One major development for the 2015 Louisville Auto Show was the addition on the largest Ride and Drive Event in the country! This gave visitors a unique opportunity to get behind the wheel of a huge number of cars from over 30 different dealership groups – all under one roof! In fact, the event saw 34 franchised dealers, representing 23 manufacturers, in one massive 106,000 sq ft space! From exotic and luxury models to economy vehicles, there was something for everyone at the Louisville Auto Show!
The Louisville Auto Show has changed a lot over the years, but one thing has remained constant – the incredible cars on show!
From 2008-2014, the Louisville Auto Show merged with the Carl Casper Custom Auto Show to bring a new, driver-centric dimension to the event. For the first time, visitors to the event could not only compare new makes and models of their favorite cars, but they could also view customized vehicles and vintage cars of yesteryear.
In a major departure from previous years, the Louisville New Car Show became a “selling” show from 1990-2006. This meant that, for a 16-year period, customers could get all the advantages of a dealership without having to actually go there!
They could drive their vehicles to the show, have them appraised, select a new vehicle from a wide range of manufacturers, and drive home in a brand new vehicle – all in one handy location. This arrangement could not last forever, and Kentucky legislation soon changed to prohibit off-site sales. That meant that the show returned to its roots as a “display” show in 2006 – and it’s been that way since!
The early years of the Louisville Auto Show are a journey America’s automotive heritage!
The Show owes its existence to the incorporation of the Greater Louisville Automobile Dealers Association (GLADA) on November 3rd, 1953, and their discussions about taking part in the 1955 Home Show at the Louisville Armory.
Following on the decision to host a stand-alone event, the first permanent Auto Show was held at the then new Kentucky Exposition Center in 1958, complete with a 90-cent admission fee (50 cents for children)!
A nine-day event, it showcased the best of 15 manufacturers: Lincoln, Chevrolet, Buick, Oldsmobile, Plymouth, Cadillac, Mercury, Dodge, DeSoto, Edsel, Imperial, Rambler, Ford, Pontiac and Chrysler.
Interestingly, of the 15, only seven are still in business. Can you name them?
In the intervening 30 years, the event found a mass audience, and by 1988, the Auto Show had grown to more than 62 franchised dealers and 32 manufacturers – setting the stage for the Show’s subsequent success.