A Chevrolet Corvette convertible featured on the cover of the show program was also the car awarded the winning ticket holder during the First Look For Charity black-tie benefit.
A record-breaker crowd of 1,080,637 attended the 1998 show. Big hits that year were the Volkswagen New Beetle, 1999 Chevy Tahoe Z71, Ford Libre concept convertible, Mercedes-Benz Maybach, Kia sponsored Elan sports car, and the debut of next-generation Mitsubishi Galant. On the right, Mitsubishi featured a fashion show on opening day of the 88th annual Chicago Auto Show that included the SST Targa research vehicle with 'geo-mechanical styling.'
Members of the Executive Show Committee are seen in discussion over space allotment plans for the upcoming 1998 Chicago Auto Show. The photograph was taken during a July 1997 Chicago Automobile Trade Association luncheon/meeting in Salon A & B of the Chicago Automobile Trade Association building, Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois.
A high and deep view of the McCormick Place show floor during set-up of the individual auto companies exhibits. Photographed just 48 hours before the public opening day, rolls of carpeting still wrapped in plastic, have yet to be laid out. Various Ford vehicles were parked side-by-side waiting to be placed in an assigned spot once the Ford exhibit was finished. The bright light at the far end of the aisle is coming from one of the opened overhead doors, where the show vehicles could enter the building.
Echoing back to the days when the Chicago Auto Show featured live stage productions, Mitsubishi unveiled its brand new 1999 Galant in a spectacular presentation with music, dancers and fashion models. Traditionally, new cars and trucks are first debuted during media days, before the public announcement. Breaking precedence, Mitsubishi presented the 1999 Galant for the first time on the opening public day of the 90th edition of the Chicago Auto Show. The new Galant was available late summer of 1998.
With the coversheet justed lifted off, the 1999 Mitsubishi Galant debuts in spectacular style with music and dancers at the 1998 Chicago Auto Show. Traditionally, new cars and trucks are first debuted during media days, before the public announcement. Breaking precedence, Mitsubishi presented the 1999 Galant for the first time on the opening public day of the 90th edition of the Chicago Auto Show. The new Galant was available late summer of 1998.
The Ford SVT F-150 Lightning pickup truck made its world debut in Chicago, on Thursday, February 6th. Posed next to the truck was Ford President Jac Nasser, who introduced the vehicle during media days. Matching the performance appearance of the new Lightning model was the supercharged and intercooled version of the 5.4 liter Triton V-8 engine. SVT F-150 Lightning was created by Ford's Special Vehicle Team, and went into production in March 1999.
First Look for Charity participants admired the Shelby Series I sports car prototype, built by (Carroll) Shelby Automotive. Under the hood of the Series I was an Oldsmobile Aurora V-8 that produced 325 horsepower. Price of the car, when it went into production August 14, 1999 was around $110,000. The seventh annual black-tie affair took place from 7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday, February 6th.
Standing behind the door of a new Chevrolet Corvette convertible is Jeanne Pollard of Chicago, and auto show chairman Ray Scapelli. Miss Pollard had just won the vehicle at the seventh annual First Look for Charity' benefit. The convertible, valued at nearly $45,000, was awarded during the black tie formal event that was held from 7:00 to 10:30 p.m. Friday, February 6th. A total of $1.27 million was raised for 12 Chicagoland charities.
Motorcars weren’t the only attractions at the 1998 Chicago Auto Show. Marketed by Jaguar Cars and Raytheon Aircraft, a Jaguar Special Edition Beech King Air C90B airplane was positioned among the British-built automobiles. The Jaguar styling team in Coventry, England, worked with Raytheon’s staff to develop the design theme for the fuselage and plush interior. The C90B features two Pratt & Whitney PT6A-21 reverse-flow, free turbine engines. For $2.65 million, you could have the eight seat aircraft and a matching Jaguar XJR sedan.
Redesigned for 1998, the Cadillac Seville featured the brand's new leading-edge "global market" design. Before coming to Chicago, the Seville was displayed at auto shows in Germany and Japan. In Chicago, a modified Seville could separate and lift upwards to expose the interior and drivetrain improvements.
