More floor space was needed in 1980, and the show's size increased to 600,000 square feet to accommodate the 700 vehicles on display. Glamour was on revue, as seen from the featured photo of a fashionably-dressed damsel posing with the stylish 1980 Pontiac Bonneville. GM also promoted its compact X-cars, led by the Chevrolet Citation, while Datsun (Nissan) showed-off its 10th anniversary 280ZX. Ford displayed the concept Fiesta GTK, billed as the "station wagon of the future." Specialty-built cars shown were the the Guanci SJS-1, Arntz Cobra, Clenet, Commuter Electric, Lectric Leopard, Cabriolet Cadillac and the Excalibur Series V Phaeton.
A banner promoting the 1980 Chicago Auto Show is positioned along the bridge crossing over Lake Shore Drive. The now-defunct McCormick Place Hotel is in the background.
Illinois Secretary of State Alan J. Dixon (center, holding scissors) cuts the ribbon to open the 1980 Chicago Auto Show. Pictured are (left to right) CATA executive vice-president and auto show manager Ross E. Kelsey, CATA president David Rick, Jack Haggerty, Dixon, an unidentified woman and Executive Show Committee chairman Steve X. Foley.
Texas Governor John Connolly is behind the wheel of an imported Challenger sport coupe, at the Dodge exhibit space on the auto-show floor. Accompanying the Governor, holding his cowboy hat, is CATA treasurer Richard Everman.
An all-new Seville sedan, sitting on a raised platform, dominates this scene at Cadillac's exhibit space. Billed as "quite possibly the most distinctive car in the world today," the restyled Seville featured a "bustleback" profile with a humped trunk lid. This example has two-tone paint and a sunroof. A diesel engine was standard, with gasoline V-8 an option. The back half of an Eldorado coupe can be seen behind the Seville.
A restyled, darkly-painted second-generation Cordoba coupe with white convertible-like roof is in the center of this scene at the Chrysler display space. A larger Chrysler sedan is in the foreground, partially visible. A sign advises that as of December 27, 1979, "the New Chrysler Corporation is in business to stay." In financial trouble during the late 1970s, Chrysler stayed afloat by obtaining government-guaranteed loans.
A sporty new Omni 024 coupe occupies the foreground of this scene inside the Dodge exhibit space during the 1980 Chicago Auto Show. Sitting on a raised platform at the right is an 024 with the new DeTomaso package, in bright yellow with black accents and flared wheel openings. The DeTomaso edition was s $1,575 option that also included a bright transverse roof band and sunroof, rear-quarter louvers, black lower body, spoilers and sport suspension Additional models can be seen toward the rear, including a Dodge passenger van.
Dodge introduced the Italian sports car from Detroit, the 1980 DeTomaso, based on the aerodynamic compact 024 fastback. Italy’s automotive legend, Alejandro DeTomaso, enhanced the Dodge 024 body with a front air dam, rear air spoiler, wheelhouse flares, rear quarter louvers and a distinctive brushed metal roof band. A 1.7 liter overhead cam engine powered the front-wheel drive limited-edition model, and further billed as, “the one exotic Italian sports car that’s made in America for the American road.”
Narrow flames decorate the hood scoop on the Camaro Z28 coupe that occupied the left foreground of the 1980 Chevrolet exhibit. A blue Camaro with a T-top is on the right. For 1980, the Camaro received a redesigned grille, and a new V-6 base engine. The Z28's rear-facing hood scoop had an electrically activated flap that operated when the gas pedal was pressed down. Additional Chevrolet models are visible toward the rear.
A scene from inside the Pontiac exhibit shows a Firebird Limited Edition Turbo Trans Am pace car in the lower left foreground. The special model commemorated the Trans Am as pace car for the Indianapolis 500 race in May 1980. Additional Firebirds and other Pontiac models can be seen toward the rear of this scene.
Lovely model Amy McKee, dressed in a bright red strapless evening gown, poses next to a red Firebird coupe on a raised, revolving platform inside the Pontiac exhibit during the 1980 show. Firebirds received a revised selection of engines that year, including a new 265 cubic inch block V-8.
Scene at Ford's exhibit space, which features an LTD Crown Victoria sedan in the foreground--called "the ultimate LTD." Note the wrapover roof band on the car. For 1980, Crown Victoria replaced the prior Landau as top-of-the-line full-size Ford model, taking a name first used in the 1950s.
Two Ferraris are on view in this scene at the Italian sports car maker's space on the lower level of McCormick Place. The very rare Ferrari Rainbow concept vehicle is on the left, and a production Ferrari 308GT4 coupe is on the rights.
A Fiesta hatchback sedan occupies the foreground of this scene at the display space for imported Ford models, on the lower level of McCormick Place. To its rear, on a raised turntable, is Ford's Ghia-created GTK concept car. Originally designed at company headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan, Fiestas were produced in Germany. The front-drive subcompact rode a 90-inch wheelbase and used a 66-horsepower, 1.6 liter four-cylinder engine. In 1980, 68,595 Fiestas were sold in the U.S., sticker-priced at $4,493.
