British International Motor Show

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The Lotus Esprit was launched at the British International Motor Show, Earl's Court in 1974

The British International Motor Show was held regularly between 1903 and 2008, initially in London at Crystal Palace, Olympia and then Earl's Court before moving to the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham in 1976, where it stayed until May 2004. It then returned to London, for July 2006 and July 2008, at the new location of ExCeL. The 2010 and 2012 shows were subsequently cancelled. The event is recognised by the Organisation Internationale des Constructeurs d'Automobiles.

The London Motor Show relaunched at Battersea Park from 5 to 8 May 2016.

History[edit]

Britain's first motor show[1]—for horseless carriages—was held in South Kensington in 1896 at the Imperial Institute under the auspices of Lawson's Motor Car Club.[2] The first British Motor Show organised by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) was held at Crystal Palace, London in 1903, the same year that the speed limit was raised from 14 miles per hour (23 km/h) to 20 miles per hour (32 km/h) by the Motor Car Act 1903 and two years before the formation of The Automobile Association. After the 1903 event it moved to Olympia in London, where it was held for the next 32 years before moving to Earl's Court, London from 1937 until 1976, except for the period of World War II during which time there were no shows.

From 1978, until 2004, it was held every second year at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC), Birmingham, with the 2004 event being held in May, rather than the traditional October, to avoid a clash with the Paris Motor Show.[3]

The July 2006, and July 2008 shows returned in ExCeL, London, prior to the cancellation of the 2010[4] and 2012[5] shows, due to the recession. Motorexpo, the World's largest free to visit motor show started in 1996 and is held annually at Canary Wharf in London, Brookfield Place in New York and Brookfield Place/First Canadian Place in Toronto. London Motorfair, an alternative London show was held at Earls Court biannually from 1977 to 1999.

In December 2014, it was announced by Prince Michael of Kent, the cousin of Queen Elizabeth II, that the London Motor Show will return in May 2016, to Battersea Park. The 2016 British Motor Show featured the United Kingdom’s land speed record attempt car, known as Bloodhound, which is designed to reach 1,000mph.[6]

Locations[edit]

Earls Court[edit]

The cars listed are those announced in the late summer lead-up to the show or during the show. Manufacturers did announce other cars at times to suit them and as that practice grew the public lost interest and the motor show finished its long run in the mid seventies.

Year Show New cars announced for this show Photo
1948 27 October – 6 November 1948
Earls Court, London

previous show October 1938

Attendance 562,954
highest previous attendance 315,000

Jaguar XK120 open two seater — October 1948
Morris Minor — September 1948
1949 28 September to 8 October 1949
34th International Motor Show,
Earls Court[7]
Rover 75 — September 1949
1950 18 October 1950 – 28 October 1950
  • Earls Court, London.
  • 35th International Motor Exhibition.
  • The world's largest display of Cars, Boats, Caravans; carriage work, marine engines, components and accessories, tyres, transport service equipment and car trailers.
  • Open daily 10 till 9[8]
Jaguar Mark VII — October 1950
Austin A70 Hereford — October 1950
Ford Zephyr Six — October 1950
1951 17 October 1951 – 27 October 1951
Earls Court, London.
attendance was down sharply (375,000 from 480,000) because there were few new models and polling day for the General Election fell in the middle of the Show period. Purchase tax remained at its doubled rate and the choice models were export-only.
Vauxhall Velox — August 1951
Austin A30 — October 1951
1952 October 1952
Earls Court, London
Lea-Francis Lynx
1953 October 1953
Earls Court, London
Attendance 613,000
Lea-Francis Lynx
1954 October 1954
Earls Court, London
Lea-Francis Lynx
1955 October 1955
Earls Court, London
Attendance 516,000
Lea-Francis Lynx
1956 41st International Motor Exhibition
17 October 1956 – 27 October 1956
Earls Court, London
Austin Princess IV — October 1956
Austin-Healey 100-Six — September 1956
1957 16 October 1956 – 26 October 1957
Earls Court, London
1959 21 October 1959 – 31 October 1959
Earls Court, London.
Jaguar Mark 2
1960 October 1960
Earls Court, London
Lea-Francis Lynx
1961 October 1961
Earls Court, London
Lea-Francis Lynx
1962 17 October 1962 – 27 October 1962
Earls Court, London
Ford Contina Mark 1
1963 October 1963
Earls Court, London
Lea-Francis Lynx
1964 October 1964
Earls Court, London
Lea-Francis Lynx
1965 20 October 1965 – 30 October 1965
Earls Court, London
1966 19 October 1966 – 29 October 1966
Earls Court, London
1967 18 October 1967 – 28 October 1967
Earls Court, London
1968 16 October 1968 – 26 October 1968
Earls Court, London
The opening ceremony was performed by Princess Alexandra at 10 am on Wednesday 16 October.[19]
1969 October 1969
Earls Court, London
Lea-Francis Lynx
1970 October 1970
Earls Court, London
Lea-Francis Lynx
1971 October 1971
Earls Court, London
Lea-Francis Lynx
1972 18 October 1972 – 28 October 1972
Earls Court, London
The Aston Martin V8 at the 1972 Motor Show
1973 October 1973
Earls Court, London
Lea-Francis Lynx
1974 The Citroën CX had been launched a few weeks earlier at the Paris Motor Show |and was scheduled for inclusion in the 1974 London show. |It was withdrawn at the eleventh hour, possibly because the manufacturers |found themselves unable to schedule rhd production of the car till well into 1975.[22] |The model nevertheless went on to win first place |with motoring journalists voting for the European Car of the Year a few months later.
1975 October 1975
Earls Court, London
Lea-Francis Lynx
1976 October 1976
Earls Court, London
Lea-Francis Lynx

