Retro Show: Live At The 1983 Chicago Auto Show

It seems that I’ve been neglecting the Retro Show posts. I have all of these excellent photos from my buddy Jim Smith from various and sundry Chicago Auto Shows from 1973 through 1991. Jim himself has attended every Chicago Auto Show from 1968 to 2019. But you know how it goes. I get distracted by bright, Broughamy objects and forget. Sorry folks! The last Retro Show post, only the third one ever, was published back in May of 2018. Well, it’s time to correct that right now.

Cadillac Eldorado

So let’s go back to 1983 today, when trucks were trucks, Broughams were Broughams, all BMWs were truly the Ultimate Driving Machine instead of the Ultimate Leasing Unit To Slurp Macchiatos In, and families bought station wagons instead of crossovers! Let’s take a look.

Ford LTD Crown Victoria Country Squire

Now, you know I can spin a spiel about old cars, especially those with domestic-luxury characteristics-chrome, woodgrained trim, wire wheel covers and the like. But let’s make this post a virtual tour. Pretend you just waltzed into the 1983 Chicago Auto Show, back when it was held at the old McCormick Place on the lake side of Lake Shore Drive. Just see the sights and enjoy the photos!

Mercury Lynx wagon and Mercury Grand Marquis Colony Park

1983 Oldsmobiles

Ford LTD Crown Victoria

Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser

Lincoln Town Car limousine

Ford Thunderbird

Cadillac Cimarron d’Oro

Lincoln Continental

Dodge Mirada

Chrysler New Yorker

Cadillac Seville Elegante

Mercury Colony Park

Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Regency Brougham

Dodge 400 convertible

Mercury Grand Marquis

Lincoln Mark VII-based concept-and two lovely ladies

Pontiac Firebird

Pontiac Sunbird convertible with a friend

See you next year!

7 Replies to “Retro Show: Live At The 1983 Chicago Auto Show”

  1. ArBee

    Oh, those Aero Thunderbirds! I came within inches of buying one in silver blue in 1984. In the end I dithered and let it slip away. Ultimately I purchased a new Mustang, which I loved and kept for years, but it just didn’t scratch that broughamy itch. I still regret not throwing caution to the winds and getting the ‘Bird. To soothe my regret, perhaps I should track down an ’80s Panther in good shape, with turbine wheel covers of course. My brother and my father both had Crown Vics in those years, and they were beautiful, comfortable highway cruisers.

    I wouldn’t say no to that Olds Ninety-Eight Regency, either.

  2. -Nate

    ? Do they clone one woman or use mirrors or what ? .

    They all look alike .

    I was thinking about your love of Broughams the other day, when i was first up fixing my 1980 Cadillac Fleetwood S &S Victoria Hearse I’d go to the pick a part yards and find many perfect 1970’s grandpa cars sitting there with nice cloth seats, shiny paint and so on, i bought the original basket hub caps for $7 each and even got a set of matching anti – theft screws and the special wrench, up graded radio, lots of little bits and bobs here and there, it seemed such a waste that those near prefect cars were pretty much unsellable .


  3. sgeffe

    Time was, the Olds Cutlass was the best selling car in America!

    Now, Oldsmobile isn’t even around!


    (As I’ve said on TTAC, if I could find a Cutlass Supreme Brougham Sedan from the last year of production, in survivor condition and loaded with every option save for the Rallye guages, including the 305/7 V8 with AOD transmission, it’d be an answer to prayer! But as I also always state, any 4-doors that are still left are either to be used to cushion the fall of a monster truck, or are in the possession of a demographic which prefers to equip said vehicles with spare wheels off a 747, sound systems which will bring down skyscrapers from two blocks away, and which will have the reclining seats stuck permanently at 60-degrees, and the tilt-wheel at the top of its travel!

    • Tom Klockau Post author

      Sir, you are in luck. I photographed an 86-87 Cutlass Supreme Brougham SEDAN a few years back, and am revising it for this site as we speak!

  4. Baconator

    I was at that Chicago Auto Show in 1983. All of the cars you pictured, with the possible exception of the Cadillacs, were viewable in salt-encrusted and rust-perforated form in the parking lot of our local Jewel Food Store or Aldi’s. At that auto show I dragged my suffering parents over to the pavilion where the European cars were. I did my darnedest to sit in every Mercedes, BMW, and Porsche I could slide my Oshkosh-clad kiddie butt into. I would have panted heavily against the velvet ropes surrounding the Ferraris and Lotuses.

    I don’t think Lamborghini was there in ’83, with neither the Countach nor Jalpa federalized at that point.

    The Sunbird and Firebird looked good to me in those days, but I understood that they didn’t drive all that well.

    • Compaq Deskpro

      The Cavalier and Sunfire are in my opinion hands down good looking cars in their 90’s and 2000’s guises. Really too bad they were so cheapy.


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