Chrysler took the lead in reviving convertibles, issuing an open Chrysler LeBaron at mid-season, followed by a similar Dodge 400. Visitors to the 1982 Chicago Auto Show had an opportunity to look over both ragtops, though the Dodge was not yet in production. An inaugural glimpse was also had of the Oldsmobile subcompact Firenza. Chevrolet redesigned the Camaro for 1982, while Pontiac undertook comparable action with its Firebird. The new Camaro was nearly 10 inches shorter and 500 pounds lighter, with an all-coil suspension, and for the first time, a standard four-cylinder engine. On the right, Chicago Mayor Jane M. Byrne and Illinois Secretary of State Jim Edgar share ribbon-cutting duties to open the 74th edition of the 'windy city' extravaganza.
A photo captures one of the aisles on the lower level of McCormick Place East just hours before the opening of the 1982 Chicago Auto Show. Brands featured on this level included AMC Jeep, French-built Peugeot, Swedish Saab and Italian Alfa Romeo. At the far end of this aisle were restaurants.
Aerodynamically restyled for 1982, a red Pontiac Firebird Trans Am coupe sits on a raised platform in the Pontiac exhibit space, on the upper level of McCormick Place. Four Firebird models were available, each with its own suspension/tire combination. Trans Ams got a standard 305 cid V-8 engine, with crossfire fuel injection available. Several other Pontiacs may be seen toward the rear, including a compact Phoenix SJ at right, equipped with a standard high-output 173 cid V-6 engine.
A white 1982 Pontiac Grand Prix coupe with its T-roof panels removed sits on a raised platform at Pontiac's exhibit space, on the upper level of McCormick Place. The rear-drive Pontiac Grand Prix was restyled a year earlier, so received mild changes for '82, and offered in base, LJ, and Brougham trim levels, with a choice of two V-6 engines or a diesel V-8. The blue coupe on the left is a Pontiac Grand Prix Brougham.
A mid-sized Imperial luxury coupe dominates the foreground of this scene at the Chrysler-Plymouth display space, but Imperials failed to score high in sales. Now stickering for $20,988, the Imperial was loaded with standard equipment. The 318 cid V-8, with electronic fuel injection, produced 140 horsepower. Only 2,329 Imperials were built for that model year, including 279 with a Frank Sinatra model finished in Glacier Blue Crystal exterior paint color. Note the concealed headlights.
At Ford's display space, a red Escort hatchback sedan has been mounted above a huge mirror to give viewers a close look at the underside. Wheels and the driver's side door have been removed, and holes in the hood permit a peek at the powerplant. Labels on the car body point out special features. The hatchback sedan was new for 1982.
Both T-roof panels have been removed from this white 1982 Mercury Cougar hatchback coupe on display during the 74th edition of the Chicago Auto Show. A sign advises that the Cougar 'pony car' contains a high-output 302 cid V-8 engine. Note the 5.0 designation on the front fender, which indicated the engine size in liters. The 302 engine returned after a two-year absence, during which time the biggest engine was 255 cid (4.2L) V-8..
Chevrolet redesigned the Camaro for 1982, while Pontiac undertook comparable action with its Firebird. The new Camaro was nearly 10 inches shorter and 500 pounds lighter, with an all-coil suspension - and for the first time, a standard four-cylinder engine. The compound-curved backlight served as a hatch.
A 1982 Chevrolet Corvette Collector Edition coupe with the T-roof panels removed is in the foreground of the 'bow tie' exhibit on the upper level of McCormick Place. Corvette's new 350 cid V-8 engine had Cross-Fire fuel injection and produced 200 horsepower. Other Chevrolet models can be seen toward the rear, including a Monte Carlo sport coupe in the center of the photo.
Two complete DeLorean sports cars and one exposed chassis filled the small exhibit space for the DeLorean Motor Corp., located on the lower level of McCormick Place during the 1982 Chicago Auto Show. Introduced six months earlier, the car was the creation of former General Motors executive John Z. DeLorean and manufactured in Ireland. The body of the gullwing two-door coupe was constructed of reinforced plastic with stainless steel cladding and powered by a Renault-sourced V-6 engine. Three years later, the car appeared in the ‘Back to the Future’ movie, modified into a time machine.