Subaru's BRAT (Bi-Drive Recreational All-Terrain Transporter) multi-purpose four-wheel-drive vehicle highlights this scene at the Japanese automaker's display space, on the lower level of McCormick Place. The BRAT looks like a mini-pickup truck but has two rear-facing seats in its “bed.” A Subaru station wagon is behind the BRAT, and a specially-painted hatchback with all-wheel drive (AWD) and Olympics markings sits on a high platform.
A racing Jaguar XJ-S coupe, with the name Bob Tullius on its door, highlights this scene at the Jaguar exhibit space on the lower level. Note the exhaust pipe ahead of the back wheel, and what appears to be a partially transparent hood. A pair of Triumph models, also produced in Great Britain, are visible toward the rear, in the adjacent display area.
Datsun's 280-ZX sports car is in the foreground of this scene at the Japanese automaker's exhibit space, on the main floor of McCormick Place. Three versions were available: base hatchback, GL, and GL 2+2. Other Datsun models are visible toward the rear of this long, wide shot, including a 310 model whose doors reads "Shadow Traffic.." A vertical sign promotes the restyled 200-SX sport coupe.
A Continental Mark VI sedan is in the right foreground of this scene at the Lincoln-Mercury display space. A Continental Mark VI coupe is at left. This was the first year for a four-door Mark, shrunken in size for 1980. Styling was a clear evolution from the prior Mark V generation, including concealed headlamps.
A pair of Guanci sports cars are seen on exhibit at the 1980 Chicago Auto Show. Built in Woodstock, Illinois, the fiberglass body Guanci came powered by a transverse mid-mounted V-8 engine, and a $54,000 price tag,
A two-passenger 450 SL coupe/roadster (with removable hardtop) is on a raised platform at the main-floor display space for Mercedes-Benz. A 4.5-liter (276-cid) V-8 engine sent its 180 horsepower to an automatic transmission.
Christopher Cougar (yes, he's live) makes an appearance at the Lincoln-Mercury display, drawing a huge crowd. Fortunately, an MC with a microphone is holding Christopher's leash tightly. Also talking into a microphone is a red-haired woman, evidently dressed in leather.
Several models may be seen in this scene at the main-floor display space for Japanese-built Honda automobiles. An Accord coupe is partially visible at lower right, and the back end of a Civic 1500 protrude into the lower left corner of the photo. A Civic and a Prelude coupe are on raised platforms toward the rear.
A single LeCar hatchback, with its fabric sunroof closed, is sitting in front of a large historical poster at the Renault exhibit space on the lower level of McCormick Place. The poster promotes the French company's "worldwide tradition of outstanding performance since 1898." The front-drive subcompact LeCar was the only Renault model sold in the U.S. at this time.
Top fuel drag racer Shirley Muldowney signed autographs for her fans who visited the Chrysler-Plymouth display at the 1980 Chicago Auto Show. On the right is the booth for Foley Tire Centers that featured the Michelin "mascot,"
Scene at the display booth for the Department of Law Enforcement, of the Illinois State Police. A Dodge St. Regis police car is part of the exhibit.
A heavy-duty Sierra pickup truck with dual rear wheels highlights this scene at the GMC display space on the lower level of McCormick Place. Glimpses of additional GMC vehicles also can be seen.
View from between two large signs, a Rallye edition of the compact four-wheel-drive International Scout fills most of this shot at the display space for International Harvester on the lower level of McCormick Place.
Chevy began to exhibited the Turbo Camaro Ultra Z prototype show car in late 1979, and as seen here, in Feb. 1980 at the 72nd edition of the Chicago Auto Show. The custom-built aluminum 350 cubic inch V-8, came fitted with fuel injection and turbocharger, mated to a beefed-up automatic transmission. Exterior modifications on the Ultra Z included a whale tail rear spoiler, two-tone paint, T-top roof, as well as unique hood and fender vents.
The Dodge Ram Van show vehicle was painted a deep red and featured a stylized black four-legged ram charging across the body side, and causing graphic impact waves. Custom wheels were detailed in red to match the body.
Eye-catching exhibit has the Dodge Rampage show truck jacked-up and displayed over mirror flooring to expose the detailed undercarriage. Up front, the flat black grille housed vertical stacked rectangle-shaped headlights. Custom paint starts with a black 'bumble bee' stripe, then flows from school bus yellow through shades of orange and into reds.
Though the wedge-shaped Ford Fiesta GTK station wagon prototype had a small 94-inch wheelbase, it still provided a spacious interior. Experimental tubular instrument panel and circular center console housed an on-board computer and digital displays. The Fiesta GTK five-spoke wheels predicted those used on production 1972-74 Mustangs.
Named for the International Motor Sports Association, the Ford Mustang IMSA featured aerodynamic body components, modified shaker hood with air-extractor louvers, wide fender flares, a deck mounted wing spoiler, super-wide Pirelli tires, and plastic covers over Gotti wheels. Finished in white pearl, the body was accented with orange and gold striping. Under the custom hood was a turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine.
Chrysler built this two-seat concept vehicle of its subcompact Plymouth Horizon TC3, featuring a non-production T-bar roof, louvered quarter windows, and black moldings gave the show car more exotic styling. Suggested power at the time was the new 2.2 liter four-cylinder engine with dual exhausts, and the prototype wore 14-inch cast aluminum wheels, oversized tires, lower suspension and a recessed rear window,