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February 8 - 17, 2014
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Concept Car History
Concept Car History
Chicago Auto Show -
On the cover of the 1999 Chicago Auto Show (CAS) program was the Toyota MR-Spyder and the gold-tone Nissan New, both concept vehicles. The all-new Chevrolet Monte Carlo LS and SS were unveiled at the '99 CAS. On the right, Mazda introduces the 1999 Mazda Miata 10th Anniversary Edition. First Look for Charity raised more than one million dollars for 12 Chicagoland charities, and lucky winners drove home a 1999 Ford Mustang convertible and a 1999 Windstar minivan. A record 1,215,734 patrons found their way to McCormick Place Feb. 12-21, 1999.
The all-new 2000 Chevrolet Monte Carlo was unveiled in two versions, the LS and the SS at the 1999 Chicago Auto Show. Kurt Ritten, Chevrolet's Marketing General Manager described the car as "classy with a wild streak." Monte Carlo's shape was refined along side NASCAR race cars. The Monte Carlo SS was aggressive, with sporty standard fog lamps, body color rocker moldings, aluminum wheels and a rear deck spoiler.
Pontiac's Bonneville for model year 2000 was unveiled at the 1999 Chicago Auto Show, and according to Division General Manager Lynn Myers, was the latest expression of Pontiac's driving excitement, and "luxury with attitude!" The first production Bonneville was introduced in 1957 and the 2000 edition had a target market of families in their late 30s through 50s.
Appearing along with production models in the Land Rover exhibit, were two custom-built Discovery II sport-utility vehicles. In the foreground is a 3/4-rear view of a Discovery II with exposed body panels, which called attention to such features as door side impact beams. On the left, a second Discovery II is positioned at an angle on a snow-covered mountain trail diorama. The winter scene promoted Land Rover's Trek '99; a competitive event designed to allow Land Rover's retail employees to experience the four-wheel drive adventure and lifestyle that is demonstrated to customers everyday in Land Rover stores.
Inside the Land Rover exhibit, a special equipped Discovery II sport-utility vehicle is positioned at an angle on a snow-covered mountain trail diorama.. The winter scene promoted Land Rovers Trek '99; a competitive event designed to allow Land Rover's retail employees to experience the four-wheel drive adventure and lifestyle that's demonstrated to customers everyday in Land Rover stores.
During 1998, Ford purchased its long-term partner, Cosworth Racing. One of the first vehicles released after the merger, and displayed during the 1999 Chicago show, was the Cosworth Focus two-door hatchback prototype. Inspired by Ford's Focus World Rally Car (WRC), the concept featured the all-new C Segment platform, 2.0 litre turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine and a five-Speed manual. Unique to the Cosworth Focus were lower body panels, new front bumper with integral fog lamps and roof mounted rear spoiler. The rear portion of a Mustang coupe can be seen mid-photo, right side.
On display in the Acura exhibit was one of only 50 NSX Alex Zanardi Edition sports cars produced. This Acura signature series was named in honor of two-time CART open-wheel racing champion, Alessandro Zanardi. The hand-built Zanardi Edition went on sale in March of 1999, with a sticker price of $87,700. Performance was provided via a 290 horsepower mid-mounted 3.2 liter V-6 engine.
On display at the 1999 Chicago Auto Show was the 30th Anniversary edition of the Pontiac Firebird Trans Am. The original Firebird Trans Am production model was introduced at the 1969 Chicago Auto Show. True to the original, the 1999 Firebird Trans Am 30th came only finished in white with blue stripes. Production was limited to 1000 coupes and 500 convertibles
A close-up view of the luxurious 1999 Jaguar XJ8 Vanden Plas four-door sedan on display at the 91st Chicago Auto Show. Suggested retail price of the Vanden Plas model was nearly $65,000. The number 8 within the XJ8 name indicated a V-8 engine (4.0-liter). This was the only engine available that year, since Jaguar discontinued the V-12 & inline 6 at the end of 1998. Another exotic Jaguar, the $70,500 XK8 convertible can be seen behind the Vanden Plas.
A 1999 Ferrari F355 Spider was part of the Shell Oil Company exotic car exhibit. The first year Shell sponsored its exotic car exhibit at the Chicago Auto Show was 1999. Along with the supercars, Shell used its floor space to demonstrate and gage public reaction to robotic gasoline pumps; automatic air pumps for tires and multi-media access at the pump.