New for 1982, a front-drive LeBaron coupe sits in the foreground of this scene at the Chrysler-Plymouth display space. LeBarons sedans also were available, joined by a convertible during the 1982 model year. A white LeBaron coupe is at the left of this scene. At right, on a raised platform, is Chrysler's Stealth concept car, packing a turbocharged 2.2-liter engine.
Note the "flying buttress" rear panels on this red Merak sport coupe, shown at the Maserati display space on the lower level. At right is a Quattroporte 4-door sedan, also marketed by the exotic Italian automaker.
Only one car, a red Spider 2000 sports car, is visible in this scene at the Fiat exhibit space on the main floor. A huge round "Fiat" sign dominates the photo. At right rear is the Lancia display area, which was related to Fiat in Italy. "Motor cars in the great European tradition," promises a sign at the information booth.
Datsun's sports car, the 280ZX coupe, sits in the foreground of this scene at the Japanese automaker's display space on the main floor. Both Datsun and Nissan names were used this year. Note the "Nissan" sign in this photo, above a 200SX sport hatchback coupe on a raised platform. Other Datsun/Nissan models are visible, including a white 310 sedan at right.
A red Celica ST sport coupe is sitting on a slightly angled platform at Toyota's display space. Celicas used a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, while the similar Celica Supra carried a twin-cam six-cylinder engine.
Ferrari exhibited three cars at the 1982 Chicago Auto Show. In the foreground of the Italian automaker's closed-in, main-floor exhibit space is a red 308 GTS Targa coupe, powered by a V-8 engine.
Facing away from the camera on a raised platform, a 300D sedan with a turbodiesel five-cylinder engine is in the foreground of this scene at the Mercedes-Benz display space on the main floor. Three other models may be seen, included a 380SEL sedan and a 380SL roadster (at right).
The signature "Jules" is written all over the body of this racing Porsche, displayed at the Porsche-Audi exhibit space on the main floor. A portion of a Porsche 924 can be seen at left rear. American Motors vehicles are visible at right rear.
A silver-colored Fuego coupe sits on a raised platform in this scene at the exhibit space for the French-made Renaults. Joining the Renault lineup in mid-season, the new coupe got a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and sold for $8,495. "Where great engineering lives in great design," say a pair of signs above the car.
Dodge launched a different sort of pickup truck for 1982, with front-wheel drive rather than the usual rear-drive. Front-end styling was shared with the subcompact Dodge Charger sport coupe. This red example at Dodge's lower-level display space sits on a raised round platform. Rampage pickups held a 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine, rated at 84 horsepower.
Either a four- or six-cylinder engine might be installed in the Jeep Scrambler, a pickup-truck rendition of the familiar CJ series. Scramblers adopted wider front and rear tread width this year. "We wrote the book on four-wheel drive," say signs at the Jeep display space on the lower level of McCormick Place. Note the fabric "door" and top on this Jeep.
Sitting on a raised platform at the exhibit space for Volkswagens is the new Quantum, which replaced the prior Dasher. Quantums came in three body styles, including the coupe pictured here, with a 1.7-liter engine. In the left foreground is a Volkswagen pickup truck. An overhead sign refers to Quantum as "how VW sees tomorrow's car."
Two pickups dominate this scene at Volkswagen's lower-level display space for trucks. A dark-hued pickup is in the foreground, ahead of a beige model. VW mini-pickups had front-wheel drive. Note the large Ryder rental truck across the aisle.
Ford launched the compact Ranger pickup early in 1982, as an '83 model. This brown example, seen at the 1982 Chicago Auto Show, has its engine exposed. Engine choices included four-cylinder gasoline, four-cylinder diesel, or a 2.8-liter V-6.
Starting with a conventional Cadillac Eldorado, this custom-built edition was given what was once referred to as a semi-convertible roof. Fabric covers the back seat, but the driver's compartment is unprotected. This was one of several example of the coach builder's art seen at the 1982 Chicago Auto Show.
