During its nine-day run, the 1973 Chicago Auto Show hosted some 550 vehicles and a record 949,829 visitors. The AMC Gremlin "Levi's" model was a big hit featuring interior seats and door panels in blue spun nylon and copper rivets to resemble the familiar blue jeans. No other car at that year's show looked anything like the Citroen SM-Maserati, blending the French company's styling and air-oil suspension with a Maserati V-6 engine. While in chilly late-February Chicago, the Plymouth exhibit took to thoughts of warmer weather, displaying it's Gold Duster as a "spring special" in an attempt to attract customers to dealerships after a hard Midwest winter. Chevrolet unveils XP-898 “idea car,” and Mazda brought a cutaway-view of the unique Wankel engine. Pictured on the right is American Motors ’73 Jeep Commando in the foreground, with another Commando and a Wagoneer model directly behind it.
Inside McCormick Place lobby, a jubilant Illinois Secretary of State Michael Howlett (scissors in hand) just cut the ribbon that officially opened the 1973 Chicago Auto Show. Left to right are: auto show chairman Clarence W. Marquardt, Jr.; an Andy Frain usher; CATA president Robert M. Foley; Secretary Howlett; CATA vice-president David Ostrow; and CATA executive vice-president and show manager Ross E. Kelsey.
High, deep shot of McCormick Place East main floor during the 1973 Chicago Auto show. A substantial crowd mingle among the brightly lit exhibits and automobiles. Photo was taken from the north end of McCormick Place East, looking south. Directly below is the Buick exhibit, with a dark blue Riviera on the raised/revolving platform, partially blocked by the "BUICK" sign. A gold-tone Riviera is ahead of the platform and a white Riviera on the left side of it. Also, notice the brand new Apollo compact car display on the right.
Facing south on the upper level of the McCormick Place, the 1973 Chicago show was captured in full swing. Some 550 vehicles appeared, with 949,826 visitors attending that year. Prior to the OPEC oil embargo, fuel-guzzler Lincoln Continental and Mark IV models were across the aisle from the sub compact AMC Gremlins..Several automakers exhibit experimental safety cars.
The signs might read Pontiac, but the crowd is standing inside the Chrysler-Plymouth display area. Onstage, several formally-dressed people are entertaining the assembled audience. A Plymouth Gran Fury Coupe is onstage with the entertainers, but only the back end of the car is visible.
A red 1973 Cadillac Eldorado coupe with white vinyl roof was highlighted at the 65th annual Chicago Auto Show. Also in the scene is a rearview of a two-tone green hardtop sedan and the front view of a light yellow '73 Cadillac Coupe DeVille.
A big hit at the 1973 Chicago Auto Show was this bright red Ford Mustang Mach I. Notice the "tu-tone" hood with twin air scoops and tie-downs. On the right is a portion of a blue/white Mustang Grande two-door hardtop. Behind the Mustangs is a mustard-colored Ford LTD Country Squire station wagon. On the raised platform, left side of photo, sits a '73 Galaxie 500 Country Sedan station wagon.
Inside the Dodge exhibit area on the main floor, a Dart Hang 10 coupe sits on a raised platform. Notice the surfboards and beach motif on the platform with the white Dart. The name Hang 10 is a surfing term, used by Dodge for this limited-edition model. Red/white/blue stripes on the front bucket seats are visible in the photo. On the lower right is the front view of a brown Dart Sport Rallye 2-door coupe with white vinyl top and open sunroof. A bright red Dart Sport coupe with distinctive white trim and roof is in the background, at right side.
Colors are hazy in this shot of the Volkswagen exhibit area on the main floor. Painted orange with colorful pseudo-psychedelic floral patterns, VW's "The Thing" occupies the center of the photo, with its top down. The rear corner of another Thing is in the lower right corner. On the left is a side view of an orange Type 3 Fastback.
Four cars are sitting within the roped-off Ferrari exhibit on the lower level. In front at right is a dark yellow Dino 246 GT. Front left is a 3/4 rear view of a dark green 365 GTB/4. A side view of a red 365 GTC/4 is in in the back, right side. Only the rear portion of the fourth car can be seen: a dark blue special Dino 246 GT.
In the foreground at Buick's upper-level display space is a side view of a beige Regal, sitting in front of a vertical/circular Chicagoland dealer-location map. To the left of the map is a 3/4 front view of a white Century 350 coupe with open sunroof. A light green coupe is partially visible on the right side of the map. On the raised platform at mid-left is a white Electra 225 4-door hardtop sedan. Buick redesigned the mid-size Century this year, with new "Colonnade" styling that displaced the old pillarless bodies.
