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How to Source the World’s Top Vehicles: A Guide to 11 of the Globe’s Best Auto Shows

Posted on April 1, 2015

How to Source the World’s Top Vehicles: A Guide to 11 of the Globe’s Best Auto Shows

11 of the Globe’s Best Auto Shows

If you need a little inspiration before taking the plunge and buying a classic, vintage, exotic, concept or super car then there’s plenty of places where you’ll see the best the auto industry has to offer.

Of course, once you’ve spotted your dream car and decided to bid at auction or take it straight off the stand at the motor show, you’ll be needing McCullough to take care of freighting it back to New Zealand! But first, here’s our guide to the best places in the world to spot the world’s greatest vehicles.

11) Power Big Meet
Quite incredibly, the world’s largest display of American cars is held annually in… Sweden.

Of course it is! Street rods, customs, 50s cruisers, 60s muscle cars, Corvettes, Mustangs… you name it, you’ll find it at the annual event in Vasteras.

The event started in 1978 and has grown to attract visitors from all over the world – last year, they hosted 200,000 visitors and 17,000 cars. This year’s event runs from July 2 -4.

10) Festivals of Speed
You’ve missed this year’s St Petersburg, Florida event, which was held in the first week of March and featured a $US2 million McLaren P1 – one of only 375 created. And you’re a little late for the Amelia Island version too, which featured retro Porsche auction. But fear not, this car show, which styles itself as the ultimate luxury showcase” is run twice more this year: in Miami on April 26, and Orlando in Deccember.

9) International Geneva Motor Show
The 85th annual running of the International Geneva Motor Show was this year heralded as the “greatest in human history” thanks to exceptional offerings from Bugatti, Morgan, Porche, Ferrari, Lamborghini and the other usual suspects.

Mind you, it’s the first big auto show of the year and dates back to 1905, so the big boys are always looking to impress to the world’s media with the very latest trends and technology. You’ll just have to wait until next March if you want to go in person.

8) Retromobile
The first big vintage car show of the year is held each February in Paris and this year celebrated its 40th anniversary. This is a real must-visit for anyone wanting to get their hands on historically important vehicles – even if it then means having to freight them half way around the world.

This year’s event featured auctions of the 2007 Le Mans GT1 class-winning Aston Martin DBR9, Ettore Bugatti’s very own 1924 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost, and a 1951 Ferrari 212 Export Barchetta which starred in 20th Century Fox’s 1955 film, The Racers, with Kirk Douglas.

7) Auto Shanghai
Was a time when the major car shows were Detroit, Frankfurt, Paris and Tokyo but since China took its place as a major industrial superpower, its motor show (which has run since 1985) has really taken off. And that’s no surprise – last year 18.4 million cars were sold in China!

This year’s event takes place from April 22 -29 and will look to beat last year’s event, which attracted 813,000 visitors, 10,493 journalists and 2000 exhibitors from 18 countries.

6) Goodwood Festival of Speed
One of the UK’s most famous names associated with motorsport thanks to its racing circuit which dates back to the 1940s and which claimed the life of Kiwi racing legend Bruce McLaren during testing in 1970.

Now it plays host to the Festival of Speed, which includes a hill climb, a Supercar run and an international invitation-only auto show. This year’s event takes place from June 25-28.

5) Woodward Dream Cruise
Nothing screams auto industry more than over a million people lining Woodward Avenue, Detroit, on the third Saturday of August to watch more than 30,000 muscle cars, hot rods and classic, exotic and vintage vehicles parade past.

The Woodward Dream Cruise dates back to 1848 and boasts to be the largest single-day automotive event in the world.

4) Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance
This is the grand finale of California’s Monterey Car Week, which is held every August and draws around 15,000 visitors to its collection of the world’s most glamorous pre and post-war collector cars.

The show dates back to 1950 and now attracts the rich and famous to its high-stakes auction of some of the world’s rarest vehicles.

3) Tokyo Motor Show
As home to some of the world’s largest vehicle manufacturers, Japan’s auto showcase provides an annual stage to highlight the very latest concepts, design, engineering and technology.

It’s now renowned more for its high concentration of concept vehicles as opposed to traditional production models – but that makes it even more fun to visit.

The event dates back to 1954 and this year will run from October 29 – November 8.

2) North American International Auto Show
It’s only right that Motor City itself, Detroit, should get a couple of mentions here and thankfully it’s home to the North American International Auto Show, which is the traditional showcase for the US auto industry’s latest models.

It’s also the home of car and truck of the year awards which gives it extra attention on the global calendar.

1) International Motor Show Germany
Quite simply the biggest and best of the world’s motor shows – this event is held on odd-numbered years in Frankfurt and features passenger vehicles, and on even-numbered years in Hanover featuring commercial vehicles.

The event dates back to 1897 when it featured eight manufacturers but now attracts all the top brands as well as hundreds of thousands of visitors and the world’s media.


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