Indianapolis Challenges New York

This article was published in the January 7, 1910 Indianapolis Star. I find the article interesting in that it further illustrates how Indianapolis Motor Speedway President and Founder Carl Fisher wanted to use the track as a multi-purpose facility. In addition to the obvious auto races but the vision of the track as America's capital of aviation. This article discusses his vision of using the track to compete with major markets such as New York for the big automobile shows. The Indianapolis Automobile Trade Association had staged auto shows for several years but this was a run at moving from a regional to national show.
With a wealth of auto manufacturers based in Indianapolis and the reasonably close proximity of Detroit, Fisher saw an opportunity to leverage his investment in the Speedway as a unique, powerful and differentiating selling point to rival especially New York for the major automobile shows. The New York automobile show was already the grand daddy of the all such events and according to this article was established in 1898.
The article reports that in April 1909 twenty-five leading auto manufacturers had secretly met in Indianapolis with plans to stage the next big auto show at the track in a new display building yet-to-be constructed. Representatives of the American Motor Car Manufacturers Association (AMCMA), the Association of Licensed Automobile Manufacturers (ALAM) and the American Automobile Association (AAA). Apparently the meeting had been kept as a big secret until Fisher calculated that the moment of this article was the time that best served his goals to spill the beans.
Here's a great quote from Fisher that provides insight to his reasoning:
"Indianapolis is situated so that an enormous expense will be saved manufacturers," said Fisher last night. "The winter show is a dead issue. The fall show will take its place and will be an outdoor affair. It has many advantages. One is the chance to demonstrate what the cars can do. As it is, a salesman walks the visitors around and points to a car saying it will run sixty miles and hour and all that line of talk. At the Speedway here that salesman will have to run his car on the track and prove his assertions. Races will be held in connection with the show. Detroit manufacturers will be nearer to us. We have the only enclosed Speedway suitable for outdoor carnivals in the land."
Fisher's primary position was based on the Speedway as a great platform for cars to be proven to the consumer and for sharp cost reductions to the manufacturers in utilizing tents at the Speedway instead of leasing New York buildings or incuring the expense of shipping their people and equipment. The negative not discussed was that the midwest market was no where near as large as New York. This plannng would lead to a March 1910 auto show that would include use of the Speedway.

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