Motor Shows have a long history in Melbourne and Sydney, with both cities hosting exhibitions befitting of their influence and importance as Australia’s two largest capital cities.
The Sydney Motor Show was originally held at Moore Park (Sydney Showgrounds) however in 1988 the Motor Show relocated to the first purpose built exhibition centre in Australia, the newly constructed Sydney Exhibition Centre located at Darling Harbour.
Melbourne Motor Show was first held in 1925 with the first 61 exhibitions held at Melbourne’s iconic Royal Exhibition Building. The Motor Show was relocated to the newly constructed Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) in 1996 and was the first commercial exhibition held in the exhibition complex. In total 14 Melbourne Motor Shows have been held at the MCEC.
During 2009 the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, the organising body of the Australian International Motor Show held in Sydney and the Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce, the organisers of the Melbourne International Motor Show agreed to form a Joint Venture.
Under the Joint Venture, the Motor Show will now be shared in alternate years between Melbourne and Sydney, which commenced with Sydney in October 2010 followed by Melbourne in 2011 and Sydney 2012.
The Motor Show will be branded as the Australian International Motor Show in both cities.
The Melbourne edition of AIMS moved from the traditional timing in March to adopt new dates in July.
Moments in Motor Show History
The 96-page catalogue for the 1925 International Motor Show sold for sixpence (5 cents) and contained many articles on the automotive industry's first 25 years of existence.
Featured at the front of the 1929 Official Catalogue was this quotable quote: "Nothing does more to banish ignorance and to encourage the spirit of charity that makes the whole world kin than a system of good highways providing easy transportation, banishing distance and isolation, and enabling the whole people of the State to enjoy fellowship with their neighbours."
In 1927, the road to the Melbourne Motor Show was lit, from the Windsor Hotel to the Royal Exhibition Building by 1600 lamps supported on Venetian masts. For the first time, the great dome of the Royal Exhibition Building was also illuminated.
An aftermarket and accessories exhibitor at the 1949 Motor Show sold children's steering wheels which fitted to the dashboard with a suction cap. The suction cup was recommended by the Road Safety Council because it would stop the child from distracting the driver. Price? 18-11d with gear lever, 13-11d without!
The 1957 Motor Show attracted its first television news coverage.
At the 1959 silver jubilee motor show the public viewed 132 different models from 47 different makes of automotive vehicles.
At the 1984 Melbourne Motor Show, the most valuable car in the world, at the time was on show. It was a 1907 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost, which was insured by Lloyds of London for one million pounds.