In the foreground at the American Motors display area is a "Levi's" Hornet 2-door hatchback model. The "Levi's" edition featured seats and door panels in blue spun nylon, with copper rivets to resemble the familiar blue jeans. The light green model to the right is a Hornet 2-door sedan. On the raised platform to the right of the green car is a Hornet 4-door station wagon. Under the large American Motors sign sits another Hornet station wagon. On the raised circular platform at left is a mustard-colored Hornet 3-door hatchback with all doors open.
In the foreground of the Chrysler-Plymouth display area, at right, is a portion of a light yellow Plymouth Fury III 4-door sedan with white vinyl roof. Behind the Fury is a side view of a red Duster coupe with white vinyl top and open sunroof. Portions of other Plymouths are visible toward the rear. "Extra care in engineering," reads a display sign at left; "it makes a difference."
Inside the British Leyland exhibit area on the main floor, a vintage red MG-TC convertible sits on a raised display platform. Several new MGB convertibles and a white coupe are in view as well, along with Austin Marina 2- and 4-door sedans.
Inside the Opel exhibit area on the main floor, a red Manta Rallye coupe with flat-black hood sits in the foreground. A blue Manta is on the far right, and a 3/4 rear view of a GT sport coupe (now in its final season) is on the left, featuring new four-spoke wheels. Opel adopted the Manta designation this year for sport-coupe versions of the 1900 series.
In the foreground of this scene at the roped-off antique auto exhibit is a front view of a two-tone green 1948 Nash. On the left is a front view of a 1931 Chrysler eight-cylinder roadster. On the right is a Chevrolet touring car from the '20s. Notice the split-rear-window Volkswagen Beetle in the back of the display, facing away from the camera.
Several vehicles may be seen within the roped-off drag-race car exhibit on the lower level. In the foreground, left side, is an AMC Javelin-based race car with a jet-engine type exhaust. A Chevrolet Vega-based Joe Amato "Whiskey" funny car wears a lift-up fiberglass body, exposing the special chassis and engine. At far left, toward the rear, is a glimpse of Mr. Norm's blue Dodge Challenger funny car.
Within the roped-off area of this special exhibit is a whimsical creation by Rowland Emett for the Borg-Warner Corporation, titled "Vintage Car of the Future."
At the GMC Motor Home exhibit on the lower level, in the foreground, is a 3/4 front view of a light yellow six-wheeled motor home.
In the foreground of this scene at the Chevrolet Truck exhibit on the lower level is a 3/4 front view of a red-and-white Cheyenne Super 10 2-door pickup, with "350" emblem in the grille. Behind it is the front end of the Cheyenne Bak Pak concept truck, with "454" emblem in its grille. On the raised circular platform is a cutaway display of a Suburban 4-door wagon.
In the foreground at the Dodge Truck exhibit space is a side view of a Dodge extended-cab pickup, with Winnebago camper top attached. On the right is a front view of a Dodge motor home.
During the 1973 Chicago Auto Show, Chicago Automobile Trade Association vice-president David Ostrow stands alongside a new Dodge Polara Custom hardtop sedan, while Illinois Secretary of State Michael Howlett sits behind the steering wheel.
One of the most unusual entertainers to appear at the Chicago Auto Show was Bonnie Boddie, the ‘Human Hood Ornament.’ On the front of a 1973 Dodge Charger SE, the blonde beauty twisted herself into sculpted, windswept female statuettes that once adorned some of the classic cars radiators..
In this view of the 1973 Lincoln-Mercury Sports Panel exhibit, a crowd watches as sportscaster Howie Roberts (standing far left) is speaking to the five-member panel. Seated on the raised platform are (left to right): hockey legend Gordie Howe; female professional golf star Sharron Moran; 1936 Olympic gold medal winner Jesse Owens; tennis professional Tony Trabert and football superstar Bart Starr.
In the foreground at the Ford Truck exhibit on the lower level is a 3/4 front view of a butterscotch-colored Ranchero Squire pickup, with vinyl wood-grain trim. On the raised circular platform, with revolving stage, is the Explorer sport-utility concept vehicle. On the back of the Explorer is a foldable tent. Notice the sign on the far left, with the image of Melody Rogers, the Ford Team Girl.
In the foreground of the 1973 Ford Truck exhibit on the lower level of McCormick Place, a radically different recreational pickup is displayed on a raised circular platform. Titled, Explorer SUV, the futuristic sport-utility concept had a midship mounted high-performance 429 cubic inch V-8, with engine compartment vent louvers behind the doors. A custom foldable tent could be fitted in the long bed compartment.