News & Events

100 Shows Spanning 107 Years

"If I've told you once, I've told you a hundred times!"

How many times did we hear that when we were growing up? Maybe a hundred? Most likely more, but 2008 brings to Chicago a distinction: We're the first auto show anywhere that can say "We've told you this is awesome" for a hundred times-over
107 years.

Since the first official Chicago Auto Show was staged in 1901, a reasonable person would count back from 2008 and deduce, "Wow, 107 Chicago Auto Shows!" which is quite an accomplishment. But the vagaries of geopolitical strife-tempered with a healthy dose of history-get in the way of simple math and tell us that during the WWII years and beyond there simply were no auto shows being staged in the United States as our country was far too busy producing tanks and trucks to worry about family transportation. So the American auto show clock was put into suspended animation until 1950 when the Windy City put the genre back on track for the world to witness. It hasn't stopped since in timing, content and importance to the industry and public.

"We understand that there might be a bit of confusion," said 2008 Chicago Auto Show Chairman Bob Loquercio. "But simply put: there's no other auto show on earth that has produced 100 editions. We're darn proud of that, not only for its longevity and staying power with a car-hungry public, but also for the industry that has for decades used this show as a barometer of how well their products resonate in real-world application."

In celebration of the storied past of the Chicago Auto Show, a special display featuring many vehicles from the exposition's earliest years will be a hit with everyone.

"We've done a great deal of research on our early years," said Mark Scarpelli, co-chairman of the '08 show. "That, teamed up with some very cooperative manufacturers and private collections, should provide a wonderful look back at some of our industry's milestone vehicles. Our Web site's historic section always gets huge play, but this year we expect it to be off-the-chart busy."

The nation's biggest auto show will stage its customary two-day media preview Feb. 6-7, with most visiting media arriving Tuesday, Feb. 5 in order to make sure they've got their Rockport Walkers on the ground and ready to roam at dawn's early light for the MAMA/Chicago Auto Show Wednesday morning breakfast. Following that will be a whirlwind 36 hours of news conferences featuring world and North American previews, executive availabilities, general industry action (and some fun and games for good measure) all woven into the fabric of one of the world's great destination cities. Chicago's legendary restaurants, hotels and museums-all complimenting the best convention center anywhere on earth-contribute to the incredible experience enjoyed by media and manufacturers alike. If you haven't seen the Chicago show, you don't know how good it can be.

Visiting media and industry folks can again avail themselves of special arrangements at The Fairmont, Swissôtel and Four Seasons Hotel Chicago.

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