Birmingham and Docklands[edit]

Year Show New cars announced for this show Photo
1978 The International Motor Show made its first appearance at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, and attracted record crowds of 908,194.[25]
1982 The International Motor Show again appeared at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham during October of this year.[26] The two most notable new launches were the Audi 100 and Ford Sierra. Other new cars included the Austin Ambassador, and MG Metro.[27][28]
1984 20 October 1984 – 28 October 1984 NEC, Birmingham. 17–19 October were reserved for professional visitors. The show saw a total of 696,183 visitors this year.[29] Austin Montego Estate – the Design Council award winning family estate from Austin Rover[30]
Reliant Scimitar SS1
Dutton Rico[31]
1986 18 October −26 October 1986 NEC, Birmingham. Jaguar XJ (XJ40)
Renault GTA in RHD, British debut[32]
1988 22 October 1988 – 30 October 1988 NEC, Birmingham. Jaguar XJ220 – debut of Jaguar's 220 mph (350 km/h) all wheel drive (AWD) super car concept vehicle
MG Maestro Turbo[33]
Middlebridge Scimitar[34]
1998 22 October to 1 November 1998 at the NEC, Birmingham. Saw the launch of two critical saloons from British car manufacturers. The then BMW boss Bernd Pischetsrieder made an impromptu speech about the future of the Rover Longbridge plant which would then lead to the sell of the brand in 2000 and its collapse in 2005. Rover 75 – debut of the first (and last) Rover with the help of BMW
Jaguar S-Type – all new executive car from Jaguar, retro in design like the Rover.
2000 The International Motor Show remained in the Birmingham NEC during October. Honda made the news in claiming that it would have fuel cell cars on sale by 2003.[35]
2002 The 2002 show at the NEC, Birmingham featured the international Bentley Continental GT
MG SV
TVR T350[36]
2004 In 2004, the show, branded The Sunday Times Motorshow Live, was held from 27 May – 6 June, instead of the usual October. Peugeot 407 (United Kingdom Introduction)[37]
Peugeot 407 SW (United Kingdom Introduction)
2006 The 2006 British Motor Show was held in July at the ExCeL Exhibition Centre in London's Docklands. It featured a nightly post-show rock music festival called Dock Rock. Alfa Romeo Spider (United Kingdom Introduction)Aston Martin Rapide (United Kingdom Introduction)
Bentley Continental Flying Spur Mulliner Driving Specification
BMW M6 Convertible
Chevrolet Captiva (United Kingdom Introduction)
Chrysler Sebring sedan (Europe Introduction)
Dodge Nitro (Europe Introduction)
Ford Focus coupe convertible (United Kingdom Introduction)
Honda Civic 3 door hatchback


Jaguar XJR Portfolio
Jaguar XKR
Kia C segment model (codename ED)
Land Rover Freelander2/LR2 (World Introduction)
Lexus GS 300 Limited Edition
Lotus Europa S (United Kingdom Introduction)
Lotus Exige S (United Kingdom Introduction)
Mazda BT-50 (Europe Introduction)
Mazda3 MPS (United Kingdom Introduction)
Mazda MX-5 Roadster Coupe
MINI GP (United Kingdom Introduction)
Mitsubishi i (Europe Introduction)
Rolls-Royce 101EX (United Kingdom Introduction)
Saab 9-3 Convertible BioPower
SEAT León Cupra
SEAT León FR
SEAT Altea FR
Smart Fortwo EV
Toyota RAV4 (United Kingdom Introduction)
Toyota Yaris (United Kingdom Introduction)
Vauxhall Corsa 3 door and 5 door (World Introduction)
Volvo S60
Volvo S80 (United Kingdom Introduction)
Volvo XC90 (United Kingdom Introduction)

2008 The 2008 British International Motor Show was held at the ExCeL Exhibition Centre in London's Docklands from 23 July – 3 August, and was the last regular British International Motor Show. The SMMT promoted an all new showcase of the latest electric vehicle models. "The Electric Vehicle Village" brought together one of the largest collections of zero emissions vehicles ever seen in the United Kingdom, with a display of more than twenty vehicles which are propelled solely by battery power.[38] The motor show displayed an number of high priced, high performance electric cars, such as the Lightning GT and Tesla Roadster. Alfa Romeo Mito (World/United Kingdom Introduction)


Ford Focus RS
Lotus Evora
Mastretta MXT[39] (first Mexican sports car)
Nissan Qashqai+2
Ford Fiesta ECOnetic
Vauxhall Insignia
SsangYong Rexton R-Line

