The 1976 Chicago Auto Show was ablaze in red, white and blue and offered 700 cars on display by 36 manufacturers. A colorfully decorated second floor featured not only Ford, Chevrolet and Dodge but also Toyota, Volkswagen, and British-Leyland’s MG, Triumph and Jaguars. The song all the imports were singing was ECONOMY. Subaru billed its four-wheel drive wagon as "The Economy Car for Today's Economy," and Volkswagen's Rabbit was advertised as "The Best Car in the World for under $3500." Even Rolls-Royce was calling itself "The Unexpected Economy Car in 1976!" On the right is a photo that looks west outside McCormick Place. In the foreground are vehicles traveling north on Lake Shore Drive, with the McCormick Inn hotel shown across the highway. Notice the flags representing (left to right): City of Chicago, State of Illinois, and the United States.
Photo taken outside McCormick Place looks at the heavy traffic heading north on Lake Shore Drive. Downtown Chicago is in the background. The tallest skyscraper in the photo is the Sears Tower (at left). The large outdoor parking lots are nearly filled with automobiles.
Seated (left to right) are CATA president Joseph J. Hennessy, Illinois Secretary of State Michael J. Howlett, and Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley. They are seated in the GM people-moving exhibit. A uniformed woman stands at the end of the conveyance.
CATA executive vice-president and auto show manager Ross E. Kelsey (right) is pinning the official CATA badge to the lapel of Illinois Governor Dan Walker.
High view inside the Chevrolet exhibit captured a crowd watching the Monza 2-door sedan raise and lower to exposed its engine and chassis. Front wheels, suspension components, and the engine, are beneath the tilted car body. Both doors were also removed to reveal the 2+2 seat interior.
A crowd stands in front of a small circular stage, inside the Chevrolet exhibit. On the stage is a strange sight: a woman sits on a bar stool with a box covering her head. The box has seven arrows stuck into it. A man is speaking into a microphone, and a female assistant is on the right side. Behind the trio is a Chevelle picture. Notice the "Chevrolet Salutes America" signs, celebrating the United States' 200th anniversary.
Inside the Oldsmobile exhibit, a crowd watched as a General Motors sculptor/designer formed a futuristic automobile in clay. A woman with a microphone explained the steps involve in the development of new vehicles.
Crowds on both sides of this imposing structure looked up to second-story stage as a magician performed gravity-defying stunts. The large display had a Spanish motif as a tie-in to the Plymouth Volare, which was billed as "The new small car with the accent on comfort." Only a portion of the roof and windshield of one car is visible in the foreground.
Indoor lobby on the lower level of McCormick Place East was filled with people (backs to camera), waiting in multiple lines to purchase their entrance tickets for the auto show.
A section of McCormick Place East lobby outside the entrance to the lower-level exhibits was used to feature a special people-moved exhibit by General Motors.
Special display outside the entrance to the lower-level exhibits at the 68th annual Chicago Auto Show, featured examples of Ford's 400 CID V-8 PROCO (programmed combustion) engine. Within this roped-off area is a 1976 Ford Elite pillarless two-door hardtop with full vinyl roof and dual vertical opera windows. The hood was removed to expose the special powerplant, with a second sample of the engine on a floor stand.
Dark shot inside the Buick exhibi features a portion of a Skylark hatchback in the lower right corner, and on the checker flag platform, is the turbocharged V-6 Century 2-door coupe that would pace the Indianapolis 500 in May 1976. Volkswagen's display can be seen directly behind Buick.
Inside the Chevrolet display, the photographer shot over a Malibu Classic Estate Wagon, to capture the Monza Towne Coupe in a unique display. The entire front engine, transmission and wheel assembly were separated from the car, and the car's body angled upward.
On the raised platform in the foreground at Oldsmobile's exhibit space is a side view of the GMO Cutlass 2-door coupe, which was a regional special. The letters GMO stood for "Gallant Men of Olds." On the left, behind the GMO, is a Royal Delta 88 4-door hardtop. A Cutlass Supreme 2-door coupe is on the right side.