A variety of Volvo models are seen in this wide-angled shot of the Volvo exhibit. In the foreground is a 3/4-rear view of an S80 2.9 4-door sedan. The S80 was a completely new Volvo product, and featured a transverse in-line 6-cylinder engine. Poking out behind the S80 is the front clip of another new model, the C70 four-seat convertible. During the show, Volvo celebrated the 40th anniversary of being the first auto manufacturer to install a three-point safety belt in a production vehicle back in 1959.
Subaru exhibited three different station wagons for 1999, including a prototype model. In the foreground is a 3/4 front view of the Impreza 4-door wagon, with an example of the original 1974 Subaru 4WD-subcompact wagon on the far right. The main attention was the Subaru Forester 'Woody' concept, seen in profile on the left side of the image. Genuine Philippine mahogany and white ash wood veneers were applied to the Subaru doors and rear fenders with special adhesive. White ash was also used to construct the roof rack and as decorative strips on the driving lights and bumpers. Contributing to the classic look, were 'baby moon' hubcaps. Custom seating surfaces and door panels were tailored in a wicker cane-type texture on woven material.
A close up, 3/4 front view of the 2000 Audi TT sports car, which went on sale in the spring of 1999. The front wheel drive 2+2 coupe featured a 1.8-liter, 180 horsepower four-cylinder engine with a five-speed manual transmission. The design was very similar to the 1995 Audi TT Concept.
Audi's spectacular exhibit featured a pair of 2000 TT coupes posed at an angle high above the show floor. In the foreground are two Audi station wagons. Parked on the right, is an A4 with a roof rack holding two bicycles. On the left is a side view of the A6 Avant wagon, with standard equipped quattro all wheel drive
In the middle of the Mercedes-Benz exhibit, sat a limited edition SLK230 roadster. This was one of several Mercedes-Benz models offered with special custom-exterior paint and top-quality leather trimmed interiors. Mercedes-Benz called the customization program, designo,' pronounced: dee-zin-yo. All SLK230 models featured an automatic hardtop roof that only took 25 seconds to change from coupe into a convertible.
For several years beginning with the 1999 event, Shell Oil Company sponsored the Exotic Car exhibit. One of the special vehicles on display was the Nicole Miller Ferrari.' Nicole Miller products included womenswear, menswear and a line of fragrance. Along with the supercars, Shell used its floor space to demonstrate and gauge public reaction to robotic gasoline pumps; automatic air pumps for tires and multi-media access at the pump.
One of the attractions within the Hyundai exhibit, were video arcade racing games. Participants sat in miniature Tiburons, and with a steering wheel attached to the game, raced against the machine and other drivers. Hyundai employed the racing games to advertise its involvement with U.S. ProRally. Hyundai had been part of ProRally racing since 1995, and clinched five SCCA ProRally Championships wins in 1997. The word Tiburon is Spanish for shark.
One of the perennial aftermarket exhibitors at the auto show was Liquid Lustre, a non-abrasive carnauba wax. Sold in 16 oz. bottles, Liquid Lustre combined cleaning and polishing in one easy step. During the show, demonstrations of the product were performed on the front hood, fenders, grille and bumper of a 1981 Pontiac Phoenix.
The Volo Auto Museum in Volo, Illinois has featured classic and custom-built cars at the show for decades. One of the most unusual vehicles on display during 1999 annual event was the Original Boot Hill Express. This once horse-drawn hearse was converted in to a customized hot rod in 1967. Mounted behind the glass partition in the back of the Express, was a 500 horsepower Hilborn injected Chrysler Hemi engine. Note: Photo is in vertical format.
Chicago Bears football legend Walter Payton is shown giving an autographed mini-football to a guest attending the General Motors Corporation auto show media reception. Though being very ill, Payton fulfilled his promise to attend, helping to raise $25,000 for the Chicago Police Athletic League. Posing with Payton, is Roy S. Roberts, General Motors group vice president for North American vehicle sales, service, and marketing. Other superstars that signed autographs and mingled with the crowd were Chicago Bears' Dan Hampton and Chicago Bulls basketball great, Bob (Robert Earl) Love.