Gracing the cover of the 2003 show program was the new 2004 Pontiac Grand Prix that made its debut in Chicago. Along the left side of the cover, a filmstrip featured the different generations of the Grand Prix brand, since the original 1962 limited production model. A new nameplate appearing at the 95th Chicago Auto Show was the revival of the historic Maybach. The 1,000 horsepower V-16 Cadillac Sixteen concept car is on display, as is the 500 hp V-10 Dodge Tomahawk "what if" four-wheeled motorcycle. On the right, a worker cleans the monolith signage near the escalator entrances into the upper level of McCormick Place North and South buildings.
A 2003 Volkswagen New Beetle convertible, painted in Mellow Yellow, is still under wraps, while workers put the finishing touches on a circular platform display. Replacing the 1980-2002 Cabrio model, the avant-garde New Beetle ragtop had a manual folding top on the GL model, and a power roof on the GLS and later GLX. Both tops included a heated glass rear window. Rollover bars deployed if the New Beetle convertible sensors detected a tipping situation. Various versions of the inline four-cylinder engine were available, with a choice of both five-and six-speed manual and automatic transmissions.
Dodge unleashed 150 mph Viper-powered 2004 Dodge Ram SRT-10 at the 2003 Chicago Auto Show. Chrysler Group Executive Vice President Jim Schroer unveiled the production-version of the truck during the world debut of the ‘4x5.” The giant ‘4’ represented the 4x4 capability of the truck and the ‘5’ was for 500 horsepower. The Viper's 8.3-liter V-10 comes connect to a special version of the Viper SRT-10's Tremec six-speed manual transmission and Hurst shift linkage. The Ram SRT-10 wore 22-inch custom Viper Style' wheels and Pirelli Scorpion tires. Color choices were limited to red, black, or silver.
Subaru of America, Inc. Executive Vice President Fred Adcock spoke to the media on February 12, introducing the new Forester 2.5 XT. The 2.5 XT is a high performance version of the popular Forester sport-utility vehicle. Up front, is a functional hood scoop for the 210-horsepower turbocharged and intercooled 2.5 liter horizontally opposed engine. As with all Subaru models, the Forester 2.5 XT comes equipped exclusively with standard full-time all-wheel drive. Other unique features on the 2.5XT model includes body-color side cladding, standard roof rails, chrome tailpipe, six-spoke, 16-inch alloy wheels and raised black letter tires.
Porsche Media Relations Manager Martin Peters discussed Porsche Cayenne Crossing Initiative during a media presentation. This multi-year program, launched at the Chicago show, was to improve wilderness trails. Behind Peters, was the 2004 Cayenne Turbo sport-utility vehicle. Under the hood of the Turbo SUV resided a 450 horsepower turbocharged V-8, connected to a six-speed automatic transmission. Porsche stated that this luxury four-door wagon could do 0-to-60 in about 5.5 seconds. Other features included front and rear obstacle-detection system, navigation system, upgraded leather interior, and load-leveling active suspension.
Introduced for the first time at the 2003 Chicago Auto Show, was the new front wheel drive 2004 Mercury Monterey minivan. Monterey was based on the new Ford Freestar (formerly Windstar) platform, offered in Convenience, Luxury, and Premier trim levels. All Monterey models came equipped with the 201 horsepower 4.2 liter V-6 engine and four-speed automatic transmission. Monterey featured a third-row stowable bench seat, which provided seven-passenger capacity.
Moments after it was shown to the media during the 2003 show, members of the press inspected the new 2004 Suzuki Forenza four-door sedan. Designed by Pininfarina and assembled by GM Daewoo Automotive Technologies in South Korea, the Suzuki Forenza came with a 119 horsepower 2.0 liter four-cylinder, mated to either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. Other standard equipment included four-wheel disc brakes; 15-inch wheels, air conditioning; power windows, locks and mirrors and a CD player with steering wheel-mounted stereo controls.
