How the Chicago Auto Show Ignited My Passion for Cars

1985 Chicago Auto Show, Car Enthusiast, and Automotive industry

Ever since I was a kid, cars held a special place in my heart. I devoured car magazines, meticulously drew my dream rides, and cherished my Hot Wheels and Matchbox collection like precious jewels. My parents, recognizing my budding obsession, becoming a car enthusiast, took me on an annual pilgrimage to the nation’s largest automotive industry marketing event — the legendary Chicago Auto Show!

A Kid in a Candy Store (with a Glistening Chrome Finish):

Imagine a wide-eyed kid in a wonderland of gleaming chrome and powerful engines. That was me, utterly captivated by the Auto Show’s magic. Cars I’d only seen in magazines materialized before me, their sleek curves and impressive lines sending shivers down my spine. The high-performance beasts, usually elusive on the streets, were now within reach, tempting me with a peek inside. Little did I know what an incredible marketing tool it is for the automotive industry. It’s a chance for every manufacturer to show off their offerings in grand style, and I absorbed that style with giddy delight!

1986 Ferrari Display at the Chicago Auto Show, Car Enthusiast, and Marketing
1986 Ferrari Display at the Chicago Auto Show

High-Octane Automotive Dreams

In 1986, the Ferrari display stole the show. Imagine a gated haven filled with these automotive masterpieces, and me, a wide-eyed, car enthusiast kid, patiently waiting for my turn to enter. It was a sensory overload in the best way possible, the beautiful red paint and the imaginary roar of engines filling my senses.

Concept cars were another source of endless fascination. The futuristic creations sparked my imagination, whispering possibilities of cars that looked like they belonged on another planet. Back then, they felt like glimpses into a futuristic garage, filled with designs that were outlandishly cool and fueled my wildest automotive dreams.

American Muscle and the Legends Within

The American muscle was also a main attraction for me, of course. Corvettes, Mustangs, Camaros, Firebirds — the names themselves sent shivers down my spine. Sitting in these icons of freedom was pure bliss, even if the occasional electric shock from the carpeted floors added a touch of unexpected excitement. And the best part? Back then, before the internet’s reign, swag was plentiful!

1986 Chevy Camaro, automotive industry, car enthusiast, and marketing
1986 Chevy Camaro IROC-Z

Bags brimming with brochures, each a treasure trove of information and stunning imagery, became my souvenirs. These weren’t just marketing pieces to me; they were portals to a world of automotive industry wonder. I’d meticulously cut out pictures of my favorite cars, plastering my room with a vibrant collage of automotive dreams. One picture I especially remember is a black 1986 Camaro IROC-Z. I hung it above the headboard for my bed. I liked it so much that I ended up buying a black 1985 IROC four years later at age 17. It was my first car. Those brochures, along with countless magazines generously given to me by the school librarian, fueled my artistic fire, resulting in a binder overflowing with car drawings I still cherish today.

A Legacy of Chrome and Passion

The Chicago Auto Show wasn’t just an event; it was an experience that shaped who I am. Even today, walking those halls rekindles that childhood spark. The awe-inspiring displays, the interactive exhibits, the sheer joy of being surrounded by automotive marvels — it’s a feeling that never fades. So, if you have a car-curious kid (or adult!), don’t underestimate the power of an Auto Show. It might just ignite a lifelong passion, one brochure, one dream car, and one “wow, look at that” at a time!
If you have a story about how you became a car enthusiast, we’d love to hear it! And if you need marketing advice or a plan to take your business to the next level, contact us
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