Midwest hospitality is often at its best when the circumstances are less than ideal. So it was for the 2010 Chicago Auto Show that just finished up this past weekend. Billed as the largest auto show in North America, the 1.2-million square feet of display area this year held almost a thousand vehicles for shoppers, admirers and enthusiasts alike.

Among the more tantalizing examples were the Chevrolet Corvette StingRay Concept, 2010 Ford Harley-Davidson F-150 pickup, the 2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe R-Spec, the Cadillac XTS Platinum and many others for enthusiasts. Of course, the environmentally conscious were looked after, with a total of 46 alternate fuel vehicles on the show floor to check out. Whether your tastes were frugal or fearsome, there was an automotive example to satisfy it.

So, if we asked the question, “Which one would you most like to have in your driveway,” you might have a hard time narrowing the entire show floor down a single choice. You might also expect the general public to have the same challenge answering that question. Well, through the ten days running of the show, attendees were able to vote on this question and several others. The winners have just been announced.

With a choice of eight in each category, Best All-New Production Vehicle went to the 2011 Ford Focus, Best Concept Vehicle was the Cadillac XTS Platinum, the Chevrolet Volt took the Best Green Vehicle nods, while Best Exhibit went to Ford Motor Company. But, which vehicle did the majority want in their driveway? Surprisingly, the everyman’s choice might be exactly the same as yours – the Ford Shelby GT500.

"These are tough competitions that make a win really meaningful for our manufacturers and exhibitors," said show chairman John Phelan. "In a year when our attendance was about level with 2009, we're thrilled that everyone worked so hard to bring their best displays, concepts and production vehicles to a public whose optimism is returning."

Surpassing last year’s GT500 KR model, the newest GT500 lays down 540 horsepower from its supercharged, intercooled 5.4 liter DOHC V-8 engine. From the redesigned splitter to the nineteen-inch Goodyear F1 Supercar tires, this pony inspires most everyone that sees it. More aggressive looks and the increased use of lightweight materials signal SVT’s ongoing commitment to the new Glory Days of muscle car performance. This one is so well tuned that gas mileage is improved enough to throw off the “Gas Guzzler” tax stigma.

Certainly, the midwest snowstorms and winter chill weren't enough to dampen the enthusiasm of show attendees, who could said they could easily shake the doldrums by imagining a hot Shelby in the driveway.

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