On stage during the 2003 Chicago Auto Show media days, was the 2004 Toyota Tundra Double Cab pickup truck, along with an example of the Tundra NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series racer. Built by Toyota Racing Development (TRD) to debut at the 2004 Daytona International Speedway, the NASCAR Tundra was custom fitted with a pushrod, carbureted 358 CID V-8 that produced 650 horsepower. The production Tundra Double Cab featured two front-hinged rear doors, a long truck bed, 60/40 split-fold-and-tumble rear seats and a vertical power-sliding rear window. The five-passenger Tundra was built at the Toyota Motor Manufacturing plant in Indiana.
As a limited edition two-seat convertible, one of the few places people would have seen a BMW Z8 was at the auto show. Standard features on the $130,000 car included a removable hardtop, a power soft top, side airbags, 18-inch wheels and run-flat tires. Borrowing the 4.9-liter V-8 from the M5 sedan, the Z8 had 394 horsepower and from a standstill, could reach 60 miles an hour in 4.5 seconds. Low volume and high demand meant that the selling price of the Z8 was even higher than sticker.
The 2004 Endeavor SUV was the first product designed and manufactured in North America by Mitsubishi. Built at the company's facility in Normal, Ill., the Endeavor fit between the Montero and Montero Sport SUV. The bold styling of the unibody five -passenger Endeavor, especially the large wheel arch details, was first seen on the Mitsubishi SSU concept that appeared at the 1999 Chicago Auto Show. Endeavor came in LS, XLS, and Limited trim, either front or all-wheel drive and fitted with 17-inch cast-aluminum wheels and all-season tires. When the 60/40-split, backseat folded down there was a maximum of 76.4 cubic feet of storage space. Performance was provided by a 215 horsepower 3.8 liter V-6, connected to a four-speed-automatic transmission with Sportronic clutchless-manual mode.
One of the most popular supercar at the 2003 show was the bright yellow Ferrari Enzo. Named in honor of Enzo Ferrari and loaded with F1 technology, a mere 400 units were planned for production. Pininfarina designed the sleek carbon fiber and aluminum honeycomb body and monocoque chassis. Located in the rear, the all-aluminum 6.0 liter 48-valve V-12 created an amazing 650 horsepower and 485 lb-ft of torque. Ferrari stated that the rear wheel drive Enzo would need only 3.5 seconds from 0-to-60 mph, and the car could reach 216 mph top speed. Leather-wrapped interior featured carbon-fiber seats, drilled aluminum pedals, and a six-speed manual with automatic clutch and shifting. Located on the steering-column were shift paddles. Custom single-bolt 19-inch alloy wheels came wrapped in Bridgestone Z-rated tires. Besides yellow, red was the only other color offered. During the show, there was much discussion about the projected price of $650,000 for the Enzo.
A new nameplate appearing at the 2003 Chicago Auto Show was the revival of the historic Maybach. Built by Mercedes-Benz, this super-luxury sedan was available in two body lengths, 19.1-feet and 20.5-feet. A 5.5 litre V-12, with twin turbochargers, and 550 horses moved the large and heavy Maybach from zero-to-60 mph in just over five-seconds. Rear passengers could enjoy airline-type rear seats with foot supports, dual flat-screen monitors and silver wine goblets with engraved Maybach logos. During the show, a Maybach representative stated that the company planned on building about 1,000 units a year to compete in the rarified $330,000 price range, along with supercars like BMW's Rolls-Royce and Volkswagen's Bentley. Back in 1901, Wilhelm Maybach helped to co-design the first Mercedes with Gottlieb Daimler, and from 1921 to 1941, a mere 1,800 Maybach automobiles were produced.
IInfiniti’s FX crossover SUV came in two models for 2003, both with low-slung bodies and enormous wheels. The FX35 was powered by the 3.5 liter V-6 from the Nissan 350Z, and the FX45 came with the 4.5 liter V-8 from the Q45 luxury sedan. Both versions carried five adults in luxury, and came standard with a five-speed automatic transmission, traction control, stability control, high-intensity discharge headlights and dual-zone climate control.
