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.
Buick Manager of Special Projects Michael Doble was on stage with the Cielo concept car during a preview for the motoring press before the opening of the 1999 show. It featured permanent side rails and a three-panel retractable roof. The top moved along the rails and folded away into the trunk. Front and rear doors were hinged at the A and C pillars, eliminating a center post. The front-wheel drive Cielo was fitted with a 3.8 liter supercharged V-6 engine, and four-speed automatic transmission. Cielo means sky in Spanish. The following year (2000), Buick applied the Cielo name onto a custom-built Regal GS sedan with the experimental retractable roof panels.
On display in the Cadillac exhibit was the Evoq concept vehicle. Wetting the public's appetite, the Evoq prototype predicted the styling of the 2003 Cadillac XLR two-place production sports car. Evoq combined composite-plastic body panels with a Corvette C-5 chassis structure, and a supercharged 4.2 liter Northstar V-8. Topping off the Evoq, as well as the production XLR model, was a two-piece retractable roof that disappeared into the trunk
Calling attention to the new Catera Sport package available on 1999 production models, Cadillac surprised the motor world with a high-performance concept version titled Steinmetz Catera. German-based Steinmetz Opel-Tuning was a natural choice to modify this Cadillac, since the Catera was based on an imported GM Opel Omega. Under the hood sat a 284 horsepower, supercharged edition of the Catera/Opel three-liter, DOHC V-6.The unique Steinmetz ground effects added flare to the exterior styling, and the entire body was finished in a PPG Orange Fire' paint.
Chevy picked the name and design cues from its 1954 Nomad dream car for a Nomad concept two-door wagon that was displayed at the 1999 Chicago Auto Show. The retro-styled Nomad was considered a "contemporary high-performance vehicle" that would have been a future Camaro-type model. With sports car like handling that came from an independent rear suspension, the Nomad prototype for ’99 had power to the rear wheels supplied by a 5.7 liter V-8 linked to a shift-by-wire four-speed automatic transmission.
Unlike the 1960s era muscle car, the Dodge Charger R/T concept had four doors. The sleek 1999 edition came with a 325 horsepower, 4.7 liter supercharged V-8 engine teamed with a five-speed manual transmission. The compressed natural gas supercharger met the strict California Air Resources Board's Ultra Low Emission Vehicle Standard.
Dodge's Powerwagon concept vehicle shown in 1999, was inspired by the 1946 Dodge model of the same name. The modern pickup truck prototype was built off the Ram chassis and featured 35-inch wheels. At 77-inches high, the Powerwagon was a full three inches taller than the production Ram. Like its 1940s predecessor, the Powerwagon included bumpers, fenders and running boards that were separated from the body. Though it many not appear as such, this was a four-door pickup, with smaller rear doors hinged at the back, and no B-pillar. A 250 horsepower, 7.2-liter diesel in-line six-cylinder was teamed with a four-speed automatic transmission.
Ford featured its new two-seat Thunderbird concept car during the 1999 show, which proved to be a thinly veiled version of the coming 2001 production model. The 3/4-rear view of the prototype clearly shows some of the retro styling details borrowed from the original 1955-57 T-birds. These include the large round taillights, classy porthole window in the roof and chrome engine vent details on the front fenders. The V-8 powered Thunderbird was based on the Lincoln LS rear-wheel drive sport sedan platform.
Honda's gas-electric hybrid prototype was able to travel from Detroit to New York City on a single tank of fuel. The powertrain consisted of a 1.0 liter, three-cylinder engine coupled with an electric motor for initial acceleration.
Mercury released a styling exercise called (MY) that blurred the boundaries between a car, truck and sports utility vehicle. Notables features on the five-door prototype were the half-moon arched amber glass roof panel over the cockpit seating and flared wheel housings filled by 18-inch six-spoke aluminum rims and off-highway tires. Coupled with the extended portion of the rear hatch, the (MY) concept gave over six-feet of cargo carrying capacity.
Mitsubishi displayed its SST Spyder concept at the 1999 show, predicting the styling of the 2001 Eclipse Spyder. Featuring "geo-mechanical" design element, like the ribbed side doors, the roadster prototype used neon and fluorescent head and taillights. Fully drivable, the SST Spyder was powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that generated 250 horses, and came mated to a four-speed Sportronic automatic gearbox. Underneath, was a multi-link four-wheel independent suspension setup and large racing brakes.
Designed by and fabricated at Mitsubishi Motors R&D of America, Inc, the bold SSU gave hints of the styling cues to be found on the upcoming 2001 Montero SUV. Sign in front of the prototype's display reads: "The twin-turbocharged, all-wheel drive SSU concept car is an 'extreme sports vehicle,' combining the performance and handling of a sports car with the space and versatility of an SUV...think of it as a rally car for five people and all their equipment for a weekend of extreme sports." Not stated, the SSU was powered by a 2.5 liter V-6 that pumped-out 310 horsepower and fed power to the all-wheel drive system via a five-speed automatic transmission. The use of center-opening doors, with no B-pillar, facilitated passenger entry and egress as well as the loading and unloading of luggage
In answer to the question, " Why not bring back the 240Z," Nissan exhibited the Z-Concept two-seater sports car at the 1999 show. Developed to test audience reactions, the prototype proved so popular, that it led to the production 350Z two-door coupe that went on sale in mid-2002 as a 2003 model. The Z concept was based on the 1998 240SX coupe, and used a special-tuned 2.4 litre four-cylinder that produced 200 horsepower. Many original 1970 240Z design cues were revisited on the ‘99 Z concept, like the headlight treatment and true hatchback body.
Oldsmobile's idea for a four-door, five-passenger "crossover" sport-utility vehicle was a prototype called "Recon." Combining truck and car qualities, the Recon featured chiseled-edge styling and a multipanel sunroof that opened above both front and rear passengers. The instrument controls were interactive and the interior seating could be reconfigured. Power was supplied by a 3.0 liter, 24-valve V-6, mated to a four-speed automatic and all-wheel-drive.
Pontiac displayed the provocative Aztek prototype during the 1999 Chicago Auto Show, and interviewed auto-show goers to what they thought of the concept. Pontiac also had a toll-free number and a web site where consumers could make suggestions for the vehicle's appearance and equipment. Aztek was a front-wheel drive, four-door, four-passenger sport-utility based on a car platform. Power train consisted of a 3.4 liter V-6 and four-speed automatic tranny. Tall seating position gave "command" view of the road, the instrument panel included head-up display, and the center console slide on a track between front and rear seats.
Close up 7/8 front view of Subaru's retro concept station wagon called the "Forester Woody.'" Genuine Philippine mahogany and white ash wood veneers were applied to the Subaru doors and rear fender 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.
One of the smallest vehicles on display at the 1999 show was the curvy Toyota eCom. Painted two-tone, silver with green roof, fenders and bumpers, this was the second presentation of the concept electric vehicle (EV). Toyota originally exhibited the eCom during the 1998 Chicago Auto Show, but then, it was finished in silver with blue accented roof and body panels. Located under the floor of the eCom, were 24 sealed nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries linked together to produce 288 volts, which offered approximately a 60-mile driving range.
Toyota introduced its exciting new MR Spyder convertible concept car at the 1999 Chicago Auto Show. Though a concept, this mid-engine, rear-drive roadster closely previewed the coming 2000 Toyota MR-2 production model. The two-seat prototype power train consisted of a 140 horsepower 1.8 liter DOHC four-cylinder engine, connected to a five-speed sequential SportShift transmission with pushbutton operation.