On the cover of the official 2004 Chicago Auto Show program were the door-prize Lexus SC 430 convertible and the Acura TL four-door sedan during the First Look for Charity evening event. American singer and songwriter Cyndi Lauper (right) entertained the crowds in the Mercedes-Benz exhibit during the black tie affair, which was held the evening prior to the public opening of the 96th edition of the auto show. That year, more than $2 million was raised for 16 local charities. Making their public debuts at the Chicago show were the 2005 Buick LaCrosse and '05 Mercury Montego. Dodge displayed the Ram Rumble Bee pickup, which returned for model year 2004, and the PT Cruiser lineup was expanded to include a convertible. Carroll Shelby was on hand to present the Ford Shelby Cobra concept car.
Photographed from a high vantage point above the show floor, construction crews and public relations staff members are working together to finish the Mazda exhibit space. In the foreground, (L to R) a yellow Mazda3 five-door; a blue Mazda3 five-door and a dark red Mazda6 four-door wagon. Mid-photo, parked on finished wood flooring, are several MazdaSpeed equipped RX-8 four-door performance sedans. Hidden by a portion of the construction crane, is the bright blue Ibuki roadster concept car. On the far right side, are two MazdaSpeed Miata convertibles.
Don Esmond, Toyota Division group vice president and general manager introduced the 2004 Solara convertible on Wednesday February 4th during media day. The handsome four-passenger Solara had a power soft top with heated glass rear window. Sole power train was the 225 horsepower 3.3-liter V-6 linked to a five-speed automatic. Standard equipment included anti-lock brakes and 17-inch alloy wheels, with traction control optional.
On Thursday February 5, 2004, Peter M. Butterfield of Kia Motors unveiled the Mojave concept pickup truck. Mojave was based on an extended wheelbase Sorento SUV platform. Butterfield was proud of the fact that Kia was the first Korean auto manufacturer to exhibit a pickup truck, prototype or production in the United States. Mojave was fitted with a 280-horsepower 3.8 liter V-6 linked to a five-speed automatic transmission. This mid-size concept had a two-plus-two interior with front-facing rear seats, and an expandable six-foot cargo bed that could be increased to hold 4x8-foot sheets of plywood. The cargo area also featured built-in storage containers.
On stage during media days, (L to R), GM executives Robert A. Lutz and Gary Cowger pull back the covers to reveal the 2005 Buick LaCrosse. Replacing the aging Regal and Century models, the LaCrosse CX and CXL came with a 200 horsepower 3.8 liter V-6 and 16-inch wheels. The CXS rode on 17-inch wheels and tires, and powered by a 3.6L V-6 that packed 240 horses. Assembled in Ontario, Canada, the LaCrosse went on sale in the fall of 2004.
Ford CEO Jim Padilla introduced the 2005 Mercury Montego at the 2004 Chicago show. This was only fitting, since the car was assembled at Ford's Chicagoland plant. The mid-size four-door sedan featured a Volvo-designed chassis, available in front-or all-wheel drive. Lone engine was a 203 horsepower 3.0 liter V-6 engine. Standard on the front wheel drive was a six-speed automatic transmission, while the AWD came with a continuously variable automatic transmission.
On hand to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Mini Cooper's first win at the Monte Carlo Rally was Paddy Hopkirk, who piloted a 1964 Mini Cooper S to victory four decades earlier. All 40th anniversary Minis came painted Chili Red with a white roof. Standard features included the number 37 stick-on door graphics (which could be applied by the owner), auxiliary driving lights, 17-inch runflat tires, a 115 horsepower DOHC four cylinder and 5-speed manual shifter. An optional John Cooper Works performance package added a 6-speed manual, and a supercharger that increased the horses to 163. Only 1,000 MC40 were scheduled to be built, each numbered and autographed by Hopkirk.
After rumored returns and false starts, Pontiac brought back the GTO name for real as a 2004 model. It was on display at the 2003 Chicago show and would be available later in the year. Sourced from General Motors’ Holden operation in Australia, the GTO was a modified Monaro coupe with a healthy dose of small black V-8 power and rear wheel drive. The last production GTO was based on the 1974 Pontiac Ventura.
Revised taillights accented the rear of the 2004 Avanti Convertible. Sole engine was a 350-LS1 V-8 that could be connected to either a four-speed automatic or six-speed manual. Riding on 17-inch wheels, the Avanti droptop had a 3,640 lbs curb weight, a 101.1 in. wheelbase and 185.5-inch overall length. Standard features included air conditioning, rear window defroster, leather interior; power everything, dual air bags, fog lamps and remote keyless entry. Sticker price was $63,000.