Along with a coupe, Mustang also offered a convertible for its 2003 lineup. The power ragtop featured a scratch-resistant glass rear window. Protecting the folded roof was a black semi-hard boot. Engines ranged from the standard 190 horsepower, 3.8 litre V-6, up to the SVT V-8 models that develops 390 horses. Two special-edition Mustangs were available, the Mach 1, and the Mustang Pony with GT body features in an affordable V6 model. On display in this image is the '03 Mustang SVT Cobra convertible.
Ford presented the second-generation Expedition full-size sport utility vehicle for 2004 during the 2003 Chicago show. America's best-selling SUV held nine-passengers when equipped with third roll seating and front bench combination. Built on a separate body-on-frame truck chassis, Expedition was the first big SUV with all independent suspension, power folding third seat and side curtain airbags that also deployed in a rollover situation. Featuring On-Demand four-wheel drive, the Expedition was powered by either a 4.6 liter or 5.4L V-8 engine, linked to a four-speed automatic transmission.
In homage to the 16-cylinder cars of 1930s, General Motors presented the glamorous rear-drive Cadillac Sixteen concept car. This luxurious four-door hardtop incorporated an all-glass roof, without B-pillars, and power-operated dual hood panels that were hinged about a center spine that ran the length of the expansive hood. Underneath that aluminum hood, resting in the sculpted engine bay, was the V-16. With a displacement of 13.6 liters, the power plant produced 1000 horses and 1000 lbs.-ft. of torque. Large wheel arches were designed to accommodate the 24-inch polished aluminum wheels. Premium materials filled the push interior, blending Tuscany leather, fine woods, precision-cut metals and crystal, plus a dashboard center-mounted Bvlgari clock.
While it was understood that the Chevy Cheyenne would not be going into production itself, the bold truck featured design cues that GM planned for near- future product. That included the wheels-to-the-corner layout, innovative two-position tailgate and side access panels. The Cheyenne came equipped with a 6.0-liter version of the Vortec V-8 that pumped out 500 horsepower and 580 lb.-ft of torque.
Chicago audiences had the opportunity to view the handsome Chevrolet SS (Super Sport) concept car. Painted Victory Red, the sporty high-performance 4-door family sedan had rear-wheel drive, and an all-aluminum 430 horsepower 6.0-liter V-8. It also was equipped with high-performance suspension and six-piston brakes. The fastback body had a short front overhang, but wide, muscular fenders with side gills. Powerful wheel arches housed 21-inch front and 22-inch rear aluminum wheels wearing BF Goodrich performance tires. A stainless steel panel surrounded traditional round taillights, and popping through the lower rear fascia were dual exhaust pipes. Built to seat five, the off-white leather interior was mixed with a woven, hounds-tooth check material, reminiscent of past Chevy SS cars.
Chrysler Group displayed the Dodge Kahuna concept during the 2003 Chicago Auto Show to illustrate that a vehicle could be functional like a minivan, but cool enough to meet many needs without bowing to convention. Seating six-passengers, the Kahuna's exterior had short front and rear overhangs, and was finished in Point Break Blue, with composite bird's eye maple laminate accents along the side panels. A fully retractable water resistant see-through fabric roof was silver/gray, and the frameless windows dropped completely into the body. The prototype came equipped with a 2.4 liter turbocharged, 215 horsepower four-cylinder engine and four-speed automatic transmission driving the front wheels. Dodge Kahuna rolled on 22-inch wheels, with an outer dimension of 32-inches.
Dodge Tomahawk four-wheel, single passenger vehicle was one of the most talk-about concept at the show. With a 500 horsepower Viper V-10 between your legs, the rear wheel drive Tomahawk reached 60 miles per hour in a mere 2.5 seconds and offered a potential top speed of 300 miles + mph.
The Ford Freestyle FX concept was a thinly veiled version of the crossover wagon coming as a 2005 production vehicle, and to be built in Chicago. Freestyle FX boasted a 3.0-liter V-6 engine. The concept featured a special roofline similar to that on the GMC Envoy XL. At the push of a button the rear greenhouse automatically converted from a fully enclosed 6-passenger sportwagon to a 4-passenger utility vehicle capable of transporting cargo.
