The first edition of the Chicago Motor Show was held in 1901, making it one of the oldest car shows in the world. The Chicago show was once one of the nation’s largest automotive events but it is overshadowed today by bigger, more important industry trade shows held in New York, Detroit and Los Angeles.
Inspired by our friends at Japanese Nostalgic Car, we browsed through the show’s vast archives and picked out noteworthy photos of European cars on display during the 1980s.
The European car landscape in the United States changed considerably over the course of the 1980s. Fiat and Lancia packed up and went home, Renault teamed up with AMC to sell Wisconsin-built economy cars, Rover introduced Sterling and Ford distributed German-built Fords under the Merkur nameplate. All of these ventures were short-lived for a miscellaneous reasons that can often be traced back to quality issues.
Note that we’ve occasionally included pictures of American and Japanese cars in the galleries above. Also, if a brand is missing (e.g. Saab, BMW) it’s generally because there are no 1980s photos of it in the show’s archives.