Avanti introduced the 2005 Studebaker XUV (Xtreme Utility Vehicle), at the Chicago Auto Show. The XUV had a 6,000-lb. curb weight and a choice of either a 325-horsepower, 6.0 liter turbo-diesel V-8 or a 310 hp 6.8L V-10, which could be equipped with an optional supercharger, raising the engine rating to 425 horses. Offered with a five-speed transmission, the XUV measured 83 inches wide, 85.5 inches tall and 216 inches long, with a 137-inch wheelbase.
Three vehicles are captured in the 2004 Infiniti exhibit, starting with the 7/8 front view of the G35 two-door sport coupe in the foreground. Directly behind, is a side view of the luxurious QX56 large sport-utility vehicle. To the right of the monolith signage is a side portion of the FX45 premium midsize sport-utility vehicle.
On special display in the Ford exhibit was the second hand-built GT production model. Driven by a mid-mounted 5.4-liter supercharged V-8 engine, the Ford GT pumped out an astounding 500 horsepower and 500 foot-pounds of torque. Its hand built, all-American power plant was a product of Ford Motor Company's modular vehicle family and featured aluminum four-valve heads, H-beam forged rods and a forged crankshaft, with pistons fashioned from aluminum and fed by a Lysholm screw-type supercharger.
Maserati made yet another return to the U.S. market in 2002. It is owned by Fiat and guided by Ferrari. The 2004 Maserati Spyder Cambiocorsa convertible appeared at the 96th edition of the Chicago Auto Show. Afour-liter V-8 propelled the Spyder to 150 mph and beyond. Maserati has been a regular at the show since it's return and has expanded its model lineup.
“An automobile with the racetrack, the motorway and twisting country roads as its natural hunting grounds,” is how Audi describes the soul of the Le Mans quattro concept study. Painted Jet Blue, the cab forward body and add-on parts are formed out of aluminum and carbon fiber reinforced plastics. Behind the 2-seat cockpit but ahead of the rear axle is the longitudinally V-10 ‘biturbo’ engine visible through a large, transparent rear flap. Forming the center structure of the Le Mans quattro is an aluminum Audi Space Frame.
An example of the Corvette C5-R was displayed in the Chevrolet exhibit during the 2004 Chicago Auto Show. At the conclusion of the 2003 American Le Mans series (ALMS), Chevrolet captured its third consecutive manufacturers' championship in the production-based GTS class. Corvette secured its second consecutive drivers' championship and also won the team championship. The Corvette C5-R continued Chevrolet's tradition of racing production-based vehicles to improve the breed.
Inspired by the 1954 Chevrolet Nomad Motorama dream car, the 2004 Nomad concept was based on GM's new Kappa rear-drive architecture. Power was provided by a turbocharged 210-hp Ecotec 2.2-liter four cylinder engine, linked to an electronically controlled five-speed automatic with finger-operated tap shifting. Inside, the black leather-trimmed 2+2 cockpit was accented by blue nubuck inserts and anodized blue aluminum gauges.
One of the most popular supercars at the 2004 Chicago show, was the 2-seat Chrysler ME Four-Twelve prototype (Mid Engine, Four turbo, Twelve cylinders). This was the first-ever mid-engine Chrysler automobile, constructed from carbon fiber and aluminum honeycomb sandwich. Weighing in at 2, 900 lbs, the ME came equipped with a mid-mounted 6.0-liter V-12, with four turbochargers, four intercoolers and a 7-speed transmission. Producing 850 horses and 850 lbs.-torque, the rear-wheel drive ME Four-Twelve could blast from 0- to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds, run the quarter-mile in 10.6 at 142 mph, and reach a top speed of 240 mph.
Though the Dodge Sling Shot is at present a concept car, it could be a candidate for production, based on the Smart Roadster. Aimed at younger demographics, the Sling Shot two-seater is powered by a 3-cylinder, 100 horsepower engine, that turns 0-60 miles per hour in 10 seconds. Sling Shot has a main roof panel and side rails over the passenger area that can be stored in the trunk, while a canvas roof panel can slide back and out of the way like a roll top desk for open-air driving. Like the Smart, Sling Shot has dent-resistant body panels.
Ford’s legendary Bronco is back as a new sport utility concept vehicle. Key design cues include the familiar boxy, upright roofline, short wheelbase, round headlamps and the Bronco nameplate milled into the three-bar grille. Showcasing a 2.0 liter intercooled turbo diesel the Bronco comes with a six-speed transmission and Intelligent four-wheel-drive system. With the push of the N20 button, a stream of nitrous oxide is injected into the engine’s cylinders giving the Bronco an immediate 50 horsepower boost.
