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100th Edition of Chicago Auto Show Features Historic Display

CHICAGO, Feb. 11, 2008 -- They say it was an adventurous, but finally rewarded man who first discovered the true joy of a lobster. Getting to all that delicious meat takes some work, but ultimately it's very much worthwhile.

The Chicago Auto Show's 100th Showcase isn't dissimilar, with showgoers who work their way to the north end of the North Building of the nation's premier exposition center being rewarded with an astounding array of rolling automotive history.

The Chicago Auto Show-and all American auto shows-were suspended during the World War II years, as the country had redeployed its manufacturing efforts into building tanks and trucks, rather than passenger cars. It was Chicago's show that first returned to the national scene in 1950.

"The first Chicago Auto Show in 1901 was trying to spread the word that the automobile was going to be the future of transportation," said Show Chairman Bob Loquercio. "They constructed a test track inside the (now razed) Chicago Coliseum so that potential customers could experience what it was like to ride in a horseless carriage. The cars we have on display are mostly static, but the exhibits reflect the spirit of that first show."

  General Motors supplied three cars:
  -- 1902 Cadillac, the earliest known prototype of the brand and one of
     only three Caddys built in that year
  -- 1903 Oldsmobile, the famous "curved dash" model
  -- 1905 Buick, the earliest known Buick in any collection. The first
     collaborative efforts of William Durant and inventor David Buick.

  The Gilmore Car Museum has provided eight cars:
  -- 1900 Locomobile, a steam car, same as those pictured in the 1902 auto
     show stationary driving photos on
  -- 1903 Columbia Electric. President Teddy Roosevelt became the first
     American president to ride in an Automobile: a brand new 1903 Columbia
     Electric. Only three examples remain.
  -- 1903 Ford, the first year for the legendary manufacturer
  -- 1903 Stevens-Duryea
  -- 1904 Autocar
  -- 1905 Franklin, with air-cooled engine
  -- 1906 Waltham Buckboard
  -- 1909 Holsman, a Chicago-made vehicle. Other notable "Highwheelers"
     built in Chicago include International Harvester, Ideal, and the Sears

In addition to the "hardware" in the display, the Chicago Automobile Trade Association's deep photographic archives were tapped to tug on the memories of those who remember-or weren't around-to see what it was like in the old times.

Photography of celebrities appearing at the show include former President Ronald Reagan in a 1954 Cadillac; Sammy Davis, Jr. in a 1959 Amphicar; and "Hi-De-Ho" entertainer of the 20th century Cab Calloway behind the wheel of a snappy Thunderbird. Additionally, colorful enlargements of previous Chicago Auto Show program covers capture the industry's mood and direction in the years they were published.

It's a don't-miss feature of the 100th Edition of the Chicago Auto Show, now running through Feb. 17 at McCormick Place. For further information and purchasing tickets online please visit

The Gilmore Car Museum is a public, 501(c)3 non-profit educational institution, dedicated to preserving the history and heritage of the American automobile.