On a pedestal (in more ways than one) was the GTO Tiger show car. Again, the basic stock convertible was enhanced with real tiger skin, and even a tail in the interior to tie into the GTO Tiger advertising theme. Special paint, carpeting, and a fiberglass boot rounded out the upgrades.
Revolving on a sunburst platform...
Revolving on a sunburst platform is the '67 Pontiac Firebird Skydiver, the highlight of the Chicago Auto Show display that year. It wowed showgoers with its pearlescent Tangerine paint, parachute fabric interior, and orange shag carpet.
Two Grand Prix models dominate...
Two Grand Prix models dominate this scene inside the '67 Pontiac exhibit. Held once again in the International Amphitheatre due to a fire that destroyed McCormick Place four weeks before the auto show, Pontiac had a center location. On the raised platform is a 3/4 rear view of the GP convertible, the only year for that model. This example is the St. Moritz show car; it had a custom interior made of Swiss sweater fabric.
On stage during the Chicago...
On stage during the Chicago Auto Show "Motorevue of 1968" is the GTO hardtop, encircled by miniskirt-wearing entertainers who danced around the vehicle as musicians played and an announcer described the many virtues of the Pontiac musclecar.
February 19-27, 1966
A Chicago Tribune ad for the '66 show read, "See the Pontiac and Tempest Tigers at the 58th Annual Chicago Auto Show, then drive your favorite in tiger country at your Pontiac dealers." Revised LeMans styling and slightly changed Pontiac and Grand Prix models were featured that year.
Holding down show-car duties was the Grande Corniche, a two-door hardtop with a Landau roof. For reasons unknown, featured on a two-door was a black leather chauffeur's compartment (complete with said chauffeur), special paint, trim, and wheels.
With the spectre of federal safety regulations hanging over the industry, Pontiac General Manager John Z. DeLorean noted at a press conference: "By necessity, our cars must be-and are-made as safe as possible with existing knowledge and practical limitations." His words would only be the start of a change in priorities for automakers.
Also, unknown at the time, this would be the sixth and final Chicago Auto Show at the original McCormick place.
February 25-March 5, 1967
A devastating fire destroyed McCormick Place just four weeks before the '67 Chicago Auto Show. Luckily, the International Amphitheatre, where the show was held from 1936 through 1960, was intact, and scheduling could be arranged.
For Pontiac and a few of its competitors, 1967 was the model year to answer the popular Ford Mustang. Pontiac's answer was the Chevrolet Camaro-based Firebird, which was just introduced. It made its auto show debut at Chicago and featured hardtop and convertible models in five series.
The Firebird name recalled the series of General Motors gas-turbine-powered dream cars that were shown at the GM Motoramas of the '50s. "We want it to be known as the Pontiac of the personalized sports-car field," John Z. DeLorean noted at the introduction press conference. "It will more than match the competition. Certainly the Firebird has Pontiac personality and will command much attention." That it did.
Restyled fullsize Pontiacs also were there for the spectators, as was the one-year Grand Prix convertible. A highlight was the GTO Surfrider convertible show car, special interior and all.
February 24-March 3, 1968
All new intermediates in general, and the GTO in particular, took center stage at the '68 Chicago Show. A notable feature was the energy-absorbing Endura front bumper. Newspaper preview ads read, "See the disappearing windshield wipers, see the disappearing headlights, see the disappearing bumper." "Functionally superior to any bumper now in use," is what DeLorean said about the Endura's front fixture.
Federal safety and emission standards were in effect, and the doomsday warnings of the domestic manufacturers a few years earlier were absent from the presentations, as the attractive offerings from Pontiac and its competitors made the '68 model year an interesting one. Even safety equipment was on the new-features list to point out to the public.
Mildly revised, the Grand Prix was now back to a two-door hardtop model. The rest of the fullsize Pontiac line and the Firebird also had detail changes for 1968.
The show would remain at the International Amphitheatre for two more years.
Our next installment will continue with the '69 Chicago Auto Show.