Auto Show History
1886 – Dallas State Fair & Exposition (later called State Fair of Texas) is organized and presented on 80 acres of what is now the 277-acre Fair Park.
1899 – First “horseless carriage” arrives in Dallas with a sticker price of $1,500.
1901 – Auto racing debuts at the Fair. Sunday programs feature match-ups between two full-size cars, plus some motorcycle vs. horse contests.
1904 – Steam, gas and electric-powered vehicles are displayed on the track before the horse races at the State Fair. The event is widely regarded as the first automobile show in Dallas.
1913 – The State Fair’s first automobile building showcases 175 new models. Local dealers give away a $500 vehicle.
1919 – Even a sizeable addition to the auto building proves to be too small to house a car show that now ranks with Chicago and New York as the nation’s largest.
1922 – A new Automobile & Manufacturers Building is constructed near the front of the park at a cost of $150,000.
1941 – Because there are few ’42 models planned, the auto show is cancelled at the 1941 Fair.
1942 – A February fire destroys the 20-year-old automobile building. No immediate replacement is planned due to a shortage of supplies. World War II eventually shut down the event itself: No State Fairs were held from 1942 – 1945.
1946 – The first post-war Fair boasts only one ’47 model and is staged under mammoth tents.
1948 – A new Automobile, Aviation and Recreation Building is built at a cost of $800,000 and dedicated on opening day of the Fair, Oct. 9.
1985 – Things cooled considerably when air-conditioning was added. Outside, the exterior was restored to its Art Deco glory destroyed in the ’42 fire.
1989 – Growing pains force the addition of 50,000 sq. ft. in the Centennial Building. The State Fair Auto Show mushroomed to 160,000 sq. ft. of display space. Outdoors, a new Truck Zone is created – Chevrolet is the sole exhibitor.
1996 – The Classic Corral debuts with close to 180 vehicles during nine display days. Approximately 8,000 sq. ft. are occupied by the collectibles.
2002 -”World in Motion” is selected as the annual theme to highlight the introduction of the Luxury Showroom in the Centennial Building.
2006 – Now housed in two buildings and spilling over into an outdoor truck area, the State Fair Auto Show is a 300,000 sq. ft. extravaganza of cars, activities and entertainment. The Truck Zone has grown to 135,000 sq. ft. and accommodates all the major light truck manufacturers.
2009 – It’s Lucky 13 for the number of years the Fair has featured the Classic Corral — More than 1,000 vintage and collectable vehicles will be showcased during the 24 day run of the State Fair. See schedule here.