At an admission price of 90 cents, visitors to the 50th Chicago Auto Show were able to view more than 470 vehicles at the International Ampitheatre. In celebration of the event's Golden Jubilee, a "Motor Memories" display was arranged, and featured a number of legendary antique and classic cars. Quite possibly the most controversial new car introduction that year was the Ford Edsel, which appeared during the "Motorevue of 1958" stage show. Visitors were treated to Chevrolet's brand-new Impala hardtop and convertible, Ferrari's 250 Gran Turismo and 4.9 SuperAmerica, along with the posh Pontiac Star Chief, with choice of either a 300-horsepower (triple-carburetor) or 310 horsepower (fuel-injected) V-8 engines. On the right, Miss Berwyn-Cicero (Marlene Schwerin) poses during a press luncheon with CATA executive vice-president and auto-show manager Edward L. Cleary.
CATA director James F. McManus, Jr. (left) and an unidentified man look over a floor plan for the 1958 Chicago Auto Show that was mounted on an easel. Many of the car brands listed in the layout are missing from today's market, including Plymouth, Mercury, Studebaker, Packard, Oldsmobile, Imperial and De Soto.
Six "community queens" pose at a press luncheon with three CATA executives, including executive vice-president and auto-show manager Edward L. Cleary (holding poster), show chairman C.J. McCorkle and far right, president Don C. Mullery. Seated are (left to right) Miss South Suburban (Rita Misevich), Miss Berwyn-Cicero (Marlene Schwerin) and Miss North Suburban (Nancy Worthington). Standing are (left to right) Miss Evanston (Rachel Smart), Miss Irving Park (Dale Weissmann) and Miss Belmont-Central (Patricia Gere). Photo was taken December 12, 1957.
Three female musicians are entertaining guests at a luncheon for the Chicago Automobile Dealers Association (CATA) members. The gathering of auto dealers and CATA officials was related to the then upcoming 50th edition of the Chicago Auto Show. The photo is dated December 5, 1957, about one month before the show ran from January 4-12, 1958.
Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley (left) poses with auto-show manager Edward L. Cleary (right) and winners of the annual high-school safety slogan contest. Photo was taken at the display booth for the Chicago Street Traffic Commission, with slogan, "Live And Let Live - Drive Safely!"
Lou Breese is strumming a banjo with his orchestra on a raised platform above the stage during the "Motorevue of 1958." Breese is wearing a business suit, but other musicians are formally dressed.
A 'community queen' stands alongside a 1958 Edsel Citation convertible during the "Motorevue of 1958." This was the first year for the Edsel, launched by Ford Motor Company in a flurry of publicity. Before long, as sales failed to take off, the Edsel would be branded a fiasco, partly due to a recession, and what some considered unorthodox styling elements such as the vericle "horse-collar" grille. In 1958, the Edsel convertibles came in Pacer and top-tier Citation trim.
A 'community queen' stands alongside a 1958 Ford Skyliner hardtop, during the "Motorevue of 1958." Ford used a complicated mechanism to operate the retractable hardtop of the Skyliner, which actually debuted in mid-1957. Touch the magic control and the steel roof vanishes into the rear deck to leave six-passengers sitting proudly in the most dashing convertible under the sun. When retracted, the top occupied virtually all of the car's trunk space. All Fords were facelifted, with quad headlights and taillights as well as a combination bumper/grille. Under the hood was Ford's Interceptor V-8's, either the 265 horsepower 332 CID Special or 300 hp 353 CID Special. After the 1959 model, Ford discontinued the world's first massed produced retractable steel hardtop vehicle.
A community queen stands alongside a 1958 Chevrolet Impala two-door hardtop during the "Motorevue of 1958." Chevrolets were redesigned for 1958, one of the few makes without discernible tailfins. Top model was the new Impala, a sub-series of the Bel Air, produced as a hardtop or convertible.
