The decade's final Chicago Auto Show brought visitors a glimpse of the new AMC Spirit, the redesigned Ford Mustang, and the first viewing of the Toyota Celica Supra. A number of concept cars were on hand as well, including the Mercury XM, and Ford's Fiesta Tuareg off-roader and Megastar II. Visitors to the Chrysler-Plymouth display at the 71st Chicago Auto Show could sign up for a chance to win "Tattoo's Fantasy Wagon," from the Fantasy Island TV show. Ricardo Montalban, a star of that show, was also a Chrysler spokesman for many years.
Photographed in the inside lobby of McCormick Place East, a large crowd inched their way toward the show entry doorways, where they presented their purchased tickets to Andy Frain ushers.
Indoor hallway of McCormick Place, shows the enormous crowds waiting in several lines to purchase their auto show tickets. Mid-photo is a man standing with a raised arm (back to camera), who is selling the official auto show programs. On the left side, several sports & racing cars can be glimpsed inside the Sports Car Club of America Chicago Region exhibit. Notice the Arie Crown Theatre sign at the top left corner.
The Sports Car Club of America Chicago Region exhibit filled a small section of the indoor hallway of McCormick Place East. In the foreground, is a Formula-Vee racing car, sponsored by International Automotive Supply, and driven by Charlie Rush. Directly behind is a 3/4 front view of a Wankel rotary powered Mazda RX-3 two-door coupe, sponsored by Glenview (Illinois) Import. On the right, partial in view, is a race-prepared Datsun 280-Z .
Chicago Mayor Michael Bilandic and Illinois Secretary of State Alan Dixon are both cutting the ribbon that officially opened the 71st annual Chicago Auto Show to the public. Left to right front row: CATA executive vice president and general show manager Ross E. Kelsey, auto show chairman & CATA director William J. Sullivan, Mayor Michael Bilandic, CATA vice president David Rick, Secretary Howlett and CATA president Steve X. Foley.
Standing in the Volkswagen exhibit are, left to right, Illinois Secretary of State Alan Dixon, Chicago Mayor Michael Bilandic, and CATA vice president David Rick. The three posed between two VW Rabbit models. Mr. Rick owned the Evergreen Volkswagen dealership in Oak Lawn, Illinois.
On the left is CATA executive vice president and general show manager Ross E. Kelsey, who along with auto show chairman and CATA director William J. Sullivan posed with a Chicago Tribune Auto Show Sweepstake ticket. They were standing next to the official sweepstake box, which sat on the hood of a Pontiac Sunbird. Entering the contest, gave a chance to be one of five $1000 winners, but the money could only be used toward the purchase of a new car, truck or van.
A high view of the American Motors Corporation (AMC) exhibit, featured a close-up view of a large AMC sign, and a 3/4 front view of a Pacer in the foreground. Directly behind, was a portion of the Spirit-based AMX model. In the background, on a raised platform was the Spirit DL Liftback.
The all-new down-sized Riviera warrented a classy raised platform within the Buick exhibit. On display was the S Type model.
Posed behind a small fenced-off area inside the Cadillac exhibit, was a two-tone Coupe DeVille. The car was sitting on a revolving platform, ringed with dozens of glowing light bulbs.
Slightly over-exposed view of the Chevrolet exhibit., features a Caprice Classic 4-door sedan under a large Chevrolet sign. On the right is a front view of a Corvette, and on the left is a front view of a Monte Carlo.
In this wonderfully decorated Chevrolet exhibit, a Caprice Classic four-door sedan, with wheels slightly off the ground, is displayed on the left side. Under this car, was a mirrored floor, exposing the undercarriage. On the right is an Impala coupe and behind, is the unique three-car platform with the cars on their own revolving stage. On this raised display are a Camaro Berlinetta on the left, a Caprice Classic on the right and blocked by the center panels, a Chevette.
Inside the Chevrolet exhibit, a male performer is dressed as 20th century American comedian W.C. Fields, and a young woman as Little Orphan Anne. They are performing a skit that features the Chevette 4-door hatchback. On the right is a rear portion of a Camaro.
Photo taken from inside the Oldsmobile exhibit , with a 3/4 front view of the limited-production Hurst/Olds edition Cutlass Calais coupe in the foreground. This black and gold car sat on a revolving platform, ringed with dozens of light bulbs. A lone policeman is mid-center right side.
Colorful scene is filled with six Firebirds and several other Pontiacs. In the foreground, is a front view of the 6.6-liter (455 cid) Firebird Trans Am. On the shaker hood, is the bold "screaming chicken" graphics. Directly behind is a side view of the "Redbird" edition. To the right of that is a black -and-gold Trans Am, also with the 6.6-liter engine. Mid-photo left, sitting on a raised platform, is the Tenth Anniversary Trans Am, which came painted in a special silver color.
A high, close-up view of the crowds milling around a black Firebird Trans Am. On the shaker hood, is the bold "screaming chicken" graphics, and 6.6-liter label. Directly behind, the large crowds block most of the view of a special Firebird Trans Am, sitting on a raised platform. The car had after market wheels. Notice the large circular Pontiac signs in the background.
Inside the Renault exhibit on the lower level, without people. In the foreground is a high front view of the 17 Gordini. On the right is a 3/4 front view of the LeCar with a roof rack and two bicycles. Mid-photo far left is another LeCar with a roof rack and skis.
