Chicago Auto Show back at full speed

Text and photos by Jack McCarty Chronicle Media

A Lamborghini Countach, priced at $2.8 million, is among Super Cars on display as the Chicago Auto Show returns to full strength this week.

The Chicago Auto Show eyes a return to full strength this month after two years of pandemic cutbacks.

The midwinter McCormick Place fixture began a 10-day run on Feb. 11 with two full exhibition halls showcasing the latest and greatest from brands based in America and from around the world.

Now officials hope automobile aficionados, potential buyers and the simply curious trek back to what’s described as the nation’s largest auto show.

“We certainly endured a turbulent couple of years, but even so, we never missed a beat and continued to offer an auto show each year to our fans,” said Kevin Keefe, Chicago Auto Show chairman in a statement. “We are optimistic for this February given the traction of returning automotive brands and the expansion back into two exhibit halls.”

The COVID-19 pandemic forced cancellation of the 2021 February show, replaced by a five-day summer exhibition. In 2022 the Auto Show returned to its traditional February date, but exhibits were limited to just one hall.

The traditional internal combustion vehicle engine still dominates the industry. Auto Show visitors will have a chance to have up-close views of what has made cars tick for generations

Last week’s 2023 show preview had more of pre-pandemic feel, with product introductions, test tracks in full operation and a black-tie charitable event held before doors opened to the public. Moreover, there were no health restrictions and only a handful of visitors wore masks.

Tickets are on sale at Adult ticket prices are $15; seniors ages 62 and older are $10; children ages 4-12 are $10; kids 3 and younger are free.



It’s not all cars at the Chicago Auto Show. Toyota, a sponsor of U.S. Paralympians, offers visitors a chance to try out wheelchair basketball and sled hockey as part of a Toyota Sports festival.

Perhaps the smallest vehicle on hand is Toyota’s COMS, an electric single-seat scooter first introduced in 2000. Highway driving is not recommended.

Vintage land yachts are a venerable part of American’s love affair with automobiles. This pink 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz convertible — complete with fins and shiny chrome — is part of a collection of well-preserved and exquisitely maintained vehicles on the McCormick Place exhibition floor.

A Ford representative extolls the features of the company’s electric vehicles during a Feb. 9 preview at the Chicago Auto Show. Examples of the nation’s ongoing shift to electric cars and trucks are on display throughout the exhibit floor.

Subaru’s exhibit includes a corral featuring adoptable puppies. The company again partnered with Anderson Humane Society, a suburban Chicago agency, to arrange adoptions for later pick-up at a shelter.