On stage in the International Amphitheatre during the 50th edition of the Chicago Auto Show, is a 1958 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight two-door hardtop. That year, Olds offered three series, with a total of 16 stunning models in all. The twice daily "Motorevue of 1958" presentation featured the newest cars, 21 community beauty queens, and musical numbers tracing the history of the automobile.
Two men dressed in dusters and caps are seated inside a Stanley Steamer, while onstage during the "Motorevue of 1958." Part One of the stage revue "From Then Till Now" was called "It's now 1901." 'Gibson Girl' Kathy Emma stands near the microphone at right, with the four-member Sophomores male singing group. Musicians in the Lou Breese orchestra are visible in on their elevated platform at the far rear of the stage.
Formal-dressed model points toward a display panel with photos that promote the "Swept-Wing 58 by Dodge." The large photo shows a Dodge Cornet Lancer two-door hardtop, and the four smaller photos highlight featured equipment such as power steering and brakes.
The secret power of Chevrolet’s ‘Dancing Car’ exhibit at the 1958 Chicago Auto Show was explained by Edward N. Cole (left), Chevrolet General Manager and General Motors Vice President Frank H. Yarnall, a Chicago Chevrolet dealer, looks on. The electro-hydraulic unit carried in the trunks of the cars enabled them to move about the stage under their own power. This was an early predecessor of today’s modified lowrider cars that use similar hydraulic systems that allow the cars to hop, dance and other moves in competition at local cars shows and in competition.
Several models are visible in the Cadillac exhibit, including an Eldorado Brougham four-door hardtop in the foreground. On the left is a Series 62 convertible and a hardtop sedan on the far right. All Cadillacs except the Brougham received a face lift for '58, which added new dual headlights and revised tailfins.
Executives are pictured dining at the Southtown Economist newspaper's South Side Day luncheon, held on Thursday, January 9, 1958 at the Saddle & Sirloin Room of the Stock Yard Inn, next to the International Amphitheatre. Several CATA executives are seated at the head table, as are two community beauty queens. Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley is seated second from right. Thursday was traditionally South Side Day at the auto show.
Wide shot of the 1958 Oldsmobile exhibit reveals a number of different models, including a Ninety-Eight convertible on the left, and a Dynamic 88 convertible in the center on the raised platform. On the right, sectioned-off by rope fencing, is a Ninety-Eight Holiday Sedan with four-door hardtop styling. Like most GM makes this year, Oldsmobiles were loaded down with chrome.
Wide shot of the Studebaker-Packard exhibit area reveals a number of different models, including a Studebaker Golden Hawk in right foreground and a Packard Hawk on a raised platform toward the rear. Also visible are a Studebaker President Starlight coupe at near left (on platform) and a Silver Hawk coupe at far left.
Wide shot in the International Amphitheatre during the 50th edition of the Chicago Auto Show captures a section of the 1959 De Soto exhibit. A Firesweep convertible is park on the right and a top-of-the-line Adventurer hardtop at far left in front of the DE SOTO letters.
Wide shot from afar of the Edsel exhibit area reveals a number of different models. This was the first year for the Edsel, launched to great fanfare. Edsels came in four series (Ranger, Pacer, Corsair, and Citation), all with V-8 engines.
Various Pontiac models are captured in this wide view inside the International Amphitheatre during the 50th Chicago Auto Show. A Pontiac Star Chief two-door hardtop is in the foreground, and a Bonneville Custom convertible with Tri-Power on a raised platform. Note the decorative pillars, spaced out in the exhibit area.
A 300SL roadster on a raised platform dominates this scene at the Mercedes-Benz exhibit area. The 300SL (Super Light) debuted in 1955 as a 'gullwing' coupe, later joined by a roadster. Few sports cars were more coveted at the time. This scene also includes two large Mercedes-Benz sedans.
Large crowds of people are entering and leaving the Truck and Import Car exhibits inside the International Amphitheatre during the 1958 Chicago Auto Show.
