Visitors flocked to see the exciting Mercedes-Benz C-111 sport coupe during the 1978 Chicago Auto Show. The experimental car was equipped with a turbocharged five-cylinder diesel engine, and set three world records, averaging 156.5 mph for 10,000 miles. Additionally that year, Oldsmobile offered its Starfire Firenza, Holiday 88 coupe and sport-painted Cutlass Supreme. Buick showed a 75th anniversary Riviera, and Chrysler introduced its subcompact front-drive Dodge Omni/Plymouth Horizon. Dodge used a pair of space-suited presenters from the imaginary planet "Omni" to promote the car. On the right is a close-up view inside the Chrysler-Plymouth exhibit, featuring a costumed person, dressed as a 12-foot-tall fuzzy creature, who brought smiles to the crowd standing in front of the raised platform.
Long lines wait indoors on the lower level lobby of McCormick Place East to purchase their auto show tickets. Note the man in vertical stripped shirt, back to camera, selling the official 1978 show program.
Chicago Mayor Michael Bilandic is shown cutting a ribbon that officially opened the 70th Annual Chicago Auto Show to the public. He is standing with members of the CATA Executive Show Committee. Left to right in front row are: CATA executive vice-president and general show manager Ross E. Kelsey; CATA president William J. Sullivan; Mayor Bilandic; CATA director Joseph J. Hennessy; CATA vice-president David Rick; unidentified young lady; and CATA director Jack Haggerty.
At left in this photo taken inside the Ford exhibit on the main floor is auto show manager and CATA executive vice-president Ross E. Kelsey, holding a Chicago Tribune Auto Show Sweepstakes ticket. He and director Joseph J. Hennessy (right) are standing in front of a new Thunderbird with the Sweepstakes entry boxes sitting on its hood.
The American Motors Corporation exhibit on the main floor, featured a light blue Gremlin with the optional "X" package in the foreground. The car also featured lower body striping and a roof cargo rack. Sitting on the raised platform is a yellow Gremlin with the GT option, including fiberglass body components and special striping. Across the aisle, mid-photo right side, is a Volkswagen Campmobile with the optional screened lift-up top.
Dominating this scene inside the Buick's main-floor exhibit space was the display of a Century "aeroback" 4-door sedan, with cutaway sections that expose its interior panels, engine bay, and overall construction.
In the foreground of this scene at the Pontiac exhibit on the main floor is a side view of a Bonneville Brougham 4-door sedan. Directly behind, on a raised circular platform, is a side view of a Firebird Trans Am with the gold Special Edition decor. Sitting on the right side platform is a 3/4 front view of a two-tone Grand Prix with custom deep-dish wire wheels.
A space man from the planet ‘Omni’ entertained in the Dodge exhibit at the 1978 Chicago show answering questions about the new subcompact model. The Omni was the kissing cousin to the Plymouth Horizon and both were America’s new front-drive subcompacts. Show admission was $2 dollars for adults and $1 dollar for children.
Close-up view was taken inside the Dodge exhibit on the upper level of McCormick Place East. On the circular platform, a group of people are posing along with a female presenter, and in a space suit, the visitor from the planet "Omni."
In the foreground of Ford's upper level exhibit space is a 3/4 front view of a subcompact Pinto 2-door hatchback. More interesting is the concept car directly behind, on the raised platform. It is a Ghia-built Corrida 2-door hatchback.
In the foreground of the Ford exhibit on the upper level is a 3/4 front view of a Mustang 2-door coupe. To the left is a 3/4 front view of a Mustang Cobra II 2-door fastback. On the raised circular platform is a side view of the Ghia-built Corrida 2-door hatchback concept car.
A close-up view inside the 1978 Lincoln-Mercury exhibit featured animal trainers Pat Derby and Ed Stewart along with Christopher the Cougar, who entertained the audience. Note the sign in the background, which identifies sports celebrities Julius Boros, Peggy Fleming, Frank Gifford, and Gordie Howe, scheduled to appear in the display during that year’s Chicago Auto Show.
In the foreground of this scene at the Buick exhibit on the lower level is a side view of a Century Sports Coupe with doors open, sitting on a raised circular platform. On the left is Buick's Isuzu-built Opel import.
A red TR7 coupe sits in the foreground of the British Leyland Triumph exhibit, located on the main floor. Directly behind are two other Triumph TR7 models, positioned on slanted platforms to accentuate the wedge-design of the sports car. Mid-photo at far right is a side view of a SCCA Pro Rally TR7 race car.
