Chicago Auto Show moves to McCormick South, a short distance west of prior facility on Chicago's lakefront. All exhibits are now on one floor covering 840,000 square feet. Chevrolet displayed the facelifted 1998 Camaro offered with Corvette-based V-8. Dodge brings the Sidewinder concept pickup, new Ram Quad Cab pickup truck, redesigned Ram van, and the Dakota R/T. Ford focused on its high-performance '98 SVT Contour compact sedan, as well as the Ranger pickup, electric-powered Ranger and brawny PowerForce concept truck. The highlight in the GMC exhibit was the ‘Envoy’ concept vehicle based on the GMC Jimmy sport-utility. Lexus premiered a prototype of the forthcoming sport-utility vehicle that will be named "RX 300." Lincoln-Mercury attracted large crowds around the sculpted MC4 concept vehicle. Another popular attraction was the futuristic Mercedes-Benz F200 concept coupe making its U.S.A. debut in Chicago. First Look for Charity raised more than $1 million with a Dodge Viper GTS coupe as grand prize for a lucky ticket holder. Pictured on the right is veteran-Hollywood actor Jack Palance and Ford Motor Co. vice president Ross Roberts waving to our camera moments after the two men introduced the Powerforce Super Duty concept truck at the Chicago show.
In 1997, the Chicago Auto Show moved to the enormous McCormick Place South. For the first time, all manufacturers were able to display vehicles on one level, tallying 840,000 sq. ft. Attendance surpassed the million mark in ’97, and the grand prize for the First Look for Charity was a Dodge Viper GTS coupe. Beginning in 2005, the show expanded across the hall into the North building, for a total of 1.2 million sq. ft. of exhibit room.
Special exhibit in the lower level lobby of the new $675-million McCormick Place South. On display is a Dodge Viper GTS coupe, which was the official vehicle of the 1997 Chicago show, and the First Look for Charity event door prize. The Viper was won by Anne & David Coupe.
(L to R) Chicago Auto Trade Association co-chair Lee Weinman and chair Patrick Fitzgibbons joined Illinois Secretary of State George Ryan to hold up a large-scale facsimile check for over $1.2 million. This amount was received from the sales of tickets for the First Look for Charity event, and was divided into 12 Chicagoland charities. The photo was taken the evening of February 7, 1997 during the black-tie affair.
Chrysler president Bob Lutz at the "Bob's Dodge Truck Diner" exhibit introduced the Dodge Ram Quad Cab pickup during media days at the 1997 Chicago Auto Show.
Wonderful views of the Saab and the Rolls Royce/Bentley exhibits photographed from a high vantagepoint above the show floor. On the left side, nicely arranged, are eleven examples of the 900 and 9000 models. In the foreground is a 900 SE convertible, posed as part of a simulated rolling hills and highway scene. The roadway is to emphasized Saab's - find your own road - slogan. In the middle of this exhibit, is an historic 1947 Saab Model 92. On the right side of the photo is the six-car Rolls Royce/Bentley exhibit.
A wide view of the Pontiac exhibit at the 89th annual Chicago Show, with a Trans Sport Montana in the foreground. The Montana is a sporty version of GM's new front-wheel-drive minivan. Suspended overhead is a hang glider with a mannequin as the pilot. On the right, is a front view of the Firebird Trans Am convertible. The new McCormick Place South architecture served as the background.
A 1997 Pontiac Firebird convertible makes a beautiful sight during the 89th annual Chicago Auto Show. This was the inaugural year for the current McCormick Place South. Glimpses of the new expo center and a large Pontiac logo sign serve as background. An optional 305 horsepower Ram Air package could be installed on both Firebird coupe and convertible models.
This scene was taken inside the Buick exhibit, with a Riviera 2-door coupe posed under an elegant, soft-lit dome. The mid-level luxury Riviera came with a standard 205 horsepower normally aspirated 3800 Series V-6, but for the more adventurous, there was the optional supercharged version with 240 horses.
BWM exhibit for the 1997 show featured three American-built BMW Z3 roadsters, hung vertically on the back wall. Written above the three Z3 models: 'Expand your horizons... the sky's the limited.' Two other slogans on adjoining walls were, 'Feel the wind in your hair...and in you soul;' and 'Technology takes a remarkable turn.' Also in the photo is an M3 Series 4-door sedan.