Auto show visitors get a look under the bonnet (hood) of the British-built Austin-Healey sports car. Note the twin angled SU carburetors and the wire wheels. Austin-Healeys were popular with sports-car fans who liked the British breed of roadster, but could not afford a Jaguar or other expensive model. A small sign on the windshield promotes S.H. Arnolt, the Chicago dealer who sold many imported makes.
A Studebaker taxi, based on the low-budget Scotsman sedan, is in the foreground of the 1958 Studebaker commercial vehicle exhibit. At left is a two-tone, long-bed Transtar pickup truck. A heavy-duty tractor is toward the rear.
A four-wheel-drive Power Wagon is at left, on a raised platform, in this shot at the Dodge truck exhibit area. Portions of several other trucks are visible, including a Model 800 tandem-wheel truck with no cargo body at right, partially concealed by a pillar. A Super Power Giant 354 V-8 engine with dual carburetors is mounted on a display stand in the foreground, and a sign promotes Dodge "Power Giants."
Auto-show visitors look over a 1910 Hupmobile and several other antique vehicles, at a special display in the "Motor Memories" area. Note the pillars, which contain names of early car makes. Photo taken on the last day of the 50th Chicago Auto Show, Jan. 12, 1958.
'Motor Memories' was the name for the display of antique vehicles at the 1958 Chicago Auto Show. All of the motorcars in this scene, exhibited in two groupings, are of early vintage--prior to World War One, and as far back as 1899. Note the pillars, which contain names of early car makes.
Display booth for the Buddy Auto Interior Clearer company. The "magic cleaner in a sponge" sold for 97-cent each.
Not many American drivers ever got behind the wheel of a Vauxhall Bedford minibus, pictured at left. Note the sliding driver's door. Vauxhalls were sold by Pontiac dealers, while Opels (shown in their display at right) were marketed at Buick dealerships. The car in the center of this photo, facing the camera, is an Opel Olympia Rekord sedan.
Woman in coveralls stands alongside a fully exposed chassis at the Oldsmobile exhibit area.
No people are in this scene at the AMC Metropolitan exhibit area. Built in England, with an Austin engine, Metropolitans had only one seat that carried three occupants. Offered in bright two-tone paint combinations, the mini-size cars earned a moderately enthusiastic following and were produced from 1954 to 1962.
A Ford Ranchero car/pickup is in the foreground of this shot at the Ford Truck exhibit area. Heavier-duty trucks are toward the rear, as is an F-Series pickup on a raised platform.
Visitors are studying a huge Mack dump truck at that company's exhibit space. Heavy-duty trucks were part of the attraction at each year's auto show.
Three Swedish-built Volvos turned up at the 1958 Chicago Auto Show, in a simple display area that also featured a Volvo tractor. At left and center are two PV444 sedans, noteworthy for their resemblance in profile (albeit on a smaller scale) to 1948 Ford two-door sedans. At right is a PV445 station wagon. The first Volvos had arrived in the U.S. early in 1956.
Capitalizing on the popularity of the "Tales of Wells Fargo" television show, sponsor Buick exhibited the custom built 'Wells Fargo' convertible in Chicago. Based on the Roadmaster ragtop, the car was created for Dale Robertson, star of the TV series. Major exterior alteration was replacing the chrome trim on the rear fenders with walnut panels. Unique interior consisted of two-tone cowhide upholstery and floor covering. The doors were equipped with pistols in holsters, and in the back was a gun rack with rifles. Crowds were handed postcards featuring Robinson and his western themed Buick.
A portion of the 1958 Ford exhibit was set-up as a Ford Motor Company design studio. The full-size, non-drivable La Galaxie styling study was a center piece, surrounded by several 3/8 scale Ford dream cars. These smaller models included names like "La Tosca," which was a radio controlled toy; the atomic-powered, jet-style "Nucleon" and a sports car titled '"DePaolo."