Originally printed in Colliers Weekly magazine, this colorful illustration features a birds-eye view of all major automobile brands displayed during the 1939 Chicago Auto Show. The makes include: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, DeSoto, Dodge, Ford, Graham, Hudson, Hupmobile, LaSalle, Lincoln, Lincoln-Zephyr, Mercury, Nash, Oldsmobile, Packard, Plymouth, Pontiac, Studebaker and Overland.
Having its own modern display was this 1939 Studebaker State President Club Sedan. The car had a 122-inch wheelbase and powered with a 110 horsepower straight eight engine. Studebaker's other big news at the 39th Chicago Auto Show was a new low-priced Champion series that joined the car manufacturer's lineup mid-year.
American inventor Charles “Boss” Kettering, front row left, head of research for General Motors from 1920 to 1947, enjoyed the "An Age of Wheel Prints" stage revue during the 1939 Chicago Auto Show. Kettering held over 300 patents, including the electrical starting motor and leaded gasoline.
Most likely photographed at a downtown hotel during the auto show run, a display for the '39 Dodge sedan featured lifesize "ghostly" figures admiring the vehicle. A press release entitled, "Phantom Riders,” stated that the figures were ingeniously fashioned of clear plate glass on which faces, hands and garments had been etched. Lights concealed in the car illuminated the etched lines.
"Miss ‘Unsafe Brakes" appeared in an after-market exhibit during the 1939 show. She was dressed in a skeleton outfit to draw attention to the dangers of worn brakes. A total of 310,000 people visited the event held in the International Amphitheatre. Adults paid 40 cents admission before 4pm or 55-cents after, and children entered for one quarter. Along with all the new vehicles, used cars were featured in a special section of the building that year.
New to the show was a used car section located on the first floor level of the two story International Amphitheatre, along with trucks, campers and accessories. Large flower baskets dressed-up the Chevrolet "OK" used car display.
Two pages from the 1939 Chicago Auto Show program, include the men responsible for the 39th edition of the annual extravaganza. The auto show committee included excutives of the Chicago Automobile Trade Association and elected members from the area dealership owners. A floor plan for each of the two levels was helpful in locating favorite makes and brands at the show.