Concept Cars:
Cadillac CTS Coupe Concept
Chevrolet Camaro Convertible
Citroen C-Cactus
Honda OSM
Kia Excee'd Convertible
Kia Kee
Land Rover LRX
Lexus LFA Concept
Lotus Elise Eco
Saab 9-X Biohybrid BioHybrid
Smart fortwo ed

The 2006 British International Motor Show featured concerts by:

See also[edit]

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ The Times, Tuesday, Nov 14, 1905; pg. 7; Issue 37864
  2. ^ Horseless Carriages. The Times, Monday, Feb 17, 1896; pg. 7; Issue 34815
  3. ^ Jorn Madslien (24 May 2004). "Struggling motorshow in spring debut". BBC News. 
  4. ^ Julian Rendell (27 January 2009). "British motor show in crisis". Autocar. 
  5. ^ Tim Pollard (14 October 2010). "British motor show axed for good?". Car. 
  6. ^ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/cars/news/2016-london-motor-show-preview/
  7. ^ Display advertisement, page 5, Gloucestershire Echo, 24 September 1949
  8. ^ Display advertisement: Motor Show. The Times, Tuesday, Oct 03, 1950; pg. 4; Issue 51812
  9. ^ The Triumph Roadster. The Times, Saturday, Oct 14, 1950; pg. 3; Issue 51822
  10. ^ New Models At Motor Show. The Times, Wednesday, Oct 18, 1950; pg. 6; Issue 51825
  11. ^ New Austin Seven. The Times, Monday, Oct 08, 1951; pg. 4; Issue 52126
  12. ^ Lawrence, Mike (1991). A to Z of Sports Cars. Bideford, Devon: Bay View Books. p. 180. ISBN 1-870979-81-8. 
  13. ^ a b Cars Of Today by Stuart Marshall. The Times, Tuesday, Oct 19, 1965; pg. 4; Issue 56456
  14. ^ a b c d "Visitors' Guide: Hours and Charges; Opening Day; How to Get There (i.e. concerning the London Motor Show)". Autocar. Vol. 127 (nbr 3739). 12 October 1967. p. 59. 
  15. ^ a b c Basil Cardew (Ed.). Daily Express Review of the 1966 Motor Show. Beaverbrook Newspapers Ltd, London. 
  16. ^ Keith Anderson. Jensen. Haynes Publishing Group. ISBN 0-85429-682-4. 
  17. ^ "The cars : Mini development history". AR Online. 5 August 2011. Retrieved 22 August 2014. 
  18. ^ "About the FD Victor, Ventora and VX4/90". Vauxhall VX4/90 Drivers' Club. Retrieved 30 November 2013. 
  19. ^ a b c "Earls Court '68: Hours and Charges". Autocar. Vol. 129 (nbr 3791). 10 October 1968. p. 52. 
  20. ^ Braunschweig, Robert; et al., eds. (12 March 1970). "Automobil Revue '70" (in German and French). 65. Berne, Switzerland: Hallwag AG: 370. 
  21. ^ a b c d e f g h i j The Times, Thursday, Oct 12, 1972; pg. 29; Issue 58603.
  22. ^ "World-wide comment: No Citroën CX at earls Court". Autocar. 12 October 1974. p. 18. 
  23. ^ Autocar Motor Show Supplement 19 October 1974
  24. ^ a b "Brief Lotus History". The Espirit Factfile. 
  25. ^ Car Magazine 19 March 2009
  26. ^ [1]
  27. ^ 1982 in motoring#United Kingdom
  28. ^ [2]
  29. ^ "Près de 700.000 visiteurs à Birmingham" [Nearly 700,000 visitors to Birmingham]. Transporama (in French). Edegem, Belgium. 4 (31): 11. December–January 1984/1985.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  30. ^ "Story of the Montego". Maestro & Montego Owners Club. 
  31. ^ Mastrostefano, Raffaele, ed. (1985). Quattroruote: Tutte le Auto del Mondo 1985 (in Italian). Milano: Editoriale Domus S.p.A. p. 264. ISBN 88-7212-012-8. 
  32. ^ Liszewski, Nicolas. "Alpine V6 Turbo Mille Miles". Le site des amateurs et passionnés des Alpine Renault GTA (in French). Retrieved 2014-09-08. 
  33. ^ Büschi, Hans-Ulrich, ed. (9 March 1989). Automobil Revue 1989 (in German and French). 84. Berne, Switzerland: Hallwag AG. p. 400. ISBN 3-444-00482-6. 
  34. ^ Automobil Revue 1989, p. 401
  35. ^ The Guardian 12 November 2000
  36. ^ What Car? 22 October 2002 Archived 18 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
  37. ^ "Peugeot At The Sunday Times Motor Show Live 2004". May 12, 2004. Retrieved August 4, 2016. 
  38. ^ British Motor Show "Plugs In" To Demand For Electric Vehicles Archived 7 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
  39. ^ Automóvil Panamericano, No. 163 (15 July 2008), p.20

External links[edit]