Deep view of the auto-show main floor looks southeast, from outside the Ford exhibit. A 3/4 front view of a Thunderbird with the Bordeaux Luxury Group is in the foreground. A front view of another Thunderbird is on the right. The rear of a LTD Landau 4-door sedan is on the left.
Inside the Lincoln-Mercury exhibit, seen in close-up in the foreground, is a 3/4 front view of a Cougar XR-7 coupe with tiny "opera" windows in its vinyl half-roof. Directly behind is a side view of a Bobcat Runabout with simulated wood trim. On the raised platform to its rear is another Bobcat Runabout, without the woodgrain decoration.
Inside the Chrysler-Plymouth exhibit, large crowds on both sides of this imposing structure look up to watch as a magician performs stunts from a second story stage. The large Spanish-motif display was a tie-in to the Plymouth Volare, described as "the new small car with the accent on comfort."
In the foreground of an exhibit for the compact Mercury automobiles is a 3/4 rear view of a Bobcat Runabout. On the right, in a free-standing case, is an exhibit of the 2.3-liter 4-cylinder engine. Behind the case is a rear view of a Comet 2-door coupe. At left, along the aisle, is a Bobcat Villager station wagon with woodgrain bodyside trim.
Steve Ramoutar, from Waukegan, Illinois, tries to make Nancy del Corral break up, giggle or laugh by sticking out his tongue. Nancy retained her stony-faced silence, and the only one to laugh was the crowd and Ramoutar. Nancy also appeared during the 1977 Chicago Auto Show, and if you could've made her change expression, Dodge had a kids-sized Aspen ready to drive away.
Overhead photograph looks down onto the Datsun (Nissan) exhibit. At mid-photo, right side, is a special exhibit with a mid-1930s Datsun 2-door roadster on a raised platform. Several contemporary Datsun models can be glimpsed in this over-exposed photo, including a 280-Z sports car at lower left.
Five cars are sitting within a roped-off area at the Jensen exhibit space. In the foreground is a side view of a red Jensen-Healey roadster. A racing version of the Jensen-Healey roadster is slightly behind and to the left. Mostly blocked by the race car is a Jensen GT sportswagon. Far to the rear is a side view of a Jensen Interceptor Saloon (2-door sedan). On the far right is a silver-colored Jensen Interceptor convertible. The Jensen plant in England ceased production in August 1976.
Exotic automobiles are positioned within ropes at the International Auto Ltd. exhibit space. In the foreground is a high 3/4 front view of a 1975 front-engined Maserati Khamsin. Directly behind is a partial side view of a 1974 Ferrari Daytona Spider (365 GTB/4).
Dark image features a Renault R-5GTL 2-door hatchback sedan parked in front of whimsical, hand-painted scene of people and storefronts. A freestanding cartoon policeman is on the right. Note the colorful stripping on the Renault 5, which was a new model for 1976.
Wide view of the bright and colorful Volkswagen exhibit space features a side view of a front-drive Scirocco hatchback on the right side. In the middle, on a raised platform behind a large sign with the VW logo, is a rear view of another Scirocco. On the left is a Beetle convertible. Named for a North African wind, the Scirocco debuted for 1975, with the slogan, "German sportscar, Italian style."
Inside the Chevrolet truck exhibit on the lower level, what appears to be a full-size pickup truck made of wood was on display. A sign at left indicates that "Chevrolet Salutes Student's Ingenuity." The background behind the picket-fence represented, "Chevy Town USA."
Outside the GMC truck exhibit on the lower level was an example of the new 6-wheeled GMC motor home.
Photograph of the Ford truck exhibit on the lower level of McCormick Place East. In the center is the 1/2-ton Bronco Ranger 4x4 sport utility wagon. On the right is Freddie Ford, a likable robot, constructed of parts from Ford vehicles. Freddie could see, hear, and answer questions.
On display on the lower level were two examples of the Gino kit car. The sleekly rounded sports cars could be assembled using Volkswagen components.
A single example of an MG-styled kit car occuppies a small booth on the lower level. More information coming.