One of the most dramatic displays at the 1998 Chicago show was located in the Jeep exhibit. A Jeep Wrangler is perched at a steep angle on top a of a rock formation as a demonstrating of the vehicle's climbing abilities. At the base of the hill is a '98 Cherokee.
Nissan showed off a four-door concept version of its 2-door production Frontier pickup truck. Frontier was a redesigned compact truck for 1998. Unlike other pickups with 4-doors that required the front doors to be opened before the rear ones can be used, all the doors on the Frontier concept truck had handles and open independently. The young lad standing on the rear bumper is holding a rolled-up poster handed out at the Nissan exhibit.
A racing version of the new Viper GTS coupe was on display in the Dodge exhibit. The GTS R body was carbon fiber, and three choices of the V-10 engine were available. The first had 525 horsepower; the second offered 650 horsepower and the third a whopping 750 hp. This Viper GTS R competed in the FIA Championship series races, and behind the car was a list of where and when the 1998 worldwide races would take place.
A close-up view of the awesome Viper GTS coupe, located in the Dodge exhibit. The only engine offered was an 8.0-liter 450 horsepower V-10, connected to a Borg-Warner 6-speed manual transmission. New features on the 1998 model included power windows, dual airbags and a restyled interior. Price for the coupe was an estimated $66,000.
The unique Plymouth Prowler, styled like a 1930s roadster, was introduced in 1997, and available only in purple. No 1998 Prowler was issued, but instead, a 1999 model would be reintroduced in spring of 1998. On display during the Chicago Auto Show, was a bright yellow 1999 Prowler, with a 253 horsepower V6 engine. Only transmission available was the AutoStick 4-speed automatic. Along with the yellow, other new colors for 1999 include black or red.
Women's automotive specialist Donna Kane gave a free workshop to a small group of ladies, on Tuesday February 10. Ms. Kane performed three seminars that day, at 1:00, 4:00 & 7:00 p.m., titled, Power of the Purse.' The lecture sponsored by Hyundai, informed women about shopping, purchasing and leasing a vehicle, and how to deal with salesmen and service technicians. Behind Miss Kane, on a raised platform was a Hyundai Tiburon (Spanish for shark).
Since 1955, the folks from Ryba's Fudge on Mackinac Island in Michigan have set up shop at the Chicago Auto Show. This is one of their stands, which were among the most popular attractions at the auto show. It is typical for Ryba to sell two tons of their fudge during the nine-day event.
Acura TL-X prototype gave a glimpse of the next-generation TL sedan, based on the Accord. Engine in the TL-X, a three-liter V-6, would be used in the coming production TL.
With touches of retro-Buick styling cues, like classic portholes and waterfall grille, the futuristic Signia was created to tease the public, and serve as a catalyst for change. Based on the architecture of the Park Avenue luxury sedan, Signia was finished in metallic-ochre paint with dark gray-bronze accents. Propulsion came from a 240 horsepower, supercharged 3.8-liter Series II V-6 engine, which drove the front wheels through an electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission. A striking feature was the large hinged hatch, which was designed for easy removal from its hinges to transport bulky objects.
The Signia station wagon is seen at the media dinner the night before the auto show opened to the public.
Echoing show cars from the 1950s by Virgil Exner and his creative crew, the classy Chrysler Chronos cruised on massive 20-inch front and 21-inch rear tires. A 350 horsepower, 6.0 liter V-10 engine purred under the long, low hood, and came mated to a four-speed automatic gearbox. A modified Dodge Viper suspension was used for the Chronos. Built into the handsome Chronos cabin was a cigar humidor, plus, the tortoise shell and California walnut trim inspired the details used in the cabin of the 2005 Chrysler 300 4-door sedan.
