In 1900, the New York International Automobile Show became North America’s first automotive exhibition. For over one hundred years, through depression, war, boom-time, oil crisis, recession and growth, it has continued its pioneering tradition of bringing new and innovative ideas to a national and world stage.

In addition to its place as one of the world’s greatest public shows, NYIAS has expanded its range of world-class trade and industry events. No other event brings the business, consumer and lifestyle press, Wall Street’s financial community, the marketing and advertisers of Madison Avenue, and the nation’s largest and most diverse metropolitan population together in such a unique way.

Explore the history of North America’s first Auto Show, and discover over 100 years of celebrating automotive excellence.

Timeline Express

Automobile Club of America’s First Annual Automobile Show

November 3, 1900

Location: Madison Square Garden

In total sixty-nine exhibitors displayed approximately 160 complete vehicles. By the end of show week it is also estimated that 48,000 visitors had attended. The vehicles on display range from $280 – nearly 6 months salary at the average annual wage of $589 – up to $4,000.

Automobile Club of America’s Second Annual Automobile Show

November 2, 1901

Location: Madison Square Garden

In order to make room for the 92 new exhibits, the ACA dispenses board tracks, braking and handling contests. April 25, New York became the first state to require license plates. Under this new system 954 vehicles were registered by the end of 1901.

Fifth Annual Automobile Show

January 14, 1905

Location: Madison Square Garden

As so many cars have now accomplished long trips without incident, fewer makes at this yea’s auto show are trumpeting their completion of a given distance. Side entrances instead of rear-entrance bodies for touring cars are common place this season, as are pressed steel frames, hand throttle controls and sliding gear transmissions with ball bearings.

Automobile Club of America’s 8th Annual show

October 24, 1907

Location: Grand Central Palace 

216 Exhibits with 251 vehicles and 96 firms Six cylinder engines were now being offered by a total of 19 exhibitors at the Palace at Grand Central vs 8 Exhibitors the previous season.

11th Annual International Auto Show (1st International Aviation Show)

December 31, 1910

Location: Grand Central Palace

With only 32 car makers and manufacturers by late October the total brand count was on the rise significantly to 59 by mid-late November of 1910. New Exhibitors include the first officially catalogued car which was constructed by Mr. James Cunningham Son & Co. A New 3 Wheel Layout was introduced with a German made Cyklonette.

14th Annual Automobile Show

January 3, 1914

Location: Grand Central Palace

The New York Auto Show is now held in one building for the 1st time since 1905. 78 gas cars, 6 electric cars and 14 motorcycle were on display. A gold-hued gold trimmed electric Waverley car is featured with a rear seat that is divided into 3 armchairs.

16th Annual Automobile Show

December 31, 1915

Location: Grand Central Palace 

Out of 307 exhibits, only car makes out of 87 were on display at the Palace at Grand Central. Motorcycle exhibits were discounted in 1915. A gold stead Studebaker debuted at $25,000.

1925 National Automobile Show

January 9, 1925

Location: Grand Central Palace

While 1925 was the first in the United States history to have more closed car constructions Coupes, Coaches and Sedans were still the large quantity vehicle type. A brand new non-shattering glass was introduced on the famous Rickenberger Boat-tailed coupe. The Vertical Eight Stutz was also introduced.

1928 National Automobile Show

January 7, 1928

Location: Grand Central Palace

For the first time since 1905, Ford was not the leader in the U.S. Automobile Market. Over 1 Million Spectators were in attendance at Grand Central’s Palace to see the debut of the new Ford Model A car at Madison Square Garden (a statistic showed that the reason behind the 1 Million plus spectators was due to the fact that the price of admission at that time was only 75 cents).

AMA’s National Automobile Show for 1937’s Models

November 11, 1936

Location: Grand Central Palace

Independent Car Makers were dominating only 8.7% of the U.S. Auto market compared to 24.5% back in 1929. The 4th Floor of the Palace at Grand Central was dedicated to travel trailers which consisted of 23 different companies in a modern decorated area.

