The Chicago Auto Show, North America’s largest, kicked off on February 8 and will run through February 17. The show, in its 106th edition, has run since 1901, and is now housed at McCormick Place, 2301 South Lake Shore Drive.
Attendees will be able to kick tires, grab a seat, push buttons, throw shifters, and goggle over pistons and pushrods. In attendance will be over 40 brands. The usual players will be there in force, econo boxes, family sedans, SUVs, pickups, and muscle cars will fuel future decisions, while premium brands like Aston Martin, Bentley, Ferrari, McLaren, and Porsche will be supplying some swank. Then again, if the “premiums” seem a bit mundane, buyers could shell out a cool $1.5 million for a Bugatti Veyron.
There are some real exotic models on show too. Take the “gull winged” door Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT Final Edition. The 6.3-liter V8 cranks out an impressive 583-horsepower and with a production run of only 350, exclusivity is assured. Speaking of exclusivity, Rolls Royce is there with the fastest car it has ever built, a 624-horsepower twin-turbocharged V12. It can be ordered with a Starlight headliner, 1,340 fiber-optic points of light embedded in the ceiling fabric for those romantic starry night effects.
If attendees get tired of the production cars, even the exotic ones, there are always the fun concept cars to fall back on at the Chicago Auto Show. This year is no different, Kia has supplied the “Soul EV” and the “Niro.” Cadillac has the “Elmiraj,” and perhaps one of the most unusual concepts is something that does not even remotely resemble a car, the Toyota “FV2.” It is described as a future mobility concept. It comes sans steering wheel, instead the driver uses his or her body weight to intuitively move the vehicle.
The concepts are a fun nod to the future, but the show doesn’t allow the past to be forgotten either. Walking around the display floor one can find examples that harken back to a nostalgic era. At the Ford stand a couple of 2015 Mustangs can be seen cordoned off, beside them is the first Mustang sold in the United States. It belongs to Tom and Gail Wise, Gail bought it back in 64 for $3,447.50.
Tickets are non refundable. Prices are as follows; Adults are $12, Seniors (62 and up) and children (7 – 12) are $6 each. Weekday tickets can be purchased for $6 off full price adult tickets at participating locations. Women buying tickets on February 11, Women’s Day, will receive $6 off, and anyone taking food donations (canned) on February 12, 13, or 14, will receive $6 off.
The discount theme rolls over to the culinary section. For $30 a family of four can pick from a variety of menu options.
For those that can’t make it to Chicago, there is another option as well. The Chicago Auto Show website offers daily news updates and numerous multimedia tie-ins. Photos are available to view and videos and live stream webcams have been set up to get the armchair attendee closer to the action. The show runs from February 8 – 17.
By Scott Wilson