Close-up side view of the mid-engine NSX -T sports car display, in the Acura exhibit. The targa-roofed NSX-T is posed on a revolving platform, behind railings that allow show crowds to admire, but not touch. For 1997, a new 290 horsepower, 3.2 liter all-aluminum V-6 engine was standard. This was the seventh model year for the exotic NSX.
Close-up view of a pre-production 1998 Lincoln Navigator sport-utility vehicle (SUV) at the 1997 Chicago Auto Show. The Navigator was Lincoln's first sport-utility vehicle, basically an upscale version of the new Ford Expedition. Navigator came with a 5.4 liter V-8; a conventional rear-wheel drive or with electric shift-on-the-fly 4WD system. Astrological-inspired motif on the back wall and flooring of the exhibit were in tune with the Navigator theme.
General Motor's electric EV1 two-seat sportscar was featured in the Saturn exhibit. This was a second generation of the purpose-built electric vehicle and was sold/leased at Saturn dealerships. Powered by a 137 horsepower, 3-phase AC induction motor, and utilizing conventional lead/acid batteries, the car could travel between 50 to 60 miles per charge.
Inside the Buick exhibit sat a bright red Skylark Gran Sport two-door coupe, with an enormous replica of a Buick key and key fob posed directly behind. Key fobs were becoming a popular accessory, offering various electronic functions, including door and trunk lock/unlocking and emergency horn activation buttons.
Inside the Pontiac exhibit, a 1997 Grand Am GT four-door sedan, is displayed high off the ground, on a free-standing curved-platform. This GT had the optional 3.1 liter V-6 rated at 155 horsepower that came mated to a four-speed automatic transmission. During the 1990s, the Grand Am was Pontiac 's volume sales leader.
Originally shown to the public in 1993 as a concept vehicle, Chrysler Corporation put the Plymouth Prowler into production, as a mid-1997 model. People of all ages stopped to admire the two-seater on display during the 1997 Chicago Auto Show. Eliciting memories of 1950s hot rods, the Prowler used a V-6 engine with AutoStick transmission. For the record, the production version first appeared in Chicago at the 1996 Chicago show. You can see a full view of the Prowler in 1996 Show History.
In the foreground of the Saab exhibit is a front view of 9000 CS four-door sedan. On the right, is a 900 SE convertible, painted in a Mica-metallic paint finish, called Cayenne Red. The convertible is posed on a simulated rolling hills and highway scene to emphasized Saab's 'find your own road' slogan.
Inside the BMW exhibit, are various models on display. In the foreground, left side, is a Z3 roadster. The front ends of several 3-Series and 5-Series fill the rest of the area. Notice the direct front view of the BWM motorcycle near the grille of the Z3. Behind all the cars, stands a large video screen backdrop. The slogan printed on that wall, reads, "Feel the wind in your hair...and in you soul."
Close-up view of the EuroVan Camper, within the Volkswagen exhibit during the 1997 Chicago Auto Show The Camper, as shown with roll out awning and opened camper top, was the only EuroVan offered in the United States.
Impressive freestanding Buick signage along with two all-new Century four-door midsize sedans fill this scene from the 89th Chicago Auto Show. Powering the 1997 Century was a 160 horsepower V-6 engine. The Buick Century was built on the same platform as the Pontiac Grand Prix and Oldsmobile Intrigue.
Snapped in the Acura exhibit during the 89th annual Chicago Auto Show is the 1997 Integra GS-R two-door coupe. Several CL two-door coupes can be see in the area, and a 3/4-rear view of a yellow NSX -T is visible in the background. Suspended high above the NSX -T is a gigantic, eye-catching round disc. Projected onto the disc were a changing series of spectacular color patterns, created by twenty-four attached lights.
Close-up side view of an Audi 2.8 Cabriolet convertible. Finished in the new Santorin Blue color, the Cabriolet was powered by a 2.8 liter single overhead cam V-6 engine. A spectacular two-level office structure was set-up for the show.
A special display inside the 1997 Oldsmobile exhibit, was a 1907 Oldsmobile Curved Dash Runabout. The Curved Dash model was offered from 1901-1907. Note the sign above the car that reads, "Oldsmobile - Driving into the Next Century."
Extreme close-up view of the an aftermarket 1996 Eldorado convertible (roof up), on display in the official GM 1997 Cadillac exhibit. Two other versions of the convertibles are directly behind. Steve Foley Cadillac of Northbrook, Illinois was the car dealer who brought these limited-built Eldorados to the show. Note the small signs advertising these normally $73,838 vehicles were price-slashed to $58,338 and $58,838.
