left, on the other side of a tall display pillar with an enlarged Hyundai logo, is a white Sonata sedan, redesigned for introduction as an early 1995 model.
Two bicycles have been placed on the roof rack of a Rodeo sport-utility vehicle, at Isuzu's lower-level display space. At right is a blue Amigo, the smaller two-door sport-utility from Isuzu, based on the pickup truck but with a removable canvas top over the rear seating/cargo area.
No "ordinary" Jaguar, this is the extra-low, seldom-seen XJ220 supercar--never offered for sale in the U.S. but available in Europe later in the 1990s, in very small numbers. "A blending of art and machine," reads the sign on the Jaguar display element, which contains a maroon XJS convertible.
A red Diablo coupe is featured at the lower-level display space for Lamborghini, a builder of exotic sports cars in Italy. A dark Diablo sits on a raised platform, to its rear. Lamborghini sold only a handful of cars in the U.S. each year, but they drew considerable attention at auto shows. Note the enclosure around the display area, to discourage visitors from getting close to the cars.
Not every vehicle displayed at the auto show was freshly cleaned. This special Land Rover model, fitted with special lights and other extra gear, had participated in the rigorous Camel Trophy competition. A regular-production Range Rover can be seen at far left.
Four different Mercedes-Benz models are positioned in a line, separated by decorative pillars giving the model designation. At left is a blue C280, one of the new C-Class sedans that replaced the 190 series this year. Next in line is an E320 sedan, a member of the E-Class family. Also visible, at least in part, are an S-Class sedan and an SL coupe/roadster.
Only one car is featured in this scene at the Mercedes-Benz display space. It's a white C-Class sedan, on a raised platform that promotes its being named North American Car of the Year. Available in two series, C220 and C280, the new C-Class sedans replaced the 190 series this year.
Only the back end of a Diamante sedan can be seen in the foreground of this scene at the Mitsubishi exhibit space, but two vehicles are fully visible on raised platforms toward the rear. In the center is the redesigned Eclipse coupe, being readied for introduction as a 1995 model. To its right is a red 3000GT Spyder, with retractable hardtop. At far left is the front end of a red Eclipse.
Sitting within a decorative enclosure, a red 900 convertible faces the camera at the lower-level space for Swedish-built Saabs. The 900 series was redesigned for 1994, after 15 years in its previous form. Saab was now half-owned by General Motors. An overhead sign toward the rear, with a red coupe below it, promotes "The New 900."
Subaru's information kiosk actually takes center stage in this scene at the company's main-floor exhibit space. Poking into the picture at left is a red SVX sport coupe, noteworthy for its distinctive "window-within-a-window" design. A couple of more conventional Subaru models can be seen toward the rear, at least partially. In addition to the SVX, Subaru offered Legacy and Loyale sedans and station wagons, as well as the subcompact Impreza and the little Justy.
A sign in the foreground of Suzuki's lower-level display space promotes the Swift GT minicompact passenger car, but the vehicles in view are mainly trucks. At left is a maroon Sidekick 4-door sport-utility vehicle. At right, it's a 2-door Sidekick convertible.
Portions of several current models are visible in this scene at Toyota's upper-level display stand. But the main attraction is an early Toyota model: a Corona sedan from the late 1960s, with its characteristic slanted-back front end. Toyota had entered the U.S. market in 1958, but the Corona was the first model to achieve significant popularity.
Twin Camry sedans are prominent in this scene at Toyota's upper-level display space: a light blue model at left, and a darker sedan at right. Only the back end of another Toyota pokes into the foreground. Various additional models are visible, including one that appears to be climbing up an angled platform.
A bicycle has been mounted on the roof rack of a EuroVan, at Volkswagen's lower-level truck display space. A camper-equipped EuroVan can also be seen, alongside. There were no 1994 EuroVans, but a revised version went on sale in spring of 1994 as an early '95 model.
Painted in noticeable purple and silver, an extended-cab compact S10 pickup truck sits in the foreground of this scene, along the aisle, at the lower-level space for Chevrolet trucks. Redesigned for 1994, the S10 got fresh styling, more powerful engines, and optional four-wheel anti-lock brakes. Only glimpses of other Chevrolet trucks are visible.
A maroon Windstar minivan is featured in this scene at the lower-level space for Ford trucks. Ready for introduction in spring 1994, as an early '95 model, Windstar was Ford's first front-drive minivan, rivaling the Dodge Grand Caravan. Another Windstar, painted blue, sits on a raised round platform at right. A sign above that Windstar promotes its safety features.
A maroon Explorer sport-utility vehicle takes up half of this scene at the lower-level space for Ford trucks. But the Explorer that catches one's eye is the dramatically-colored and accessory-laden example at left: a promotional vehicle for the Jurassic Park movie.