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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk


The New York Times
December 26, 1909

Exhibits Valued at Over $1,000,000 Will Show Latest Improvements in 1910 Models.


Foreign Cars Will Add to General Appearance of Display—Many Meetings Scheduled for Show Week.

Cars To Be Exhibited.

Fal Car,
Kissel Kar,

C. G. V.
De Dion,
S. P. A.
American Truck, *Brush,
*Members of the American Motor Car Manufacturers' Association.

Features of the Show.

Opens New Year's Eve; closes Jan. 7.
Three hundred and twenty-five exhibitors.
Value of exhibits, $1,100,000.
Lowest priced car, $378.
Highest priced car, $10,000.
Expected attendance, 110,000.
Seventy-two exhibits of leading American cars.
Twelve exhibits of foreign cars.
Seventeen exhibits of commercial vehicles.
Fastest American light car, Maxwell.
Fastest foreign light car, Lancia.
Fastest American car, National.
Fastest foreign car, Fiat—102 miles an hour.
Number of square feet exhibition space, 72,000.
Expected attendance of carriage dealers, 1,500.
Expected attendance of automobile dealers, 4,000.
$30,000 expended for decoration.
Society night, Tuesday.
Exhibit of famous racing trophies, including Grand Prize Gold Cup.
Acceptance from public officials for private view, 3 P. M., Dec. 31; Army and Navy Night, Engineers' Night, Merchants' Night, and New York Night.
Show under management of American Motor Car Manufacturers' Association, with Importers' Automobile Salon and Motor and Accessory Manufactuers.

Headquarters during week for American Automobile Association, New York Automobile Trade Association, Bureau of Tours of Automobile Club of America, and American Motor Car Manufacturers' Association.
Show Committee—R.E. Olds, Chairman; Benjamin Briscoe, H. O. Smith, S. H. Mora, E. R. Hollander, David J. Post, and Alfred Reeves, General Manager.

Holiday time is show time in the motor car industry, and after months of preparation everything is in readiness for the formal opening of the Tenth International Automobile Show at Grand Central Palace, on Friday night, New Year's Eve.  The exhibition, which is held under the auspices of the American Motor Car Manufacturers' Association, will be one of the largest shows of its kind ever held in the history of the industry.  All sizes and types of motor vehicles, ranging from the cheap high-wheeled buggyabout up to the heaviest truck or the most luxurious limousine car, will be shown.

There are no less than 325 individual exhibitors, including 84 different and distinct makes of cars.  This display of complete machines includes the product of a dozen of the leading European factories, which will be shown by the members of the Importers' Automobile Salon, while the other exhibits of cars include the best examples and latest ideas in motor car construction from 72 of the leading American makers.  In this connection it is stated that 19 of the American makers will also show a full line of commercial vehicles, ranging from a little delivery cart, costing $500, up to huge five and ten ton trucks that are valued at $6,500.

Among the pleasure type of vehicles the values show a similar range in price, from the little Brush runabout selling for $485 up to the costly imported Renault or Fiat limousine selling for $6,000 or over.

In addition to this, however, there is one tiny car, which is listed for the small sum of $378.  This little car is delivered on the installment plan by a rather curious arrangement, in which the car is sold in units or sections on installments of about $25 each, and with each payment certain portions of the mechanism of the car are delivered.  After fourteen payments a set of blue prints is furnished, and the owner is supposed to assemble the car like so much knocked down furniture and ride off with it.  The last consignment of the factory, by the way, includes a pot of paint and a brush to complete the job with.

According to statisticians who have figured the matter out 72,000 feet of floor space will be utilized in this year's show, but at that nearly double the space would have been sold if the room had been available.  The total value of exhibits is over $1,000,000.  To decorate the building $30,000 has been spent turning it into a huge trellis garden.

