top of page
Search
  • Marielle Bokor

Kinda Blue: The Chicago Auto Show Returns To McCormick Place Sans Stellantis


Chicago Auto Show 2024. McCormick Place. Photo: Marielle Bokor

There's a lot of ways you can tell spring is coming here in Chicago where we Culture Combiners make our home. There's the annual groundhog thing in the beginning of February, of course, and we embrace that since the film was actually shot in nearby Woodstock Illinois. There's the random 50 degree days when we get out our flipflops, the sopping wet patches of leftover snow, now a muddy grey brown, and then there's the Chicago Auto Show.





The Chicago Auto Show, put on by the Chicago Automobile Trader's Association (or CATA) is the largest such auto show in the US. And at least in our world, it's the first big show of the year at the largest convention center in the Western Hemisphere, McCormick Place.


This event is open to the public and shows off a wide variety of vehicles, from concept cars and prototypes that aren't road ready to the latest models of some of our favorite daily drivers and all American sports cars. There's also cars that have been in films, cars owned by celebrities, military vehicles, police vehicles, and even a booth the Secretary of State hosts where you can get your license renewed and take care of other vehicular paperwork on site.



Chicago Auto Show 2024. McCormick Place. Photo: Marielle Bokor

Every year, certain automakers make big splashes with amazing prototypes, ridiculously over the top presentations (like Subaru's steam-filled geyser reveal for one of its 2023 models last year) and usually a pretty solid "ride" that everyone can enjoy. Traditionally this 4x4 adventure is put on by none other than Jeep, but this year's show saw Stellantis pull out of the show due to budget concerns, meaning Camp Jeep would not be a thing, nor would any debuts or vehicles of any kind at all from the likes of Stellantis' other holdings, Fiat, Dodge, Ram, Alfa Romeo and Chrysler. This took the show down from two giant show floors to just one, and would have left us with no fun rides to indulge in had it not been for Ford's massive presence.



Chicago Auto Show 2024. McCormick Place. Photo: Marielle Bokor

Where Camp Jeep had pulled the stakes up and left, Ford decided to be the main attraction for giddy car enthusiasts, and their offroading experience featuring the Bronco and Raptors was not only a thrill, with us white-knuckling our way through a tilt that nearly tipped us out of the doorless 4x4s, but showed off the unique capabilities of the vehicle, including an industry first hydraulic system that can actually drop a wheel on the fly to allow for more traction in tricky rock-crawling situations. There's also EV test tracks and Toyota's own test drive area where you can pick one of their ever-popular and ever-running vehicles to take a quick ride in.



Chicago Auto Show 2024. McCormick Place. Photo: Marielle Bokor

As for trends, EVs are everything, with nearly every auto manufacturer showing off some sort of electric vehicle, from SUVs to pickups and everything in between. The 2024 Chicago Auto Show was the first for EV manufacturer Lucid, and its Lucid Air was born to impress. Not only does it have the curves and fine lines we expect in high-end sportscars and luxury vehicles, its got an interior made to match, an available 500 mile range, far outpacing some of the industry giants, and an available dual electric motor that can pull an insane 1234 horsepower -- this is no putt putt electric car.


Chicago Auto Show 2024. McCormick Place. Photo: Marielle Bokor

Design wise, there were enough electric oranges and eye-catching blues to satisfy even the likes of Michael Bay -- and we're glad that automakers have done away with the all too familiar and yawn inducing champagnes, gunmetals and silvers of the past few decades to put out more interesting and arresting hues. One of our favorites on the floor as far as standout hues was the Ford Mustang Dark Horse, which appears to be a sort of steel blue on the surface, but features an iridescent rose gold glitter we couldn't resist.



Chicago Auto Show 2024. McCormick Place. Photo: Marielle Bokor

There were tons of anniversaries to be celebrated too, from the 75th anniversary of the Volkswagen Beetle to the reintroduction of its bus, the 50th anniversary of the Ford Bronco, and the 90th anniversary of Nissan, and the triumphant display of its Pole to Pole Nissan Ariya, which recently finished an expedition that took it, you guessed it, from pole to pole to show off what an EV is truly capable of.



Chicago Auto Show 2024. McCormick Place. Photo: Marielle Bokor

There's also never a lack of special cars on site, from the Ferraris, Rolls Royces, Alfa Romeos and Bentleys you can aspire to own to military vehicles and police squads. Also on display this year were some beautiful matte finish cars belonging to Robert Downey Jr. that you can enter to win. Tesla was also out on the floor and with it came one of the oddest vehicles on the floor, the Cybertruck. Having never seen one in person I was perplexed by its angles, intrigued by its stainless body (full of fingerprints and needing a good polish) and honestly, slightly disappointed by the interior, which for some reason isn't as hyper techy luxe inside as we were expecting, instead seeming rather Spartan.



Chicago Auto Show 2024. McCormick Place. Photo: Marielle Bokor

A vehicle that could never let us down though, was the mother-flippin' DeLorean. This OG time machine, stainless steel beauty was on site in all its glory, and in an unexpected stroke of luck, you can even sit in it! It's screen accurate and surrounded by other movie props that'll flip your shiny, tie-dyed lid, and it can be rented out for whatever reason you'd want to rent it out -- do you even need a reason?


All in all, even without Stellantis' lineup, we had a great time ogling new vehicles, vehicles to come, and those that could take us back to the future, and we hope you enjoy our gallery so you can get a taste of it as well, whether you can make the trek to the show, which is open to the public for another five days.





0 comments

Comments

Couldn’t Load Comments
It looks like there was a technical problem. Try reconnecting or refreshing the page.
bottom of page