Due to the Korean War, the U.S. automobile industry suffered production cutbacks in 1951, but that didn't stop visitors from making their annual pilgrimage to the Chicago Auto Show. New that year were the Chrysler "Hemi" V-8 engine, Hudson Hornet and hardtop body styles from Ford and Plymouth. The 1951 show also gave Chicagoans the first public viewing of Oldsmobile's Super 88, which featured a more powerful version of Old's 1949 Rocket V-8 engine. Nash debuted the 1951 Nash-Healey two-seat sports car in Chicago. Close-up view of Miss Berwyn-Cicero (Marjorie Needham, age 21) talking on a car phone while seated in the cockpit of the '51 Nash-Healey.
Chicago Automobile Trade Association (CATA) executives are discussing a scale-model diorama of the design for the 1951 auto show stage revue. The photo was shot in November 1950 during a luncheon held at the Saddle & Sirloin Room of the Stock Yard Inn, which was located next to the International Amphitheatre. Pictured are (left to right) Show Manager Edward L. Cleary, Show Chairman James F. McManus, Jr. and CATA President Frank H. Yarnall.
A close-up view of one of the scale model dioramas that illustrated the design to be used for the 1951 Chicago Auto Show "Transportation U.S.A." musical stage revue.
Posing with the poster for the 43rd annual Chicago Auto Show are one group of 15 young women, competing for the 22 "community queen" positions available for the 1951 extravaganza.
All 22 winning "community queens" posed together, moments after winning their titles at a downtown Chicago hotel. These queens would appear daily at the 1951 Chicago Auto Show.
Miss Edgewater (Isabel Heep, age 21) has just exited a 1951 Frazer Manhattan four-door hardtop sedan onstage during the "Transportation U.S.A." revue. Frazer came with an L-head six-cylinder engine that produced 115 horses. This would be the final year of production for the Frazer (1947-1951) automobile.
A "community queen" has been driven onstage in a 1951 Mercury four-door sedan during the "Transportation U.S.A." revue. Two women onstage hold "Mercury" banners. Narrator/soloist Alexander Gray is at the floor microphone. Mercury came standard with a 255.4 CID V-8 that generated 112 horsepower. Popular option was the Merc-O-Matic automatic transmission.
A two-tone Ford Custom Deluxe Victoria two-door hardtop was driven onstage during the "Transportation U.S.A." revue during the 1951 auto show. A chauffeur is at the wheel of the V-8 powered car, with Miss Blue Island (Eleanor Magliola, age 19) in the front passenger seat. Assistant narrator Gerry Vanek is at the microphone, and a woman on the far right holds a "Ford" name card.
Dance specialty act featuring Karyl Lu Fitzsimmons and Don Brassea, is seen onstage performing their routine during the "Transportation U.S.A." musical revue.
"Transportation U.S.A." revue is photographed from a high angle in front of the stage, and behind the Lew Diamond orchestra. On the right, narrator/soloist Alexander Gray, and soloist Kathy Collin, stand in front ot the microphone. Assistant narrator Gerry Vanek and an unidentified woman are at the left (center of photo), are also singing into a microphone. Seventeen "community queens" are stage front, holding bouquets of flowers. The Melba Cordes Dancers are in the rear and on the staircases.
Chicago Mayor Martin H. Kennelly poses with Chicago Automobile Trade Association (CATA) executives, and the six high-school students who won the safety slogan contest for 1951. The winners are holding U.S. Savings Bonds, and are standing alongside a board displaying their successful slogans. The men in the photo are (left to right) Show Chairman James F. McManus, Jr., an unidentified man, Mayor Kennelly and CATA President Frank H. Yarnall. Photo is dated February 17, 1951.
Standing with an enlargement of the Southtown Economist newspaper's front page are (left to right) Show Manager Edward L. Cleary, Miss South Shore (Shirley Williams, age 17), Morris Kroll, a south side auto dealer, Show Chairman James F. McManus, Jr. and Miss Southtown (Betty Cagney, 19). This photo was shot during the newspaper's South Side Day luncheon on February 22, 1951. It was held at the Saddle & Sirloin Room of the Stock Yard Inn, which was located next to the International Amphitheatre. Thursday was traditionally South Side Day at the auto show, and Kroll was chairman of that event.
Chicago Mayor Martin H. Kennelly eats a sandwich with Chicago Automobile Trade Association (CATA) executives during the first public day of the 43rd annual Chicago Auto Show. Pictured are (left to right) CATA President Frank H. Yarnall, Show Manager Edward L. Cleary, Mayor Kennelly, Show Chairman James F. McManus, Jr. and an unidentified man. Photo dated February 17, 1951.
Miss Northtown (Lois Fahsbender, age 17) poses alongside a 1951 Cadillac Series 62 convertible. Cadillacs had initiated tailfins in 1948, and an overhead-valve V-8 a year later. By 1951, the Cadillac eight-cylinder engine produced 160 horsepower.
Shown for the first time in this country, was the new Nash Healey sports car. It was a combined effort by Nash Motors, Kenosha, Wisconsin, and the Donald Healey company, Warwick, England. Low slung, it stood 38-inches from the road to the hood top, and came with a 125 horsepower engine. Miss Berwyn-Cicero (Marjorie Needham, age 21) wearing an avant-garde outfit, posed with the two-seater.
