Manufacturers often used the Chicago Auto Show as a launch pad for mid-season models, and those coming in the following season. In 1977, Chrysler revived the old LeBaron name on a mid-size coupe and sedan, based on the Dodge Aspen/Plymouth Volare. Porsche's new 924 was fitted with an up front 2.0 liter overhead-cam four-cylinder engine was displayed. On the right, massive crowds are photographed at the show, along with the Corvette Mulsanne concept, featuring a modified body with exposed and recessed, rectangular headlights, hood scoops, periscope rear view mirror and side pipes.
CATA vice-president William J. Sullivan and CATA president Joseph J. Hennessy (pointing) look over an artist's rendering of the lower-level decor for the 1977 auto show. Photo was taken during banquet held for the floor space drawing.
Looking north from McCormick Place, this shot reveals large lines of motorists blending lanes, heading toward the large outdoor parking lots. The Soldier Field parking lot, on the left, appears to be filled. The Chicago city skyline can be glimpsed through the hazy winter atmosphere. The tallest skyscraper on the left is the Sears Tower.
No people are in this scene at the Buick display on the main floor. In the foreground is a 3/4 front view of a Century 2-door coupe with T-top roof panels removed. On the left is a LeSabre Custom 4-door sedan with its doors, front fender and hood removed. In the background are two Regal 2-door coupes, sitting on a long raised platform. On the far right is a free-standing display for Buick's 231-cubic-inch V-6 engine.
Chevrolet exhibit on the main floor is without people in this scene. In the foreground is the rare public display of a Caprice Classic 4-door sedan, along with a sign proclaiming it as Motor Trend's "Car of the Year." Several other Chevrolet models can be seen in the background.
On the main floor inside the Chevrolet display area, two performers, dressed as early 20th century American comedians Laurel and Hardy, are performing to the large, densely-packed crowd gathered around the small stage. They are standing alongside of a Caprice Classic. A pile of luggage and large numbered blocks share the stage.
On the right is auto-show manager/CATA executive vice-president Ross E. Kelsey. He and CATA president Joseph J. Hennessy (center) are both holding Chicago Tribune Auto Show Sweepstakes tickets. They are about to drop the entries into one of the official boxes. Entrants had a chance to be one of five $1000 winners, but the $1000 could only be used toward the purchase of a new car, truck or van.
Wide view of the Oldsmobile exhibit on the main floor is devoid of people. A side view of a Cutlass Supreme coupe is at the front of the carpeted display. More interesting is the Delta 88 Royale coupe sitting on the raised circular platform. This is the car that paced the 1977 Indianapolis 500 race. It had a unique removable roof section. On the far left is a Cutlass S coupe with the optional 4-4-2 package. In the lower right corner is the roof and hood of a Ford Maverick from the exhibit across the aisle.
Pontiac exhibit on the main floor. In the foreground is a front view of the Firebird Special Edition. Slightly to the right is a 3/4 front view of a two-tone Bonneville coupe. On the left is a rear view of a two-tone Bonneville 4-door sedan. Pontiac signs state, "The Mark of Great Cars."
An amazing view illustrates the magnitude of the enormous crowds of people at the auto show, filling every inch of space for as far as the eye can see. On the raised platform in the foreground is a rear corner of an Aspen station wagon. Many of the people at the front of the assembled crowd are reaching toward the ceiling, as if trying to catch something that's out of camera range.
At a decorative portion of the Chrysler-Plymouth exhibit on the main floor, a Plymouth Volare 4-door station wagon is in the foreground, on a raised platform, under an archway. At the other end of this Spanish-motif two-story hacienda display is the back half of a red Volare 2-door coupe. On the far right is a portion of a light blue Volare 4-door sedan, sitting on the show floor. "The accent is on comfort," says a sign above the station wagon, on the simulated hacienda's wall.
Bright and deep view shows the main-floor Ford exhibit. In the foreground is a 3/4 front view of the new downsized Thunderbird. Slightly above that car is a "Find Your Twin" contest display. Notice the light-bulb sign at far left, which was used along with Ford's ".... better Idea" slogan.
In the foreground of this brightly-lit view of the main-floor Ford exhibit is a 1977.5 Mustang II T-roof Convertible, introduced at mid-season. On the raised circular platform is another Mustang II T-top Convertible. The T-roof model was not a true convertible, as no American manufacturer offered a soft-top model in the late 1970s. Notice the light-bulb sign at far right sign, which was used along with Ford's "....better Idea" slogan.
Nice view of the Lincoln-Mercury exhibit on the main floor includes no people. In the foreground is a side view of a Mercury Monarch 4-door sedan. Several other Lincoln and Mercury models can be glimpsed in the background.
Bright view inside the Plymouth exhibit for Japanese-built Arrows on the lower level includes no people. In the foreground is a side view of an Arrow 2-door hatchback, with a small sign on its roof. The sign tells about the great gasoline mileage achieved by the Arrow, noting that it beats the Ford Pinto and Chevrolet Vega. The car on the far left, and the one sitting on the raised circular platform in the center, are both Arrow GS models.