Within the Lotus exhibit located on the lower level, inside a fenced-off area, are three Lotus models, one floor sign, a desk and chair. In the foreground is a high 3/4-front view of a yellow Elite Series 1. On the right is a 3/4 rear view of another Elite Series 1. At the rear of the booth is a 3/4-rear view of an Esprit S1 mid-engine coupe, partially blocked by a floor display.
Inside the Mercedes-Benz exhibit, is a rear view of a 450SLC 2-door sports coupe. Directly across is a front view of a 450SL convertible coupe.
Inside the Renault exhibit on the lower level, was an example of the specially prepared LeCar IMSA racing car. It was featured on a raised platform that seem to flow from the graphic roadway illustrated on the back display panel. A production LeCar with optional jumbo sunroof can be seen on the left side of the images.
Inside the Renault exhibit is a side view of the Cordini, with the jumbo sunroof option. Several LeCar models fill the background, including one with the optional lockable roof rack. The LeCar in the center has the jumbo sunroof option. Shown on the right is one of the specially prepared IMSA LeCar racecar.
Close-up view inside the Saab exhibit on the lower level, features a high 3/4 front view of a 99GL 2-door sedan. On the roof of the car is a small sign stating "1978 Saab as low as $5998." On the left, is a Saab Turbo engine, displayed on a raised stand. Directly behind is a side view of the 99 GL 3-door hatchback. Several other models can be glimpsed in the background.
On a raised platform inside the colorful Subaru exhibit was a Brat 4-wheel drive car. The Brat came with an open back, a tailgate, roll bars, and "fresh-air" bucket seats. Another Brat can be glimpsed on the opposite side of the platform.
In the foreground of the Toyota exhibit is a 3/4 rear view of the CAL-1, a prototype Celica, with unique design elements. On the right is a 3/4 front view of the Corolla SR-5 Liftback. Mid-photo, on the raised circular platform is a side view of the redesigned Celica GT Liftback.
Inside the AMC Jeep exhibit on the lower level, various truck-based models can be glimpsed around the display. In the foreground is a side view of the J-10 optional Honcho pickup, with roll bar, road lamps and body striping. Directly behind are two Wagoneer 4-door wagons.
A gold and a silver Avanti II coupes were displayed inside their roped-off booth on the lower level of McCormick Place East. The Avanti II in the front had the optional electronic sunroof, and genuine wire wheels. This limited production car was assembled in South Bend, Indiana, and used General Motors drive trains.
A single 2-seat roadster fills this scene inside of the Clenet replicar exhibit on the lower level.
No people are in this scene outside the Sebring exhibit, located on the lower level. On the left and in the center are turbo-powered kit cars, with pop-up roof/doors and a price of $3,595. On the far right is a convertible kit car for $2,995.
AMC added luxury touches to its Pacer compact, and created the "Crown Pacer" show car. Painted in a rich pearlescent white paint, the body was accented in gold, and the roof finished in white padded vinyl. A clean, full-width grille was split in the middle, and hid the headlights. The brightly lit cabin came upholstered in white leather, including seats, armrests, door panels, and steering wheel cover.
Chevrolet designers created the "Black Sterling" show car as a special, one-of-a-kind rendition of the new midsize Malibu. Modifications included front air dam, rear spoiler, and two-tone black and metallic silver paint treatment.
In 1976 Ford debut the multi-functional Prima concept in Europe, then exhibited it in the United States during the 1978 Chicago show. Designed by Ghia of Turin, Italy, the Prima was actually four vehicles in one. Tops interchanged to convert it from 2+2 fastback, 2-seat coupe, pickup truck or wagon.
Pontiac unveils the prototype Trans Am Type K that turned the Firebird sports coupe into a van/wagon, with seating for two up front and for four in back. The lift up side glass panels exposed the people/cargo hold. Although loved by show crowds and journalists, the “crossover” never gets production approval.
Debuting at the 1977 Tokyo Motor Show, the Toyota "CAL-1" concept was then shipped to the United States and displayed during the 1978 Chicago Auto Show. Created at Calty, Toyota’s California design studio, the CAL-1 featured a unique rear deck that opened into a pair of jump seats, as well as a portioned that unlocked for cargo storage. The rear window could be removed and the display vehicle was right-hand drive.