"The Bronco concept is like your favorite pair of worn, faded jeans – classic, familiar, comfortable and always in style," said J Mays, Ford VP of Design.
Ford displayed a new generation muscle car in the shape and form of the Mustang GT Coupe concept. With a 2+2 fastback body design that harkened back to the earliest days of Mustang, the latest incarnation was a thoroughly modern pony car. Mechanical details included a custom front-end geometry and a 300 horsepower 3-valve, 4.6 liter MOD V-8.
First released by General Motors in late 2002, the AUTOnomy was the world’s first vehicle designed expressly around a fuel cell propulsion system. The AUTOnomy concept took hydrogen fuel cell technology into the future with a design that combined fuel cell technology with a drive by-wire control system. The resulting skateboard-like chassis capitalized on an extremely compact fuel cell stack to create a platform that had the potential to revolutionize the way cars could be designed and built. Note the GM Hy-wire (Hydrogen drive-by-wire) concept vehicle directly behind the AUTOnomy.
GM's Hy-wire was the world's first drivable fuel cell vehicle with by-wire technology. This proof-of-concept car ran on hydrogen with water as its only emission and had a top speed of 90 mph. By-wire technology replaced mechanical linkage with electrical signals for precise response. The driver control unit had simple hand controls for steering, braking, and accelerating. The hydrogen tank could be refilled in five minutes.
The Honda SUT is a next-generation truck concept that combines a roomy and practical SUV-style interior with a pickup cargo area. Featuring a high-output VTEC V-6, and advanced electronically controlled all-wheel drive, the SUT concept shows styling features that will translate directly into the (Ridgeline) production version. Breaking tradition with typical ladder frame pickup construction, the SUT uses a car-like unibody frame. Cargo bed measures 5 feet, and the interior is for 5 passengers. Scheduled for production in 2005, plans are that the SUT will be produced at the Honda Canadian plant in Alliston, Ontario.
Built on a modified GM midsize truck platform, the Hummer H3T features a 350 horsepower, turbocharged Vortec 3500 inline 5-cylinder engine backed by the heavy-duty Hydra-Matic electronically controlled four-speed transmission. Painted Petrol Blue Metallic and Satin Titanium, the exterior details include side-access doors, along with drop-down assist steps that double as weather-tight storage compartments. Riding on 34-inch-tall tires, the H3T has 11.5 inches of ground clearance. Underneath, a carbon fiber skid plate/belly pan is added for extra protection. Nike-designed Sphere seat fabric, military-inspired toggle switches, dash mounted altimeter, compass and inclinometer highlight the interior.
Power for the stylish Hyundai HCD8 concept comes from a supercharged 2.7-liter V-6 engine with tuned dual exhaust, linked to a 6-speed manual transaxle. This 2-seat sports coupe is the first concept vehicle to come from Hyundai's new $30 million Design and Technical Center in Irvine, California. Painted in a bold tri-color Ballistic Yellow, the exterior is complemented by polished nickel trim, dark gray ground effects trim and 7-spoke road wheels. Handsome interior of the HCD8, feature two-tone Vapor Gray leather-seating, wood flooring, plus wood and aluminum accented steering wheel rim and shift lever knob.
Photographed on Thursday, February 5th at the 2004 Chicago Auto Show, this image captured fifty-four year old Trans Am racer Paul Gentilozzi helping to remove a tarp from the XK-RS concept convertible. Jaguar R Performance sponsored Gentilozzi and it was Gentillozzi's Rocketsports engineers who created the XK-RS concept. Some of the features included a 500-horsepower 5.0 liter supercharged V-8, six-speed transmission, and 20-inch Machiavelli Gottis wheels. Gentilozzi stated that the XK-RS leaped from a standing start to 60 mph in less than four-seconds and could top 200 mph.
Photographed on Thursday, February 05,2004 just moments after the unveiling of the Jaguar XK-RS concept car to the assembled media. Fifty-four year old Trans Am racer Paul Gentilozzi, seen partially blocking the letter R in Jaguar, is posing behind the prototype convertible with a Jaguar representative. Jaguar R Performance sponsored Gentilozziand, and it was Gentillozzi's Rocketsports engineers who created the 500-horsepower 5.0 liter supercharged V-8 XK-RS concept. The XK-RS could leap from a standing start to 60 mph in less than 4-seconds and hit a top speed of 200 mph.
