1968 and 1969 Chicago Auto Show, Part 3

36 Formula Ford

This was news in 1969 – 1969 Chicago Auto Show


(first posted 2/28/2014)     I’ll begin the final installment of pictures I took at the ’68 and ’69 Chicago Auto show as I did on Wednesday, with a Ford.  The Formula Ford concept was developed by Geoff Clark and John Webb at the Brands Hatch race track in England in 1963. The cars originally were an outgrowth of a Formula Junior chassis outfitted with a 1498 cc Cortina 4 cyl pushrod engine and by late 1967, Ford had bought into the concept. This was Ford’s initial effort to introduce the Formula Ford to the US.

50 Formula Ford

The original Formula Ford – 1969 Chicago Auto Show


Combined with low weight and a relatively stock, bulletproof engine, Formula Ford became the initial step up from go karts and continue to this day as a club racing class.

37 Cobra Concept

Ford Super Cobra Concept – 1969 Chicago Auto Show


Wow! How daring can a car company get? Asymmetrical placement of the badge on the nose.

38 Cobra Concept

Ford Super Cobra Concept – 1969 Chicago Auto Show


I couldn’t find much info on this car, maybe some of you know a bit more about it. It has the look of an AMT Styline kit, generic ‘60s George Barris pre-disco. The car had 428 cubic inch V-8.

39 Cobra Concept

One element of the Cobra Concept that did make it into production was this wheel design. Steel wheels can look great without plastic hubcaps.

42 Ferrari 275

Ferrari 275 GTB – 1968 Chicago Auto Show


The 275 GTB was produced from 1964 through ‘68. It was designed by Pininfarina and only 970 were made. With the Colombo 3.3 liter 60° V12, it was one sweet ride. Today auction prices are north of a million dollars.

41 Ferrari 275

Ferrari 275 GTB – 1968 Chicago Auto Show


The successor to the 275 was the 365 GTB/4, otherwise known as the Daytona. In the second Cannonball, Dan Gurney, along with Brock Yates, cruised at 172 mph across the Arizona desert in what Yates described as perfect serenity. They won the dash but I could never get excited about the Daytona’s styling. The nose just didn’t have the essential “Ferrariness” that previous Ferraris had.

46 Alfa 1600

AUSCA Alfa Duetto – 1969 Chicago Auto Show


You’re going to have to pay attention because there will be a test. Horst Kwech was born in Austria. Early in WWII his mother moved the family to Australia. In time Horst became a race car builder and driver. He called his cars AUSCAs. In 1961 he moved to Lake Forest, Illinois where he became lead mechanic for Knauz Continental Motors. In 1963 he won the SCCA Central Division Championship in an AUSCA MkII.

In 1965 Kwech won the SCCA Central Division Championship in an Alfa Giulia Ti Super. In 1966 Kwech and Knauz bought an Autodelta-prepared GTA from Alfa Romeo with which Kwech and teammate Gaston Andrey won the Under 2 Liter Trans-Am championship.

See http://www.trans-amseries.com/results/1966.pdf for the 1966 Trans-Am results.

47 Alfa 1600

AUSCA Alfa Duetto – 1969 Chicago Auto Show


AUSCA cars typically carried Australian-themed marking schemes as did Kwech’s Alfa in ’69. I’m not sure how it performed or in what series it raced. But Kwech hired on with Carroll Shelby International to drive a Trans-Am Mustang. He won the Riverside Trans-Am for Shelby that year.

Nearly a decade later Kwech and Lee Dykstra formed DeKon Engineering. Their most successful product was the DeKon Monza which won the ASSC (Australian Sports Sedan Championship) with Alan Moffat in 1976. Al Holbert drove a DeKon Monza to the IMSA GT Championship in ‘76 and ‘77.

Horst Kwech, 76, now lives with his wife in Lake Forest, IL.

I tried to find some info on You Tube about Kwech but the only thing worthy of mention is this video about the BRE Datsuns and how they beat Kwech and his Alfa. It can be seen here.

51 Thunderbird Saturn II

Thunderbird Saturn II Concept Car – 1969 Chicago Auto Show


I must have found the cars at the Ford display interesting as I did photograph them. But today, as I mentioned earlier, the forms look as though they were developed for AMT Styline kits. This has to be one of the few cases where I found the production cars more interesting than the show cars.

52 Thunderbird Saturn II

Thunderbird Saturn II Concept Car – 1969 Chicago Auto Show


The Saturn II had its nose stretched four inches and its top chopped by two. As a harbinger of the future, the Saturn II included a lot of electronic gizmos including two-way communication (gadzooks!) and radar for what Ford claimed was “computerized travel.” The car also featured “reflective paint” on the hubcap centers. Hate to be the one to break the news, but all paint is reflective, otherwise we wouldn’t be able to see it (think “black holes”). Now that would have been a novel idea: a display with nothing but a bunch of models walking around pointing out innovative features on invisible cars. Wow! Like totally trippy!

55 Ranchero Scrambler

Ranchero Scrambler – 1969 Chicago Auto Show


Ford must have had a lot of extra metallic brown paint in 1969 and used it all on their concept cars. It looks as though one element from this concept did make it to production–the emblem on the grille went on to be used for the Maverick in 1970.

56 ?

Mystery Car – 1969 Chicago Auto Show


I have no idea what this is. It’s a miracle that I was able to get any kind of image at all, the light level was so low.

So that’s it for the 1968 and ’69 Chicago Auto Show. Some fun stuff close to 50 years ago. Damn, that’s kind of scary. Half a century ago and some of the cars still look good.