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APR 4, 2024 | By Ryan Pasch

Ford And Its New Mustang Take Command With Mega Displays At Chicago Auto Show

Ford Display at Chicago Auto Show

CHICAGO, Ill. – The annual Chicago Auto Show returned to the massive McCormick Place Convention Center for 2024, retaining its title as “North America’s Largest Automobile Exhibition.” Spanning over 1 million square feet, this automotive extravaganza has a storied history, having commenced in 1901 and now celebrating its impressive 123rd year in The Windy City as the nation’s longest-running auto show.

In Chicago you either “go big” or “go home,” and it was a source of pride to this on-site correspondent for FordPerformance.com that Ford Motor Company had obviously decided to “go big.” My assignment was to delve into Ford’s display this past February to uncover what is making waves for Ford in 2024. Thanks to Ford taking center stage here, that would be something quite easy to find.Ford Trucks on display

As soon as visitors stepped onto the show floor, their attention gravitated toward Ford’s commanding presence. All of the familiar elements were there from past shows, including shiny new Fords encircling the main display and the indoor test track. However, a fresh addition stole the spotlight this year -- a centrally located area dedicated to Ford’s most significant new vehicles. This exhibit was clearly designed to guide visitors through Ford’s current lineup, with an up-close view of upcoming releases as well as a sneak peek into Ford’s future.Bronco Off road experience

The star here was a Ford icon that is celebrating the introduction of its seventh generation in 2024. With this brand-new Mustang (code-named the S650) remaining the sole car in Ford’s otherwise SUV-, Crossover- and Truck-laden lineup, it held a special place on the Chicago stand. If one had to choose a single car in the entire American market to preserve, the Mustang would be the unanimous choice for any Blue Oval enthusiasts. With its timeless design, performance heritage and an owner experience of sheer exhilaration, it’s no wonder Mustang has endured and endeared these past 60 years.Red Mustang

Positioned prominently within the display was the 2025 Ford Mustang GTD Performance Supercar. This street-legal, track-ready marvel boasted an 800-horsepower supercharged 5.2-liter V-8 ready to take on the world’s best. Its aggressive stance and aerodynamic lines hinted at the adrenaline-fueled experience awaiting lucky drivers. The more attainable and quite popular street-ready new Mustang – the 2024 Dark Horse – also made its presence felt here, powered by a robust 5.0L V-8 delivering 500 horsepower. With a standard 6-speed manual transmission and an available 10-speed automatic, it’s truly a steed to meet every need.Ranger Raptor

Some of the longest lines we saw were at the indoor test tracks – as that’s where the action awaited for attendees. The very popular Ford test tracks were simply massive – not merely static displays, mind you – but set up to offer true dynamic experiences. Ford featured two areas: One was called the Bronco Adventure: The Bronco test track sprawled across the floor, inviting attendees to experience Bronco’s off-road prowess. Six Broncos stood ready, promising some mud-splattering excitement. This year included two different Bronco model lines – one for the regular Bronco and another for the Bronco Raptor R. There was also a Mustang Mach-E Circuit. The Mustang Mach-E SUV’s track showcased its electric agility. Attendees weaved through twists and turns and got the chance to feel the future of electrification.Ford Mustang GTD

In addition to seeing Ford’s newest offerings, the Chicago Auto Show also proved to be a great place for Ford to showcase some of its enthusiast heritage. On display here was a pristine 1994 SVT Mustang Cobra convertible "Indianapolis 500 Pace Car" edition. It served as not only a nod to the company's racing legacy, but also bridged the past with the present, as the 4th Generation SN95 Mustang celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. This rare commemorative model had a mere 196 miles on the odometer.Ford Bronco 4400

Of course, Ford trucks were a huge draw too, with the new 2024 F-150 Raptor R a highlight for many, showcasing the raw power and advanced technology that Ford continues to harness in its trucks. With a 5.2-liter supercharged V-8, the Raptor R is a beast on the road, and its revised aesthetics only add to its commanding presence. The new model included upgraded shock options, a plus a new front bumper, exterior color and graphics. Also notable was the Ford F-150 Switchgear Electric Concept. This all-electric race truck represents a leap into the future of high-performance off-road vehicles. The display model, fresh from an off-road race, emphasized Ford's dedication to real-world testing and development. The 37-inch tires and racing suspension are not just for show; they are a clear indication of the capabilities that electric vehicles can achieve -- even in the most demanding environments.Ford Raptor R Race truck

For enthusiasts of the rugged and versatile Ford Bronco, the show did not disappoint either. The array of at least eight different 2024 models and configurations provided a comprehensive look at the versatility and adaptability of the Bronco line. The dual-test off-road track was not just an exhibition for these SUVs, but an interactive experience that allowed visitors to witness the Bronco's capabilities firsthand.Ford Raptor Bronco

One bonus for native showgoers was the Chicago Assembly Plant’s 100th Anniversary. Make no mistake -- the centennial celebration of the Chicago Assembly Plant was a momentous occasion here, marking a century of automotive manufacturing excellence. From its beginnings with the Model T to the modern 2025 Ford Explorer, the plant's history is intertwined with the city's industrial heritage. Naturally, with the 2024 Ford Explorer built in Chicago, the three models of the new Explorer on display highlighted the significant updates and refinements in the 2025 refresh, promising a new chapter for the beloved SUV.Ford Bronco hill climb

As a lifelong Ford enthusiast, this year’s Chicago Auto Show was both a reaffirmation of the brand's legacy and a glimpse into its future. It's big events like these that not only showcase the latest in automotive design and technology but also celebrate the community of car lovers and the shared passion that drives them. While some may think big international auto shows are a merely reflection of the past, our hope is that those who have never attended get the chance to experience the grand scale of such an auto show, as it will prove the universal appeal of these gatherings -- where history, technology, future-think and driving excitement all come together under one roof.