The Los Angeles International Auto Show doesn't always receive the attention it deserves. As the home of car culture in America, the LA auto show always brings out big crowds and plenty of world debuts from manufacturers curious to see what kind of response their latest creations generate. From its humble beginnings in an exhibition tent back in 1907, the Los Angeles auto show has grown to become one of the biggest new car shows in the country.
As its popularity has grown, so has the size of the LA auto show, which has required a number of venue changes throughout the years. Its first permanent location was in the Pan Pacific Auditorium that opened its doors in 1935. An example of Streamline Moderne Architecture, which was the successor to Art Deco, the Pan Pacific sported towers and flagpoles reminiscent of aircraft fins. Cars on display at that time would have included models from prestigious makes such as Auburn, Cadillac, Chrysler, Cord, Duesenburg, Lincoln and Packard. Of course, there were also cars for the common man, with Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford and Pontiac displaying their latest sedans, coupes and pickup trucks.
As with the other car shows, there wasn't much to show during the '40s, due to World War II taking three models years ('43, '44, and '45) out of American automobile production. In 1959 the LA Sports Arena opened, a sleek building that looked decades ahead of its time, with its uncluttered styling contrasting with the over-the-top car designs (such as the early 1960s Cadillacs with their jet plane-inspired tail fins) on view at the Los Angeles auto show at that time.
The 1970s saw another change in location for the LA auto show, as 1971 marked the show's move to its current venue, the Los Angeles Convention Center. Offering a massive amount of floor space, the Convention Center measures 760,000 square feet, or roughly the same area as 17 football fields. Vehicles on display reflected America's love affair with big luxury cars, as land yachts such as the Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham, Chrysler Imperial and Lincoln Mark IV dazzled auto show patrons with their flashy styling, plush interiors and massive engines.
The 1980s had the Los Angeles auto show exhibiting memorable cars such as the Buick Grand National, a blacked-out, turbocharged Regal that ran the quarter faster than most any muscle car of the '60s. It also had some more forgettable efforts on display, such as the Chevy Citation, Ford Tempo and Renault Alliance.