Friday, February 17, 2012

2012 Chicago Auto Show, and a Blues Brothers update

Chicago, Illinois. A bit of our automotive history died this week near the windy city, while the world got a glimpse of our automotive future.

The biggest story, of course, is that demolition has finally begun on the Dixie Square Mall in Harvey, Illinois, near Chicago. Even if you don’t recognize the name, you probably know this mall because one of the most memorable car chases in movie history was filmed on location there. Who can forget that crusty ’74 Dodge Monaco barreling through the Toys ‘R Us and leveling kiosks in the 1980 hit The Blues Brothers?

Believe it or not, the Dixie Square Mall was already closed when that scene was filmed more than 30 years ago. It has been sitting vacant ever since. Of course, Blues Brothers fans and urban explorers have been visiting the “historic” site ever since. But the mall is in complete disrepair, to the point that it is a health and safety hazard. It’s kind of neat that it lasted this long, but I can see why the people living there would want to get rid of it.

The new Oldsmobiles are in early this year.

And speaking of new cars, the 2012 Chicago Auto Show is taking place right now. While generally not considered as important as Detroit or Los Angeles, some manufacturers are looking to Chicago to make a few new model introductions.

Ford debuted their 2013 Mustang Shelby GT500 convertible. Formerly available only in a coupe, Pony Car fans can now enjoy 650-hp with the top down. Unlike the coupe, however, Ford decided to limit the top speed of this car to 155-mph, as opposed to the 200-or-so that the coupe can achieve.

Chevrolet’s display featured several Camaros, including the Shelby-fighting ZL1 (p.s.s., also in convertible flavor for 2013), but the coolest introduction probably goes to the Corvette 427 convertible. The beefy Z06 typically isn’t offered as a convertible, but that’s essentially what this is. That same 505-hp, 7.0-liter (427 cubes!!) V8 from the Z06 powers the Corvette 427 convertible, and Chevrolet claims that this is the hottest Corvette convertible ever made.

I would also like to point out that the Chevrolet Impala won the 2012 Kelley Blue Book Best Full-Size Car Total Cost of Ownership Award. The Impala doesn’t get many props (they didn’t even have one at the Detroit Auto Show when I was there in January), but my wife drives one, and a more dependable, comfortable, affordable large car you’ll never find. Yeah, the Impala is mostly a fleet car these days, but based on my experience, they really never got enough love.

There were a few other world premieres in Chicago, particularly by Japanese and Korean makes. Volkswagen brought out a turbo-diesel Beetle. Jeep showed off a Compass concept. And you could see the 2013 GMC Acadia for the first time. There’s always something to see if you’re interested.

The slideshow consists of photos from several sources. Luckily, they don’t include my camera, so you’ll be able to actually make out most of these images. Most of them come from various manufacturers’ media sites, and several of those include captions, should you want to learn more. Several others were shot by Illinois resident Andrew McCall, who was generous enough to share them with us. Andrew is a long-time Camaro/Chevy fan, and you can definitely see that in his pictures. Together, they do a good job of telling the Chicago Auto Show story.  I'm also throwing in a video of the Blues Brothers mall chase scene; no extra charge! Check ‘em below.

1 comment:

  1. read the article about that mall and thought it was time to watch that chase scene again. thanks for posting craig. what a hoot.