Nearly 550 vehicles were display at the 1972 Chicago Auto Show, including the five-millionth Chicago-built Ford, a Galaxie 500 hardtop. Decades of progress in design were apparent, as it sat proudly next to a 1914 Model T. It was at this show that Lincoln gave the public its inaugural viewing of the Continental Town Car; Jensen offered the premiere showing of the Interceptor III; Lotus introduced its new Europa Twin Cam model, and Squire and TVR were seen for the first time in the US. A birdseye view of a portion of the show floor during the 1972 show captures the Chevrolet exhibit on the left and Oldsmobile on the right.
Overhead view looks down into the Ford exhibit area on the main floor of McCormick Place East. Near the center is a 3/4-rear view of a Pinto Squire wagon on a raised platform within a triangular display. Several other Pintos are nearby. On the far right of the photo is a portion of the Chevrolet display booth, with several Caprice models in view. In the foreground is the top of the Dodge sign
Looking North on the upper level of McCormick Place East, a very large crowd milled around the Dodge exhibit. A rear view of the NHRA Dodge Challenger driven by Mike Fons, is in the foreground. A rear view of a Demon two-door is slightly to the right. The rear of a red/white Challenger is mid-photo.
In the foreground of this scene outside of the Plymouth exhibit, is a 3/4-front view of a Barracuda two-door hardtop (the only body style this year). Note the distinctive body trim and hood scoop treatment. Glimpses of other Plymouth models can be seen in the background.
Close-up of the Ford exhibit featured a 3/4-front view of a white-over-goldtone 1972 Galaxie 500 hardtop coupe, and a black 1914 Ford Model T. This Galaxie was the five-millionth Chicago-built Ford. Both cars sit on a raised platform.
Scene at the Pontiac display, features an all-white LeMans Sport convertible with the T-41 Endura nose option and white-letter tires. On the right, behind the convertible, is a red Luxury LeMans two-door hardtop. A profile of a LeMans four-door station wagon, with tape applique of simulated wood grain is on the far left.
In the foreground of this scene outside the Pontiac exhibit is a 3/4-front view of a Grand Prix hardtop coupe. A white Grand Prix is directly behind it. Under the Pontiac sign, sitting on a raised platform, is a black Grand Prix. A sign promoted Pontiac as being "3rd in sales."
In the foreground of the TVR display space is a medium green Vixen 2500 sport coupe, with a purple Vixen 2500 directly behind it. The small sign on the right, for the Squire SS100, refers to the older-style white car behind the TVRs. Introduced for 1972, the Vixen 2500 was built in Great Britain, and used a 2.5-liter inline six-cylinder engine. TVR cars were distributed by Competition Motors, on South Stony Island Avenue in Chicago. On the far right is a deep red Saab two-door station wagon.
Photographed inside the crowded Oldsmobile exhibit, Dante the magician performed on a small stage, entertaining the multitude of visitors. The roof and dashboard of a Vista Cruiser station wagon can be seen among the mass of people. Note the elevated roof at the rear of the wagon.
No people are in this scene at the small Jensen and Healey exhibit. In the foreground is a 3/4-front view of a black-over-yellow Jensen Interceptor III coupe. Directly to the left is a Lotus Elan Sprint in the next booth. A 3/4-rear view of a black-over-silver Jensen Interceptor III can be see at mid-photo. Produced in England, this was the third-generation Interceptor, and it where equipped with Chrysler V-8 engines.
Truck-like passenger vehicles are featured in this scene outside the Chevrolet exhibit. In the foreground, left side, is a cream/yellow Suburban 4-door wagon. In the center, on a revolving platform, sits a gold-toned Kingswood Estate station wagon, with tape applique of simulated wood grain. On the right is a black-over-red two-door Blazer.