Pictured at the Mazda display space on the main floor of McCormick Place, this white/blue Mazda RX-7 was the IMSA GTO winner at the 24 Hours of Daytona race, in January 1982. Glimpses of Mazda and Fiat production models can be seen toward the rear.
A wedge-profiled Tasmin 280i convertible is the featured attraction at the display booth for TVR, a British sports-car producer. Examples sold in the U.S. were equipped with a German Ford 2.8-liter V-6 engine.
Not intended to duplicate any particular prewar automobile, the neo-classic Clenet was produced at Clenet Coachworks in Santa Barbara, California. Two examples are shown here, on the lower level of McCormick Place. The Clenet first went on sale in 1976, on a Continental Mark V chassis. Clenet switched to unibody construction in 1982, with a $75,000 sticker price. Loeber Motors in Chicago offered Clenets for sale.
Twin Thunderbirds highlight this scene at the antique/classic display space on the lower level. Ford introduce the two-seat "boulevard" sports car in 1955, with an externally-mounted spare tire. The sedan at left is a circa-1949 Frazer.
Competition vehicles of various types are in this scene at the race-car exhibit sponsored by the Chicago region of the Sports Car Club of America.
More than half a dozen Italian-built motor scooters are on display at the exhibit space for Vespa. The scooters were distributed in the Chicago area by G.B. Enterprises. Considered more stylish than the competition from Cushman, Vespa scooters had attained a following during the 1950s. Now, they were poised for a comeback, exhibiting at the Chicago Auto Show.
The iconic kidney-shaped grille helps reveals that this wild tri-color Procar racer is a sensuous BMW M1. Those three colors became to identify the BMW M-series of production cars.
The Stealth front-wheel drive concept car was a sneak peek at Chrysler's long talked about sports car planned for late 1983, early 1984. Based on the Plymouth TC3 L-body platform, the power was supplied by an experimental turbocharged 2.2-liter four-cylinder teamed with a prototype five-speed manual. Notable styling touches included flush window glass, push-out side windows and retractable headlights.
Prepared to serve on the CART racing circuit, was this PPG pace car, seen in the Dodge exhibit. This sleek vehicle was based on a modified 024 fastback with custom gull-wing-type doors, and a 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine. Original plans called for the PPG car to be outfitted with the turbocharged 2.2-liter, but system was not ready in time.
An unusal rearview of the PPG Dodge Indy Car World Series Pace Car is captured with driver gullwing door in open position, The high-performance front-wheel drive compact was a star attraction in the 1982 Dodge exhibit at the Chicago Auto Show. Note the raised rear spoiler and the tapered back end of the aerodynamically-shaped coupe. Several production Dodge model are partially visible toward the rear.
AFV stood for Alternative Fuel Vehicle, and this Ford prototype could run on natural gas, methane, ethanol or LPG. The power plant was a highly modified engine from the European Ford Escort 1600, and engineers envisioned that the AFV could be refueled at home via a small compressor.
Ford exhibited a pair of concept vehicles at the Chicago Auto Show, to provide "a look into the future." At right on the raised display platform is the aerodynamic Ford Cockpit, unlike any Ford product that was ever sold. At left is the experimental AFV (Alternative Fuel Vehicle), designed to run on either methane or natural gas.
Displayed at the 1982 show, the Ghia Cockpit three-wheeler was a mileage champ, offering fuel economy of better than 75 miles per gallon. The bubble canopy recalled the styling of a fighter jet, but the 200cc, 12 horsepower engine provided less-than stellar acceleration and top speed. Built as an urban commuter special featuring a sophisticated hydraulic suspension and lightened by the extensive use of plastic, including the entire canopy structure.
The Continental Concept 90 five-passenger coupe was displayed in the Lincoln Mercury exhibit to test public acceptance of its sleek rounded body that formed a subtle wedge shape. Based on development models, the Continental Concept 90 was rated as having better aerodynamic efficiency than any luxury car built in the United States.