One of the Community Queens of the show, Miss Northwest (Barbara Becker, age 18), poses next to a 1951 Pontiac Chieftain Eight convertible. Facelifted for 1951, Pontiac also was available with six-cylinder engines, and a Hydra-Matic Drive was an option.
Miss Jefferson Park (Connie Popell, age 17) poses alongside a 1951 Mercury convertible. Facelifted for 1951, all Mercury models featured newly-extended rear fenders and flathead V-8 engines.
Miss Rogers Park (Sandra Matros, age 17) poses with a 1951 Muntz Jet convertible at the Muntz display area on the show floor. Produced in limited numbers, the Muntz boulevard sports car was launched by Earl "Mad Man" Muntz, who had established a national reputation as a manufacturer of TV sets. Evolved from the earlier Kurtis roadster, the Muntz used a potent V-8 engine. Muntz Jets were built in Evanston, Illinois.
Miss Portage Park (Dianne Davis, age 17), wearing fur jacket, appears with a 1951 Oldsmobile Super 88 convertible inside the Olds exhibit. New for 1951, the Super 88 came in a variety of body styles and held the same 135 horsepower "Rocket" V-8 engine that was used in the larger 98 series.
Close-up view of the Diamond T truck display area in the Amphitheatre during the 1951 Chicago Auto Show features a truck on a "torture"machine. Each twist of the front axle was equal to dropping a wheel into a 14-inch hole, according to the information placard. A single day on the torture machine was considered equivalent to a lifetime of normal service.
Miss Uptown (Sally O'Neil, age 18) poses alongside a 1951 Buick Roadmaster convertible at Buick's display area on the show floor. Facelifted for 1951, wearing a smaller grille than in 1950, Buicks had straight-eight engines. Most Buicks were equipped with GM's Dynaflow automatic transmission.
Miss North Shore (Marian Heinz, age 17) stands alongside a 1951 Willys Jeep station wagon. Willys began to produce vehicles for the civilian market soon after World War II, with the station wagons debuting in 1946.
Miss Garfield Park (Sophie Max, age 21) and a 1951 Plymouth Cranbrook convertible coupe were photographed together on a turntable display. Plymouths underwent a modest facelift for 1951, but was still offered only with a six-cylinder engine, and no automatic or semi-automatic transmission were available.
Miss Brighton Park (Grace Quinn, age 25) straddles the front fender of a 1951 Crosley convertible. Powel Crosley, Jr. had introduced the tiny Crosley in 1939 with a two-cylinder engine, returning to the market after World War II with four-cylinder models. Although the lilliputian-size cars attracted a modest following, Americans in the early 1950s weren't ready for truly small cars.
View of the Hudson exhibit during the 1951 Chicago Auto Show. The front end of a Hudson Hornet dominates the left foreground, and in the center of the image, the Hornet convertible has its passenger door open.
View of the Chrysler display during the 1951 auto show features a New Yorker four-door sedan on the left, and a New Yorker convertible on the far right. On a raised platform in between the two vehicles is an exposed chassis, Hemi V-8 engine and wheels all finished in white. A portion of a '51 Ford rear fender is seen in the lower right corner.
International Harvester (IH) gave its new Metro-bodied refrigerated trucks star treatment at the 1951 Chicago Auto Show. Metro was a registered trademark of the Metropolitan Body Co., Inc., a subsidiary of the IH Co. The trucks offered automatic refrigeration ranging from 10 to 50 degrees above zero. For display purposes, large windows on the side of a van revealed how various dairy products could be refrigerated for efficient and dependable door-to-door delivery.
Three men stand alongside a fully decorated, completely equipped 1951 GMC hook-and-ladder fire truck at the GMC Truck exhibit in the International Amphitheatre, during the 43rd annual Chicago Auto Show.
Miss Berwyn-Cicero (Marjorie Needham, age 21), posed with the Buick XP-300 dream car. The XP-300 was one of the first concept vehicle created by General Motors, and featured an aluminum body, wraparound windshield, bumper/concave grille combo, and headlight bezels similar to those that appeared on 1953 Buicks. Using an experimental 330 horsepower, 215 cubic inch aluminum V-8, the XP-300’s engine was capable of operating on gasoline or methanol fuel. Flowing down the trunk lid was a chrome trimmed center fin that was capped at the rear with a jet-like exhaust containing a backup light.
In 1951 Kaiser displayed four factory customs featuring exotic interiors as part of its “Worldways in Motoring" exhibit. All were based on the brand new Kaiser four-door sedan. As seen in the photo, the “Safari’ combined black and white zebra fur with lion pelts. The ‘South Seas’ was upholstered in fish netting, grass mats and Hawaiian pattern cloth, ‘Explorer ’ featured polar bear and brown bear skins; and while horse hides and saddle bags decorated the inside of the ‘Caballero.’
Plymouth presented its first dream car in 1951, the semi-fastback bodied XX-500. Built by Ghia of Italy on a 118.6-inch Plymouth wheelbase, the XX-500 was powered by a stock MoPar six-cylinder engine and driveline. Able to seat six-passenger comfortably, the interior was upholstered in Bedford cord and leather.