Displayed in the Chrysler exhibit, the Phaeton concept car was an imposing four-door convertible with two windshields and a retractable hardtop roof. The rear windshield slid up and down. Inspired by the 1940 Chrysler Newport dual cowl parade car, the Phaeton from 1997 rolled on massive 22-inch cast aluminum wheels. Awesome performance was supplied to the rear wheels via the 425-horsepower, 5.4-liter, V12 engine.
One of five new Chrysler concept vehicles at the 1997 show was the venomous Dodge Copperhead. Built off the Plymouth Prowler, the rear-wheel-drive Copperhead was propelled by a 220 horsepower version of the new 2.7-liter V-6, connected to a five-speed manual transmission. Its curvaceous two-seat design offered an elongated hood, side air scoops, radically sloped windshield, and a small dorsal fin on the rear deck. Upfront were 18-inch wheels with massive 20-inchers at the rear.
A wide view of the presentation side of "Bob's Dodge Truck Diner" exhibit at the 1997 Chicago Auto Show. On display is the Dodge Dakota Sidewinder concept with a Viper V-10 powerplant stuffed into the engine bay. Earlier in the day, Chrysler president Bob Lutz introduced the Dodge Ram Quad Cab pickup to the media assembled in front of that same stage.
Lexus revealed its Sport Luxury Vehicle (SLV) concept on February 6, 1997 at the Chicago Auto Show. The SLV was a vision of a new blend of mid-sized sport utility vehicle (SUV) for the driving enthusiast. At the show, company executives confirmed that Lexus would introduce a volume production model based on the SLV in the near future. The prototype predicted the styling and features that would appear on the 1998 Lexus RX 300. As an entirely new concept combining luxury sport sedan and SUV, no comparable product existed on the market in 1997. Aggressive 17-inch wheels and tires and a rugged vertical bar grille design suggest the SLV's tenacious traction. Low step-in height and low overall height insure convenient entry. Based on the Lexus ES 300 near-luxury sedan and employing unibody construction, the SLV was powered by an all-aluminum 3.0 liter 24-valve V-6, featuring continuously variable valve timing (VVTi), a first for any V-6 engine.
Making its North American debut at the 1997 Chicago show was the Mercedes-Benz F200 coupe concept. The F200 used a ‘revolutionary drive-by-wire’ technology that eliminated the steering wheels and pedals. Instead, the vehicle was controlled via ergonomically designed, aircraft-style joysticks in the central console and door recess.
The most notable exterior feature were the hydraulically operated doors which opened up and forward with a scissors-like movement. This unusual design made for easier entrance and exit of the vehicle, required less space for parking, and allowed the door openings to be some six inches wider than usual.
The radically styled Mercury MC4 concept car sported "gull-wing" style truck lids that raised from just above either rear wheel well to allow easy access to stored items. Video-imaging cameras replaced conventional side and rearview mirrors. Side rear doors were hinged at the rear, eliminating the need for a center pillar. Cast 19-inch five-spoke wheels wrapped in Goodyear low-profile tires were pushed to the edge of the body. In theory, the MC4 would be powered by a V-8.
With its taught, upswept lines, the Alero 4-seat concept car from 1997, predicted the styling of the 1999 Alero production model, which replaced the Oldsmobile Achivea. Riding on 18-inch front, and 19-inch rear wheels, the prototype featured a two-piece glass roof, with electrically adjustable light transmissions.
Radical, was the common comment uttered by the crowds filing by the Pontiac Rageous concept vehicle, when it appeared at the 1997 Chicago Auto Show. The sleek 4-door hatchback was power by a 350 cubic-inch small block V-8 that pumped out 315 horses to the rear wheels through a 6-speed manual tranny. Interior could transport 4-passengers, or when rear seatbacks were folded flat, a fair amount of cargo. Exterior cues included the traditional split grille, ram air hood scoop, aerodynamic-shaped side-view mirrors and rear spoiler.
A profile of the Pontiac Rageous concept at the 1997 Chicago Auto Show, captures the radical styling of the four-door hatchback. The aggressive persona was backed by a 350 CID small block V-8 that produced a healthy 315 horsepower to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual transmission. Sophisticated interior could transport four-passengers, or when rear seatbacks were folded flat, a fair amount of cargo. Notable exterior cues included the traditional split grille, ram air hood scoop, aerodynamic-shaped side-view mirrors and rear spoiler.