A high, close-up view inside the Toyota exhibits featured a side view of a Cressida station wagon, with simulated wood grain appliques. Directly behind on the right is a side view of a Corolla 2-door sedan. Several Celica GT Liftback models are in the background, with a Corona 5-door Liftback on a raised platform mid-photo.
Outside the eyecatching Volkswagen exhibit on the show's upper level, is a side view of the Campmobile with the fiberglass and canvass pop-top in the opened position. Directly behind is a 3/4 rear view of a Rabbit 2-door hatchback on a raised platform with the entire front end lift about 5-feet in the air.
Inside the Volkswagen exhibits on the main floor. In the foreground is a side view of a Rabbit 4-door with the hood raised. Notice the optional wood grained vinyl applique on the body side. On the left is a Sirocco hatchback with the hood in the raised position. Mid-photo is a side view of a Beetle convertible.
Bright scene inside the Volkswagen exhibit on the main floor, captured a 3/4 front view of a Beetle convertible in the foreground. Directly to the left side is a 3/4 rear view of the Dasher sedan, with roof rack. On the right side lower corner is a rear portion of the Sirocco hatchback. Directly above is a 3/4 front view of a red Rabbit 2-door.
Close-up view inside the Mercedes-Benz truck exhibits on the lower level.
High, close-up view inside the International truck exhibits shows a 3/4 front view of a Scout pickup in a simulated winter desert scene. On the roof is a ski rack and two pairs of skis. Notice the wide and interesting striping on the body side. Posed on the left is another Scout with a canvas container strapped to the roof. It has a different graphic design on its side panels.
Colorful scene inside the Chevy truck exhibits on the lower level captured a 3/4 front view of the El Camino Royal Knight pickup. On the hood is a "winged dragon" decal. Poking out of the right side is a rear portion of the compact-size Luv 4-wheel drive pickup.
Various motorcycle models are part of the Honda exhibit on the lower level. Some bikes were posed on angled platforms, and in the foreground was an example of the Honda Go-Cart .
Extreme closeup front view of the "Big Daddy" Garlits rear-engine top fuel dragster, one in a series of his innovative "Swamp Rat" racing machines.
High angle photo taken from inside the Avanti II roped-off booth on the lower level. Large crowds are shown filling the entire isle. Some have stopped to investigate one of the Avanti II models. This limited production car was assembled in South Bend, Indiana. In the next booth can be glimpsed the front section of the limited -production supercharger Auburn replica.
In front of the Excalibur exhibit, located on the lower level, two versions of the SS Phaeton filled the colorful roped-off display area. One model has it top lowed, and the other shows the model with the side windows and canvas top in place. Both cars have a $27,800 price tag, on the windshield, and the one on the right was marked sold.
High angle photo taken from inside the Milan Coach Builders booth on the lower level. Two custom built Cadillac 2-seat convertibles are seen. Both cars started as Seville 4-door sedans, and were restructured into the sporty convertibles.
Large crowds are standing in front of the Ryba's Fudge Shop booth on the lower level. Each year since 1955 people purchased their half-pound of Ryba fudge during the Chicago auto show. Founder Harry Ryba is behind the counter looking up toward the camera.
A special exhibit at the 1979 Chicago Auto Show featured a prototype Chevrolet Corvette from Pasadena-based California Custom Coach. The four-door, four-passenger sports car featured a 30-inch longer wheelbase, dual t-tops, and deep dish wire wheels. A reported two years and $200,000 was invested in the development of the Corvette "America." In 1980, five copies were assembled and listed for $37,500 each.
High angle photo taken from above the Dome Zero super car booth on the lower level of McCormick Place. The Dome Zero concept was custom-built in Japan, with a body made of fiber-reinforced plastics wearing gull-wing doors and a rear cowl that opened for engine maintenance. Powering the Dome was a turbocharged version of Nissan’s L28 2.8-liter engine, which also had electronic fuel injection and a top speed of 139 miles per hour. The two-seater weighed only 2,359 pounds, and inside the two-passenger cockpit was a three-band radio featuring a computerized synthesizer tuning system, a cassette deck and a digital quartz oscillator clock. Driver faced an instrument panel display employing digital speedometer and trip odometer as well as the analogue tachometer and other gauges equipped with LED indicators. Written in Japanese characters, the word Dome means, "a child's dream."
Appearing at the 1979 show, the Ford "Tuareg" off-road concept vehicle was based on the 1978 European Fiesta. A 1.1-liter engine teamed with a four-speed manual tranny provided power. The Tuareg also had a beefier suspension than the Fiesta, and was fitted with sand/mud tires. Special body features included the five functional louvers on the hood , larger wheel arches that flared into the running boards and thin tubular steel bumpers.
On display at the 1979 Chicago Auto Show was a factory-customized version of the 1979 Pontiac Grand Prix. A convertible landau soft-top was over the rear compartment, and T-top roof above the front seats. The folding fabric top replaced the rear quarter of the roof, and stored under the hatch cover. When the tops were off and lowered, the B-pillar formed a targa-like hoop over the rear seating area. Painted in two-tone deep red and rose tinted silver the exterior was complemented by the special cockpit and after-market deep-dish wire wheels.