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Whether you’re into classic cars or AI vehicles of the future, outrageously customised wagons or record-breaking race cars, these motoring shows are sure to satisfy. They are among the most highly regarded automotive events of the world, garnering colossal international crowds that jostle for a chance to feast their eyes on the engine-powered gems they wish resided in their garages. With cars so gorgeous, they’ll have you salivating at every second – perhaps even contemplating trading your wife for a ride in your new one. While most of the vehicles you’ll see would probably never fit into your budget in a million years, it’s nonetheless worth the $1,000 air ticket just to bask in their exquisite presence. Here are the top six car festivals you have to visit at least once in your lifetime.
1. Geneva International Motor Show
Coming to its 88th edition in 2018, the Geneva International Motor Show has been around for almost as long as the invention of automobiles. Serving up iconic debuts since 1905, the 2018 show will feature 180 exhibitors, a dedicated spot for race car enthusiasts, and give special attention to energy-efficient roadsters (specifically those that produce a maximum of 95g of carbon dioxide per km). But fret not, the hallowed grounds still maintain its reputation as supercars galore. A few of the crowd favourites from 2017 include Koenigsegg’s Regera, a strapping show-stopper with a robotised body, a 800-volt electrical system, and a removable top, as well as the aerodynamically potent Peugeot Instinct, which boasts a concrete interior trim and a holographic instrument screen. Are you sold yet?
Date: 8 – 18 March 2018 <ENDED>
Next Session: 7 to 17 March 2019
Location: Palexpo Convention Center, Geneva, Switzerland
Official Website: https://www.gims.swiss/en/
2. Woodward Dream Cruise
The Woodward Dream Cruise is a free annual affair that sees a parade of vintage wheels cruising down Woodward Avenue in Detroit every third Saturday of August. A classic car show that’s steeped in history, its inception in 1995 can be traced back to a blooming automotive culture in the 1950s in Detroit, starting with the popularity of street racing. Woodward Avenue, which was also the first mile-long concrete road built in America, became the go-to spot for unregulated street races, leading to the development of automotive businesses in the area. When the idea of a car cruise fundraiser was proposed (as a means to support the building of a soccer field in the Ferndale neighbourhood), it managed to attract the attention of more people than they’d expected. Today, the number of spectators has reached an upwards of a million, with over 50,000 cars driving viewers down memory lane.
Date: 18 August 2018 <ENDED>
Next Session: 17 August 2019
Location: Woodward Avenue in Detroit, Michigan, United States
Official Website: http://woodwarddreamcruise.com/
3. Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance
Another automotive convention that’s tailored specifically for vintage vehicles, the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance is also a charity event and a competition that judges the most sophisticated prewar and postwar motoring relics. At this Californian fundraiser, you’ll get to come close to some of the rarest cars in the world, preserved to startling perfection. While it is held every year in August like the Woodward Dream Cruise, it only showcases a tight selection of about 200 cars, making sure that only the best of the best make the final cut. A few of the collectible antiques that have snagged the top spot of the competition include a gleaming 1913 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Tourer, and a stunning 1928 Mercedes-Benz 680S Saoutchik Torpedo Roadster in more recent years.
Date: 26 August 2018 <ENDED>
Next Session: 18 August 2019
Location: Pebble Beach Golf Links in Pebble Beach, California
Official Website: https://www.pebblebeachconcours.net/
4. Goodwood Festival of Speed
For major enthusiasts of race cars, the Goodwood Festival of Speed is an unmissable event. Celebrating its silver jubilee this year in 2018, it specialises in historic speedsters including Formula One cars that have raced through the bounds of time. The yearly hill climb spans a couple of days, and features a bevy of internal events. For instance, visitors can witness the rubber-burning Forest Rally Stage, and participate in the Off-Road Arena that takes passengers for a wild spin. It’s even grown to feature motorbikes and aircraft. One of the additional perks of being at the Goodwood Festival of Speed is that you might get a glimpse of celebrity speed lovers such as Keanu Reeves gracing the event.
Date: 13 – 15 July 2018 <ENDED>
Next Session: July 2019 (Actual dates TBC)
Location: Goodwood Estate, Chichester, England
Official Website: https://www.goodwood.com/flagship-events/festival-of-speed/
5. Frankfurt Auto Show
While the first three motoring fiestas cater largely to fans of classic (and custom) rides, this one is for the forward thinkers. Lauded as one of the largest car shows in the world, the Frankfurt Auto Show showcases the latest and greatest of the automobile industry. If you want the first look at the newest models and concepts that are pushing the standards and possibilities of what a car is capable of, this is an exciting place to be. For instance, the 2017 Frankfurt Auto Show debuted a flying car by AeroMobil that switches between a plane and a car in three minutes, and drives at a top speed of 160 km/h. And speaking of flying, it also showcased the new Jaguar E-Pace crossover, which broke records earlier in the year when it soared through the air in a 15.3m barrel roll. The mammoth showcase is held annually, but alternates between commercial vehicles and passenger cars each year.
Date: 20 – 27 September 2018
Location: Deutsche Messe – Hannover Exhibition Center, Germany
Official Website: https://www.iaa.de/
6. Tokyo Motor Show
Japan is widely known to be on the cutting edge of technology, so it’s no surprise that the Tokyo Motor Show comes armed with thrilling rides that are sure to send tingles down the spine of any motor nerd. Occurring only every other year, it focuses on high-tech concept cars so achingly sleek, you’d think you’ve stepped into a sci-fi dreamland. It also meant that the 2017 show featured a great deal of autonomous, electric and hybrid stunners. Yamaha unveiled a pickup/SUV vehicle with “diamond seating”, where the driver is positioned at the centre between two seats at the side, while Toyota awed crowds with its bold SUV/van hybrid that suits both off-road and city drives and features seats that fold flat to the floor for extra space. If that’s what 2017 offered, imagine what future years could bring.
Date: 26 October – 3 November 2019 (Actual Dates TBC)
Location: Tokyo Big Sight
Official Website: http://www.tokyo-motorshow.com/en/