Libre was a small, four-passenger convertible, built off of Ford’s European B-platform. Sharply angled windshield, clean sheet body surfaces and quad-doors were design highlights. The small rear doors were hinged at the back, for easier entrance/exit. Power supplied by Ford's 1.25-liter Sigma four-cylinder engine connected to a five-speed manual transmission. Ford claimed the Libre could get 40 miles per gallon.
General Motors had a special exhibit on alternative fuel powered vehicles during the 1998 show. Three completed EV1 cars are featured in line, parked on a slanted platform. The model on the far left used an electric motor and the EV1 in the middle was the parallel hybrid.' On the right, is an EV1 with a fuel cell that runs on electrical energy created from a hydrogen-oxygen chemical reaction. In the foreground is the layout of the parallel hybrid, which used an electric motor and engine powered by gasoline.
The goal behind the creation of the Honda J-VX was to build a futuristic sports car that was lightweight and could get 70 miles per gallon, with a near-pollution-free engine that ran on gasoline. J-VX used Honda's Integrated Motor Assist System (IMA), which connected an electric motor to a front-mounted 1.0-liter 3-cylinder internal combustion engine. Futuristic styling incorporated a glass top roof, and the 2+2 cockpit housed snug-fitting one-piece, full-bucket seats reminiscent of Formula racing cars. Its compact, aerodynamic form had nearly ideal front/rear weight ratio delivering true sports car performance.
Infiniti displayed its modern interpretation of an American hot rod at the 1998 Chicago Show. The rear wheel drive Q29 Roadster was constructed by California's Joe MacPherson. Not only did this ride look cool, it came equipped with a high performance 4.5 liter V-8 engine and powertrain from the Infiniti Q45.
Chrysler borrowed a model name from the past, "Jeepster," for the aggressive-looking prototype that blended sports car power and handling with the off-road capabilities of a Jeep Wrangler. High-performance action was provided via a 275 horsepower, 4.7 liter V-8 engine and the Jeepster featured an adjustable suspension that provided up to 10-inches of ground clearance. Stylish cockpit was upholstered in cognac-colored seats made of the same weather-resistant leather used for tough hiking boots.
Three wheels, two seats and a jet-design body – these were the visual characteristics of a research vehicle aimed at a market segment which did not even exist, namely the niche between passenger cars and motorcycles. The Mercedes-Benz F 300 Life-Jet was a new species of vehicle that combined the fresh-air fun of a convertible, the individuality of a roadster, the performance of a sports car, and the comfort of a compact car. Active Tilt Control (ATC) was at the heart of the F 300 technology. This system was based on the lightning-fast interaction between electronics, hydraulics and mechanics. Sensors register the current driving situation and continuously feed the onboard computer with data indicating the yawing and linear speed of the vehicle, the acceleration, the current steering angle and the position of the hydraulic cylinder. The 102 horsepower 1.6-liter power unit and transmission were in a space-saving position between the interior and the rear wheel, and accelerates the F 300 Life-Jet from standstill to 60 miles per hour in just 7.7 seconds
Curvaceous fashion models added eye candy during the debut of the Mitsubishi SST concept at the 1998 show. Created at Mitsubishi's California design studio, the 210 hp SST was built with weight-saving carbon fiber and composite materials and gave a preview of the 2000 Eclipse. SST stood for "sophisticated sports touring.
Pontiac combined the best of a mini van and sports-ultilty vehicle to create the experimental Sport Montana Thunder. The front had the Pontiac signature split grille, retractable headlights, Ram Air hood scoops, built-in bike rack and a removable TV. Backing up all that bravado, the Montana Thunder packed a 225 horsepower, 4-liter V-6, and rode on 18-inch asymmetrical-designed wheels.
Painted silver with blue roof, fenders and bumpers, the tiny egg-shape Toyota "e-com" concept car brought smiles to people who attended the 1998 Chicago show. Stored under the floor of the e.com electric vehicle (EV) were 24 sealed nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries linked together to produce 288 volts, and offered an approximate 60-mile driving range. The e-com made its second appearance the following year during the 1999 Chicago show, this time painted in a two-tone combination of silver with green accented roof and body panels – check it out.