VIDEO: A look back at the Chicago Auto Show

1986 Chicago Auto Show Nissan

The Chicago Auto Show kicks off today. The nation’s oldest car show, it has faded from prominence in recent years, but here’s a look back at what Japan was up to during its 80s heyday. Helpfully, the Chicago Auto Show has uploaded a bunch of old footage onto its Youtube channel. Here are the highlights below.

The 1985 Toyota MR2 is introduced.

1985 Nissan 300ZX Turbo, with bonus Datsun 240Z shout out!

1986 Subaru XT!

The 1985 Toyota FXV Concept, a mind-blowing mid-engined sedan powered by a turbocharged and supercharged 2.0L.

Nissan’s incredible MID-4 Concept.

A previously unknown concept, the Nissan Gymnastics. Note the Stanza Wagon in the background.

The 1988 Nissan Arc-X, with voice recognition telephone dialing! You can also see where the Infiniti Q45 got some of its taillight inspiration.

The Lexus LS 400.


Some random compacts from 1987, including the Subaru Justy and Mercury Tracer (aka Mazda 323), lumped in ignobly with the Yugo.

Not quite nostalgic yet, but here’s Toyota’s lineup from 1992 with a highlight of the 7-passenger(!) Camry Wagon.

Holy neon leotards, Batman. The Geo dancers of 1991.

Mazda’s 1992 lineup, with appearances by the MX-5, FD RX-7, and MX-6.

Honda in 1992, long before anyone knew the EG Civic would spark a tuner revolution, along with the fourth-gen Prelude.

1992 Nissan lineup, including the Z32 and Quest.

Also, check out this older post about Japanese cars the Chicago Auto Show from 1959-89.

And lastly a catch-all category of the “Asian cars” of 1994, featuring the Honda Passport (aka Isuzu Rodeo), Isuzu Trooper, Suzuki X-90, and Mitsubishi 3000GT VR-4 Spyder at $60,000 (!), and Subaru Impreza Outback.

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10 Responses to VIDEO: A look back at the Chicago Auto Show

  1. Adam says:

    Can it be 1992 again? Please?

  2. Bart says:

    This is cool. I used to go every year in the late 90s/early 2000s when I lived in Chicago. It was always fun.

  3. Subaru XT GL10 Turbo… reliable… There are a million words I could use for that car and “reliable” is none of them.

  4. Brian says:

    I’m headed there this weekend. Don’t think there will be any X-90’s this time around though.

  5. mister k says:

    funny she says “Toy-Ota” not “Toy-Yota”

  6. John M says:

    Wedges and wedgies!

  7. JNCSeikoNeko says:

    Haha, that gymnastics video seemed very awkward.

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