Our History

A History of the Show and the impact it has had on the auto industry

Automobiles have helped shape our culture and have played a critical role in the development of our economy and today’s modern cities and suburbs. They’ve given us the opportunity to explore this vast land, experience our national parks, visit friends and family, and take in all the treasures this country has to offer. They’ve influenced the arts and have had a profound impact on music, film, photography, design and so much more while giving us the freedom of personal mobility. 

Even during the toughest times, the auto industry never stopped engineering, designing and building great vehicles and the New York Auto Show has been here to present them to the world. Here we’ve opened our vault to pay tribute to an industry whose innovations have transformed the lives of people across the globe.

The New York Auto Show is an event with a rich, diverse history reflecting the ups and downs of the industry and City it proudly calls home. It is the oldest automobile show in North America and a beloved institution that helped changed the way Americans viewed the ‘horseless carriages’ that we take for granted today.

Through innovation and a constant desire to change, invent, update, excite and amaze, the New York Auto Show is a reflection of the cars buyers, and future car buyers, who are as enthusiastic today at the prospect of independence and freedom that the automobile brings as they were during the first Show in 1900.



Today, the New York Auto Show is one of the most important automotive events in the world, but did you know that it was the first show to reveal Henry Ford’s Model T, or that it is North America’s oldest Auto Show. Just for fun, here are a few other interesting or surprising facts about the country’s most popular Auto Show.

  • 1900

    A total of sixty-nine exhibitors showed 160 vehicles worth $560,000 and attracted 48,000 visitors. The vehicles on display ranged in price from $280 to $4,000.

  • 1909

    Henry Ford’s Model T also made its first auto show appearance.

  • 1921

    First Lincoln launched.

  • 1926

    General Motors introduces its instantly successful Pontiac at the New York Auto Show.

  • 1938

    The New York Auto Show’s opening day is televised for the first time on NBC.

  • 1954

    The Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing makes its world debut in New York.

  • 1961

    Jaguar chooses New York to debut the E-Type.

  • 1964

    Ford unveiled the original Mustang in New York.

  • 1972

    Valued at $38 million, NASA’s lunar rover becomes the most expensive vehicle ever displayed at the New York Show.

  • 1986

    With vehicle prices ranging from the $3,900 Yugo to a $163,00 Rolls-Royce, the auto show makes its final appearance at the New York Coliseum and prepares to move into its current home at the Javits Center.

  • 2000

    To celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the New York Auto Show, GM brings its entire line-up of concept cars to New York and reveals them in Central Park.

  • 2017

    During public days, show-goers consumed: 24,000 sodas, 14,000 Chicken tenders and fries baskets, 10,000 Hamburgers, 12,000 Personal pizzas, 17,000 Hotdogs, 21,000 Pretzels, 12,000 Bottles of water, 19,000 Bags of roasted nuts, 11,000 Empanadas, 2,000 cups of espresso and 500 pounds of M&Ms!

  • 1903

    A total of sixty-nine exhibitors showed 160 vehicles worth $560,000 and attracted 48,000 visitors. The vehicles on display ranged in price from $280 to $4,000.

  • 1915

    The Dodge Brothers touted the industry’s first all-steel body in touring cars.

  • 1925

    Decorations at the New York Auto Show’s Silver Jubilee include a 75-foot tall lighted tower inspired by the ancient Pharos lighthouse of Alexandria.

  • 1931

    The Wall Street Crash hits hard with auto sales down 40% from their 1929 highs

  • 1941

    The New York Auto Show is cancelled as automobile factories turn their production lines over to airplane engines, trucks, tanks, marine diesel engines, guns and ammunition shells.

  • 1959

    Japan’s Datsun and Toyota set up their first displays at the show.

  • 1962

    Most cars at the ’62 show feature seatbelts in anticipation of State Senator Edward Speno’s new law mandating them for all 1965 models sold in New York.

  • 1966

    BMW gets more publicity than it bargained for after Ludwig the Lion mauls an auto show model during press preview.

  • 1978

    The Porsche 928 made its first North American appearance at the Show.

  • 1999

    Two Men, Twenty Cars, 50 Yards... the Show opened with a race between two of ESPN's World's Strongest Man competitors, Magnus Ver Magnusson and "Chief" Iron Bear Collins each towing a line of ten cars each.

  • 2015

    One of the New York International Auto Show’s greatest celebrations was Ford’s 2014 placement of a 2015 Mustang convertible on the Empire State Building’s 86th floor observation deck to commemorate the 1964 original’s New York World’s Fair unveiling.