"Jeep engineered for extreme exploits," was the slogan used by presenters at the auto show when they described the Rescue concept vehicle. Hummer-size, the Jeep Rescue had a long 123-inch wheelbase and 80-inch wide body. It rode on 37-inch run-flat tires that were tunable to provide traction in rough conditions. The prototype used a unique suspension system that allowed 4-inches of additional lift when needed. Up front was a remote-controlled winch, and under the hood sat a 325 horsepower Cummins turbodiesel, available on the Dodge Ram pickup. In homage to early Jeep models, the Rescue concept featured removable doors, and a folding windshield, plus modern elements that included electronically adjustable ride height and a cargo-area roof panel that slid forward.
A specially equipped Land Rover Range Rover was on display during the 2004 show, promoting the Drive Around the World - Longitude Expedition, which began on November 1, 2003. Land Rover Certified Pre-Owned served as the exclusive vehicle sponsor for the nine month, 32,000-mile international expedition designed to increase awareness and raise funds for Parkinson's Disease and provide global educational opportunities for students everywhere.
Land Rover featured its first ever concept show car during the 2004 Chicago Auto Show. Called Range Stormer, it is a high performance, sports tourer SUV concept, which showcases a future design direction for Land Rover. The supercharged V-8 Range Stormer is conceived to deliver the best possible on-and off-road composure and control by optimizing the entire vehicle set-up, including suspension, powertrain, throttle response and traction control.
Introduced in 2002 as a concept, a pre-production Pontiac Solstice was on display during the 2004 auto show. Built on the new rear wheel drive Kappa architecture with full-length hydroformed frame, the 2-seat roadster rode on 18-inch, five-spoke wheels. Power was provided by a lightweight, all aluminum 2.4 liter DOHC four-cylinder engine, which produced 170 horsepower and 170 lb-ft of torque. The convertible top folded flat into the rear clamshell opening and the cockpit-style instrument panel swept around the driver. Plans called for the Solstice to debut in the fall of 2005 as a 2006 model.
Saturn’s sleek Curve concept car was designed by GM North America, developed by GM’s European Advanced Design Center in Sweden, and assembled with assistance from Italian coachbuilder Pininfarina. Styling details included roof pillars concealed by a “floating“ canopy of glass, and a front-hinged, clamshell hood. The vehicle is coated in Mission Silver, a warm color chosen for its liquid metal appearance. Sports car performance was derived from a supercharged 2.2-liter Ecotec four-cylinder engine that produced more than 200 horsepower, and came teamed to a Getrag five-speed manual transmission.
The Ford Shelby Cobra concept from 2004 drew heavily on the Ford GT production car – especially the space frame and suspension. Although the cars had vastly different characters, smart engineering quickly adapted the rear-mid-engine Ford GT platform to the Cobra front-mid-engine application. A new aluminum-block V-10 powered the Shelby Cobra concept, delivering 605 horsepower and 501 foot-pounds of torque – without the aid of supercharging or turbo- charging. Weight was just over 3000 pounds, thanks to no side windows, no wipers, no external door handles, no door mirrors, (although there are three rear-facing cameras linked to a digital version of a rear-view mirror), and no audio system.
Suzuki's Reno Tuner concept is a modified version of the all-new five-door Reno crossover vehicle. Painted an unusual Chameleon Color Shift paint that changes from green to gold, the Reno Tuner features dark tinted windows, and smoked headlights/taillights. For increased horsepower and torque a Yoshimura Custom Cat-back Exhaust System was coupled with a K&N Typhoon Air Intake System. To ensure performance handling, Yokohama AVS ES100 performance tires as well as 17-inch seven-spoke Chromium Black Primax Sport Max Racing Wheels were used. The Reno production model is based on the Daewoo Lacetti 5-door hatchback, and will go on sale with an MSRP ranging from $13,000 to $15,000.
The FTX concept pickup truck provides a hint to the size and styling of Toyota's next big-truck platform. At nearly 19 feet in length, nearly seven feet in width, and six-and-one-half feet in height, the FTX offers ample proportions. In the rear tailgate is a smooth operating hideaway ramp that extends to the ground when the gate is open. The instrument panel and center console arch bend outward, wrapping around each occupant, forming two protective cells. Under the hood, is a large-displacement V-8 hybrid gas-electric engine that pumps out loads of torque while delivering V-6 fuel efficiency.
Combining the worlds of an SUV with that of a sports car, Volkswagen has created the radical “concept T.” It's equipped with a 241 horsepower V-6 front-mounted transverse engine. The full-fledged concept T off-roader accelerates to 62.5 mph in 6.9 seconds and its top speed is electronically limited to 144 mph. In both on-road and off-road driving, this power is fed via an automatic gearbox with manual shift option (Tiptronic) to the 4MOTION permanent all-wheel drive. Styling includes wing doors, T-bar roof, headlights that "float” in the bumper and extremely wide, upwardly arching fenders.