According to Charles E. Duryea, the technical expert of the association, the general tendency, except, possibly, in town cars, seems to be toward longer wheel bases, lighter and shorter motors, wider doors and enclosed front seats.  Magnetos are almost universal and there is also a decided leaning toward longer springs and larger wheel sizes and tires.

At one time, owing to the tremendous number of newcomers in the automobile manufacturing field, and the announcement of the production of 200,000 cars for 1910, it looked as if there would be an overproduction of machines and that prices would have to come down.  Fortunately these statements were exaggerated and not only will there not be an overproduction, but in all probability a shortage of cars will exist before Summer, and instead of a cut in prices most of the makers of cheap and medium priced cars have added from $50 to $200 to their last year's prices.  This is due to several causes.  In the first place not over 125,000 cars will be built.  Secondly, the manufacturers have not been able to get parts from the accessory people, and, thirdly, the cost of rubber and other material entering into the construction of cars has advanced so rapidly that higher prices were almost necessary and imperative.

For seven months the Show Committee, consisting of R. E. Olds, Chairman; Benjamin Briscoe, S. H. Mora, H. O. Smith, E. R. Hollander, D. J. Post, and Alfred Reeves, the General Manager, have been working on the scheme, and that their efforts will be crowned with success will be the unanimous verdice of all those who visit the show.  Expense has been a secondary consideration.  Money expended in the decorative display has transformed the palace into a dreamland of artistic beauty.

Outside of the trellis garden area, the decorative scheme involves a lattice and landscape effect, set off by mirrors, electric fountain, and myriads of glistening lights.  No glare will meet the eye, however, as the lights are cunningly masked behind alabaster globes or concealed by growing plants.

Briefly the color scheme and decorative effect will be nile green lattice work on a soft caen stone background, while the roof will resemble a huge trellis arbor hung with grape vines through which the sky is faintly seen and the whole is illuminated by a number of immense alabaster globes of light, which are hung by chains from the ceiling.

While many high priced cars are on sale, the Palace exhibition has always been famous for the number of low and medium priced cars which are exhibited.  For this reason it is the real dealers' show of the year.  Thousands of automobile and carriage tradesmen from all over the cauntry make their annual pilgrimage to New York to attend this particular show.  An indication of the interest of the carriage trade in the Grand Central Palace exhibition is shown by the request of hundreds of carriage dealers for courtesies similar to those extended last year, and as a result, 2,500 invitations have been extended to carriage dealers all over the country.

While the marketing and selling of cars and the exploiting of their merits to the agents and the public form the chief object of the show, any number of meetings, dinners, and conferences have been planned for show week.  So many in fact that the manufacturers will have to keep on the jump to attend half the functions that have been arranged for their benefit.

One of the most important meetings of the week is that of the Manufacturers' Contest Association, which will be held at the Manhattan Hotel on Friday, Jan. 7.  This is the first annual meeting of the association since its formation nearly a year ago.  President Benjamin Briscoe will preside and make his first annual report, telling what the association has accomplished, and it is also likely that next year's campaign will be outlined.

On Saturday night, Jan. 1, all of the exhibitors and their employes have been invited to attend a smoker at the Automobile Club of America.  On Monday, Jan. 3, the New York Automobile Trade Association will hold its annual meeting at noon in the Manhattan Hotel, while Wednesday, Jan. 5, is set for the annual meeting and banquet of the Motor and Accessory Manufacturers.

On Thursday, Jan. 6, there will be meeting of the Committee of Management of the American Motor Car Manufacturers' Association at 2 o'clock, while at 7 o'clock in the evening the Maxwell-Briscoe Motor Company will give their annual dealers' dinner at the Hotel Manhattan.

While the show will not be formally opened to the public until 8 o'clock on Friday night, New Year's Eve, there will be a private view at 3 o'clock on Friday afternoon, and special invitations have been extended to Mayor-elect Gaynor, retiring Mayor McClellan, and to President E. H. Gary and his fellow-members of the Automobile Club of America.

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