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From left: A 1939 Bugatti Type 57C Voll & Ruhrbeck Cabriolet and a 1931 Daimler Double-Six 50 Corsica Drophead Coupe at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Photography by Kimball Studios and courtesy of Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance
 

The World’s Best Car Shows: 2019 Edition

Article by Jonathan Thompson 03.05.2019

More than 100 million motor vehicles will be sold worldwide in 2019, with the vast majority of buyers sticking to the basic three-pronged approach: “eye it, try it, buy it.” For the true automobile aficionado, however, there’s a series of high-end car shows around the globe, starting with the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance in March. From vintage speedsters to cutting-edge driverless technology, if you’re into your wheels, these are the car shows you should be adding to your calendar.

Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance

2018 Amelia Concours - Field & Crowd 232A - Deremer Studios LLC

Photography by DeremerStudios.com

This pretty Floridian island is home to one of the most iconic car meets on the planet. It’s not the only Concours d’Elegance (French for “competition of elegance” — an event where prestigious vehicles are judged) in the United States, but it may be the most fun, with a series of parties and events thrown throughout the festival. Hundreds of beautiful classics descend on The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island for four days every March for a series of popular ride-and-drives, competitions, seminars and a hotly anticipated silent auction, presided over by Sotheby’s. This year’s guest of honor is legendary Formula One and Le Mans driver Jacky Ickx. March 7–10, 2019; ameliaconcours.org

 

Geneva International Motor Show

Ambiance / Honda

Photography courtesy of Geneva International Motor Show

A must for buyers and aficionados of specialist cars, the Geneva International Motor Show is unique in that it hosts lots of smaller manufacturers at the higher end of the market. That combination means the regular unveiling of exotic supercars, such as last year’s McLaren Senna GTR Concept, as well as major innovations, from breakthroughs in style and design to security and comfort. Held in the Swiss city since 1905, its current home is at Palexpo, next to Geneva’s Cointrin International Airport. March 7–17, 2019; gims.swiss

 

Auto Shanghai

Photography by IMAG GmbH

Nearly a million people attend Shanghai’s biennial car show, making it one of the biggest in the world. It has the hardware to back the hype too, with more than 2,000 companies showcasing their products, and around 100 new cars introduced each time. First held in 1985, it’s the flagship event for a Chinese automotive industry that keeps hitting the accelerator in terms of advanced technology and R&D concepts. You can thank Auto Shanghai for the introduction to the masses of the BMW M4 and the Tesla Model 3, to take just two examples. Needless to say, the eyes of the world’s automotive experts will be firmly on China once again this spring. April 18–25, 2019; autoshanghai.auto-fairs.com

 

New York International Auto Show

The Hyundai Genesis Essentia at the 2018 New York International Auto Show.

New York’s premier car show dates back to 1900, when 160 vehicles were parked proudly at Madison Square Garden, ranging in cost from $280 (an average six months’ salary at the time) to a mind-boggling $4,800. Fast-forward to the present day, and nearly 1,000 new models will be on display this April, at what has become North America’s best-attended auto show. The 10-day event has a reputation for showcasing headline-grabbing concept cars (like the exquisite Hyundai Genesis Essentia in 2018), with innovations aplenty over four floors at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in midtown Manhattan. April 19–28, 2019; autoshowny.com

 

Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance

Photography by Kimball Studios and courtesy of Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance

The first Concours in North America was held at Pebble Beach in 1950, and it’s going strong today. The finale of Monterey Car Week, it sees some of the most unique and best-preserved vehicles from every time period basking in the spotlight — and the sunshine — on California’s central coast. The highlight is the lavish Tour d’Elegance, which sees scores of gorgeous automobiles gliding in convoy around the Monterey Peninsula’s picturesque seaside roads. August 13–18, 2019; pebblebeachconcours.net

 

Dubai International Motor Show

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Photography by Viacheslav Khmelnytskyi/Alamy

Dubai loves expensive cars, so it’s little surprise that it loves its biennial International Motor Show too. The popular event — which takes place every other November as part of the Dubai Motor Festival — is only in its 13th edition this year but is already one of the most high-profile, high-octane and high-powered pageants of them all. Picture the world’s fastest, sleekest supercars, all in the same place at the same time. Then add more than 100,000 automotive professionals and enthusiasts from all over the world and you have one of the fastest growing, most influential events in the industry. Nov. 12–16, 2019; dubaimotorshow.com

 

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Plan Your Stay in These Destinations


  • Amelia Island

    Location Amelia Island, Florida

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    Experience Beautiful lakefront setting with Michelin-starred restaurant and luxury accommodations.

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