Ford Motor Co. indicated that the Model U took up the heritage from the Model T and reinterpreted it for the 21st century. The Model U offered SUV driving excitement that would be affordable, and could grow with a customer's lifestyle and aspirations. Powered by the world's first supercharged hydrogen internal combustion engine, the 2.3-liter, 4-cylinder was also equipped with a hybrid electric transmission. Model U's unique 3-box profile exterior had a glossy appearance, with doors that were matte and grooved for style and structural integrity. A power hood opened from the windshield toward the front of the SUV. Overhead, a power-retractable canvas soft top opened rearward and the rear window folded into the deck lid, which then folded back and down into the floor.
Ford’s pony car concept from 2003 was displayed in two-seater fastback and convertible body styles. The Mustang prototypes reflected styling that was used on the all-new production version due later in the year. Hood scoops and side air intakes were featured, and both the front and rear showed a strong family resemblance to that of the first-generation Mustang. The coupe had a curvy roofline that arched low behind the seats, and the convertible used a roll bar just past the seatbacks. Both versions rode on 20-inch aluminum wheels, and came fitted with the supercharged 4.6-liter modular V-8 with 400 horsepower.
The Honda Studio E concept vehicle, a panel-side version of the all-new Honda Element, transforms the outdoors-minded Element into the ultimate mobile entertainment platform geared more for city nightlife and street performance. Inside, Studio E features front bench seating and two rear pod seats that flip down from the sides, yet store in a minimum amount of space when not in use. Tuned to be quick and agile, the modified 2.4 liter four-cylinder engine delivers 190 horsepower for excellent acceleration.
Infiniti's luxurious Triant sports coupe concept vehicle featured a setback 2+2 cabin, electrically operated gullwing doors, sharply sloped windshield, broad shoulders, a hatchback, and oversize wheelwells stuffed with 19-inch chromed aluminum-alloy wheels and aggressive low-profile tires. High-tech headlights could swing up to 30 degrees to aid during cornering. At the heart of the Triant was a compact yet powerful 3.5-liter DOHC 24-valve V-6 engine, mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission.
For the 2003 auto show circuit, the rejuvenated Lincoln-Mercury design studios created the Navicross concept vehicle. It had a similar size and shape to that of a sport sedan combined with a sport wagon and the ground clearance and breakover angles of a sport utility vehicle. The interlocking doors were constructed to take the place of the conventional B-pillar without compromising the structural integrity of the body. Under the hood was a supercharged 32-valve 4.2 liter aluminum V-8 mated to a five-speed automatic transmission that powered a full-time all-wheel-drive system with adaptive traction control. Navicross was a stepping-stone for the creation and introduction of the ‘07 Lincoln MKX.
Mercury surprised the auto world when it introduced the racy two-passenger Messenger sports coupe concept car. It's teardrop shaped roofline and greenhouse, blended well with the long sculpted hood and short tail. Providing wings' to the Messenger was an all-aluminum 4.6 liter modular V-8 mated to a six-speed sequential gearbox. Up front were 19 inches wheels with larger 20 in. at the rear. Clean interior design featured seats mounted to the center tunnel.
Placed near the east end wall of McCormick Place was the Mitsubishi Tarmac Spyder concept car. Targeted toward tech-savvy Generation Y, the Tarmac Spyder's distinctive front visage showcased a raised triangular base embellished by a prominent 3-diamond Mitsubishi logo. Packaged within the compact dimensions normal to a hi-performance sports car, the 4-passenger Tarmac Spyder had an easily detachable hardtop roof, sliding doors, and 17-inch wheels. With full-time 4WD, the powertrain used the 4G63-type 2.0-liter in-line 4-cylinder 16-valve DOHC engine mated to Mitsubishi’s Sportronic Sequential Shift 5-speed automatic tranny.
Avanti introduced its Studebaker sport utility prototype at the 2003 Chicago Auto Show. The vehicle ruffled the feathers of General Motors, which not only was selling the look-alike Hummer SUV at the time, but displaying it only a few feet from the Avanti display.