AMA’s National Automobile Show for 1940 Models

October 15, 1939

Location: Grand Central Palace

The industry’s mood is cautiously optimistic as 1939 model year output climbs 33 percent over 1938 but  the start of hostilities in Europe begins. Ticket prices are rolled back to an all-time low of 40 cents versus the previous 55-cent afternoons and 75-cent evening fare. A completely automatic transmission becomes a reality as Oldsmobile introduces Hydra-Matic Drive as a $57.50 option.

VMCCA’s Antique Auto Show

March 8, 1948

Location: New York’s 71st Regiment Armory

A number of Intrepid hobbyists decided to bring their own cars to the show without jurisdiction. A New Heirloom was making its auto show debut. The New Cannan Connecticut enthusiast named Melbourne Brindle introduced his 1916 Crane Simplex car which was estimated to total $33,000 making it the most expensive car at the auto show.

First International Automobile Show

February 5, 1949

Location: 69th Regiment Armory

A New York promoter helps the Europeans establish their postwar East Coast show by staging New York’s first “international” show. The automobiles on display included Allard, Armstrong, Siddeley, Aston, Bentley, Cooper, Ford Perfect, Healey, Hillman, Humber, Jaguar, Morgan, Morris, Riley, Rolls-Royce, Rover, Singer, Standard, Wolseley, Cisitalia, Renault, Peugeot, Simca-Fiat, Skoda and Tatra.

International Auto Show

April 28, 1956

Location: New York Coliseum

Addressing 1,500 opening-day ticket holder in the lobby, mayor Robert Wagner praises New York’s master builder Robert Moses for a job well done and deems the Coliseum “one of the wonders of the modern world.” Sweden makes it first appearance at an American auto show with the front-drive, three cylinder Saab 93B coupe, the Saab Sonnet prototype sports car and the Volvo PV-444. Domestic displays include the Cadillac Eldorado, Chrysler 300-B, Packard Predictor and the Lincoln Future which would, after minor modifications by George Barris, find TV immortality at the Batmobile.

2nd International Automobile Show

April 5, 1958

Location: New York Coliseum

Price of admission for this show was $1.50 for adults and 75 cents for children under 12. In 1957, it marked the first year that imported car sales in the U.S topped six figures. The overall total was 206,827 registrations which compromised nearly 3.5% of the new car market. Rolls Royce was the biggest attraction that year at the International Auto Show by displaying its first ever factory sponsored exhibit. This Rolls Royce featured a Bentley S and Continental 4 Door Saloon along with a 7 passenger Silver Wraith with aluminum interior paneling.

3rd International Automobile Show

April 4, 1959

Location: New York Coliseum

While three new domestic cars are expected in the fall of 1959, foreign car makers still reign supreme in the Coliseum. Nearly thirty out of sixty-eight marques represented at the show are new to the U.S market: Datsun, Toyota, Daihatsu, and Prince become the first Japanese carmakers to display at the Coliseum.

International Auto Show

April 1, 1961

Location: New York Coliseum

The auto show attracts 47,000 over the long Easter weekend and sets a new attendance record of 330,000. The Jaguar XK-E makes is U.S. debut, bargain-priced at $5,895 as a coupe and steals the show.

8th International Automobile Show

April 4, 1964

Location : New York Coliseum

Renault attracted the biggest attention to its now famous R-8 by having the model take a bubble bath inside the car’s front mounted exterior (Trunk). While that was being conducted, 1964’s Miss America Donna Axum was present to help Oldsmobile show off the All New Vista Cruiser station wagon with a raised roofline topped with inserted tinted glass.