Colorful scene photographed from outside the Chevrolet truck exhibit on the lower level of McCormick Place East. On the far left is the front portion of a yellow Vega panel truck, with "Mod Bods" eagle graphic vinyl decals. In the foreground, at right, is a white-over-blue Cheyenne 10 Series Fleetside pickup truck with another example of the Mod Bods graphics. Directly behind, on the right, is a yellow El Camino SS. All of these were examples of the "New Trend Trucks from Chevrolet."
In the foreground of this scene at the special antique/classic car exhibit is a 3/4-front view of a white-over-burgundy 1942 Lincoln Continental convertible, which used a V-12 engine. On the left is a yellow 1956 Ford Thunderbird, with porthole windows on the optional removable hardtop. Behind the center column is a portion of a white Mercedes-Benz 300SL gullwing coupe. One of 1930s Chrysler's fastback Airflow models is at right.
Close-up view spotlighted the American Motors exhibit, featuring a 1972 Cardin-edition Javelin. A crowd of people circled the platform. Note the logo on the stand for French fashion designer Pierre Cardin. AMC built 4,152 Cardin-edition Javelins during the 1972 & 1973 model years.
On the left in this close-up view of the large crowd inside the Ford exhibit on the main floor is a Pinto "Squire" wagon on a raised/revolving platform. Two female models are leaning against the side of the car, with features simulated wood grain bodyside paneling.
Overhead view looks down into the Lincoln Continental exhibit area. On raised flooring sit four Continentals and one Mark IV hardtop coupe (upper right). Notice the airy umbrella-shaped lighting system over this display. Behind the Continentals can be seen the back of the Lincoln-Mercury Sports Panel area, which is in session in front of a large crowd .
Long shot reveals a fair number of people between the Chevrolet and Ford exhibits on the main floor. Several Chevrolet Caprice models are shown on the right side of the photo. A Pinto can be glimpsed on the left side, under the "FORD" sign.
High view outside the Lotus exhibit, features a small crowd milling past the Lotus+2 'S' 130 coupe in the foreground. On the left side is the Jim Russell International Racing Drivers School booth, where a young man is standing with his foot on a racing car's tire.
The Dodge truck exhibit included examples of full-size vans with camper top on its roof.
Close-up shot showed the Lunar Rover, an American flag, and one of the space suits fabricated by ILC Dover. A sign explained ILC's involvement with the Apollo space flights.
A major attraction in the Buick exhibit at the 1972 Chicago Auto Show was the experimental Riviera Silver Arrow III. Notable features that distinguished the concept from the production '72 Rivera began with the lowered roof that included B pillars, triple rectangular headlights, and additional taillights flared into twin pods on the roof.
The Berline, designed as a one-of-a-kind Ford LTD for the 1971 auto shows, was also renamed Berline II and featured again during 1972. Basically the same car was used, with different wheels and tire designs. Both had the unique grille and body-colored bumpers in front. The landau-style roof carried vinyl material on the forward half with the vinyl continuing down the belt line just behind the door. The body was finished in a special two-tone treatment of deep Tangier Blue and a silver-flecked white paint. Broader roof pillars with the absence of a rear quarter window gave the SportsRoof an even sleeker appearance. It also gave more privacy to the rear seating, but did nothing for the driver’s rear visibility. Taillight configuration incorporated a new optical principal, whereby abundant light was funneled through tiny slits in the lenses.
Position on the edge of the Oldsmobile exhibit was the General Motors Experimental Safety Vehicle (ESV). The vehicle was built to specifications supplied by the U.S. Department of Transportation as a public service for the contract price of one dollar. The ESV had a 124-inch wheelbase, 219-inch overall length and 56-inch height. One feature was the removal of the A-pillars to improve driver vision. Two of these five-passenger sedans were delivered to DOT in October of 1972, after twelve similar vehicles were crash tested into barriers at a speed of 50 miles per hour. On the far left is the 1972 Olds Vista Cruiser station wagon, with fixed-glass, roof-mounted skylight over its second-row seating.