A small fenced-off area serves as the Aston Martin booth on the lower level, which is devoid of people at this time. Filling the small space are two cars, a desk, and three chairs. Both models are DBS Series 3, 2-door fastback coupes.
Within the Porsche-Audi exhibit on the lower level, a red Porsche 911 sits in the foreground. On the left is a portion of a Porsche 911S.
Inside the Porsche-Audi exhibit on the lower level, the chassis and powertrain (2.0 liter 4-cylinder engine) of a Porsche 924 has been hung horizontally on a display wall.
No people are in this scene at the British Leyland MG exhibit on the main floor. In the foreground, under an archway sign, is an MG Midget Special, with unique body striping. Next to that, on the left side, is a 3/4 front view of an MGB roadster. Several Triumph TR7s are seen in the background.
In the foreground of this scene at the American Motors Corporation (AMC) exhibit on the main floor, to the left of an AMC sign, is a 3/4 front view of a Pacer two-door wagon, which was a new model addition to the Pacer line. To the left, sitting on a raised platform, is a side view of a Gremlin X. On the platform with the Gremlin is a free-standing display of the Gremlin's new 2.0 liter overhead-cam four-cyclinder engine. At right is an AMC kiosk, featuring a picture of a Matador.
In the foreground of this scene at the roped-off Lotus exhibit on the lower level is a side view of a red Esprit S1. To the left is a 3/4 front view of an Elite Series 1 2-door coupe. On the far left, sitting on a raised platform, is the sleek Lotus Esprit S1 used in a James Bond movie.
Inside the Mercedes-Benz exhibit on the main floor, several models can be seen, filling the booth. They include a 300D sedan on the raised/angled platform, right side. Mid-photo is a 3/4 front view of a 450SEL 4-door sedan. An unidentified red 4-door sedan, only the upper portion of which is visible, dominates the foreground.
On the lower level of McCormick Place, a 1977 Chevrolet El Camino car/pickup is in the truck exhibit decorated with cacti and small-size boulders.
New for 1977 was the Cruising Wagon option for the Ford Pinto. It featured bold graphics and a small circular rear, side window. It was part of Ford's “Free Wheeling” program to attract young buyers, as was the Cruising Van optioned Econoline in the background.
Wide view within the colorful American Motors Corporation (AMC) Jeep exhibit on the main floor highlights two vehicles. In the foreground is a 3/4 front view of a yellow CJ Renegade. On the left , in a roped-off area, is a J-10 Honcho pickup truck. Various other Jeep models fill the background.
Several racing vehicles are in view within the roped-off display for the Sports Car Club of America (Chicago Region), in the lower-level lobby. In the foreground is a Honda SCCA Pro Rally racing car, and on the right is a 3/4 front view of a Capri 2-door with racing stripes and numbers. Several other racing cars fill the background.
Bright and colorful Chevrolet exhibit on the main floor is with out people in this scene. In the foreground is a 3/4 rear view of a Corvette, with the optional T-roof panels removed. In the lower left corner is a portion of the new Camaro Z28.coupe, Several subcompact Chevettes can be seen behind the Corvette.
Inside the Illinois Secretary of State display booth, a seated Chicago Mayor Michael Bilandic poses for a driver's license photo. Secretary of State Alan J. Dixon is standing and enjoying a laugh with the female employee, who is taking the Mayor's photo. Note the computer monitors in the foreground.
Rare public display of a Caprice Classic four-door sedan is accompanied by a sign proclaiming it as Motor Trend magazine's "Car of the Year." Another full-size Chevrolet is in the foreground, partially obscured by people. Large crowds are shown milling about inside the Chevrolet exhibit on the main display floor.
Creative view of the Oldsmobile main floor display has been photographed through a large circular wall opening -- ringed with dozens of light bulbs. In the foreground is a partial view of a Cutlass Supreme coupe. More interesting, to its rear, is a side view of the Delta 88 Royale coupe that paced the Indianapolis 500 race. It had a unique removable roof section. Notice the rear of a Corvette in the background, in Chevrolet's display area.
High-angle view inside the Lincoln display is dominated by a Continental Town Coupe. The car is partially blocked by several people, including a man and woman pushing a baby's stroller.
Three important gentlemen posed for our camera alongside a 1977 Pontiac Grand Prix at the 69th annual Chicago Auto Show. On the left is Illinois Secretary of State Alan J. Dixon, with Chicago Automobile Trade Association (CATA) vice-president William J. Sullivan in the middle. On the right is Chicago Mayor Michael Bilandic. Mr. Sullivan owned a Pontiac dealership in Arlington Heights, IL.
Many people in the crowd are stand to watch, but some are moving down one of the lower level aisles. The main attraction is the Lotus Esprit that appeared in a James Bond movie, displayed on the far left side.
Named after the long straight on the LeMans (France) racetrack, the Corvette Mulsanne concept featured a modified body, and 350 cubic inch V-8 power. Exterior changes included recessed, exposed rectangular headlights, hood scoops, a periscope rear view mirror, and side pipes.