10th International Automobile Show

April 9, 1966
Announcement Image

Location: New York Coliseum

While the  popular James Bond DB-5 car is having an encore engagement in the lobby of the Coliseum, this year’s show is featuring a pair of Italian Safety cars that now offers sliding doors, pop-out windows and heavily padded interiors. Another interesting concept is the Chrysler Imperial “Mobile Executive,” whose front seat passenger seat swivels 180 degrees to face a conference table, a Dictaphone and a copy transmitter-receiver (fax machine).

12th International Automobile Show

March 30, 1968

Location: New York Coliseum

The International Auto Show reached record numbers topping 525,000 visitors that particular year despite the of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination on Thursday. To combat the recent surge of automobile thefts, most of the 1968 cars will now have visible vehicle identification numbers displayed on the top left corner of their dashboard. Having already sold 1.5 million motorcyclist Americans, Honda has its U.S. debut of its first American market passenger car: the tiny 122″ long N600.

1st Annual Greater New York Automobile Show

November 4, 1972

Location: New York Coliseum

On Opening Day, Diversions are now include an antique car parade that is leaving from the Tavern on the Green located in Central Park at 9am sharp and it will commence at the Coliseum at precisely 11am.  Special exhibitor NASA displays a fully-operational twin of the Apollo 15 lunar land rover, whose $38 million price tag makes it the most expensive vehicle ever exhibited at the New York show.

4th Annual Greater New York Automobile Show

January 24, 1976

Location: New York Coliseum

Ticket Prices have increased 25 cents from $1.50 to $1.75. 1975 became a very memorable year as Toyota dethroned the popular Volkswagen as the top-selling U.S. import. Meanwhile, Lincoln finds success with its first designer edition Mark IV hardtops. The Bill Blass edition is a Navy Blue with cream colored vinyl roof and trim and the Givenchy consists of a jade and turquoise.

11th Annual Greater New York Automobile Show

January 31, 1981

Location: New York Coliseum

Despite import cars capturing an amazing 26.5% of the U.S. Market in 1980, there are rising concerns about the availability of fuel to increase the diesel engines share of the sales from just 1% back in 1977. While traditional performances being considered “Dead” it is now up to the glitz and glamour of the neoclassic like the Clemet to maintain a modicum of excitement at this years show at the Coliseum.
Being displayed by the New York Distributor Aleet Leasing Corporation is showing off a $65,000 roadster with the back 2/3 of the MG Midget with a free flowing fender and a long aluminum hood that can shelter a 351 cubic inch Ford V-8.

1987 Greater New York Automobile Show

April 18, 1987

Location: Jacob K. Javits  Convention Center

Budget buyers are given the most alternatives at the Javits Center as several brands attempt to bridge the gap between the $3,990 Yuho GV, the $4,995 Hyundai Excel three door hatchbacks and the Dodge Omni America that remains the cheapest U.S-built car at $5,799. Volvo introduced a Bertone styled 780 Coupe with special sheet metal, BMW added a convertible version of the 325i, and Cadillac attempted to buff the tarnish off its image  with the Allante, a $50,000 two seat roadster with the body constructed by Pininfarina in Italy. Over at Ford, the Mustang SVO is being replaced by a revamped Mustang GT with flush- mounted headlights, an all new driver-oriented dashboard and 225 horsepower.

1992 New York International Automobile Show

April 18, 1992

Location: Jacob K. Javits Center

Having built its 100,000th car a month prior to the show, Saturn became the only U.S. make to break into the top three of J.D. Power’s all-important customer satisfaction rating on its first year of eligibility. The green theme makes a star out GM’s 100mpg Ultralite.  Traditional dream machines include a production version of the Dodge Viper, Lincoln’s Marque X convertible concept, the Targa-topped Pontiac Salsa, Hyundai’s curvaceous HCD-I roadster and the Corvette ZRI V-8 debut.

1997 New York International Automobile Show

March 29, 1997

Location: Jacob K. Javits  Convention Center

The auto show launches  its first website to provide up to date schedules of the show. On Easter Sunday, the auto show attracts 158,908 spectators,  anew record for the largest Sunday crowd ever seen at the Javits Center.