The oldest automobile show in China I know is the exhibition organised by the National Good Road Association of China in Shanghai, September 1931.
With your entrance ticket you could win a car: first price Buick sedan, second price Ford Town Sedan and third price Morris Minor Sedan. You find the cars in the advertisement here under.
At the show was China’s first truck, the Minsheng 75. You remember the truck from an earlier China Car History article. When the truck factory was destroyed by the Japanese invasion in Manchuria, the Shanghai people organised a demonstration, with the Minsheng truck in front.
The second show in this list is the North China Trade Exhibition in 1951. Both the Tianjin Jeep and the Tianjin Station wagon were exhibited here.
In October 1958 in Beijing the National Exhibition of Industry and Communications was organised. The first generation Made in China cars were here to see: Heping first model, Jinggangshan two-door prototype, Hongqi CA72 prototype and Dongfeng CA71. A beautiful colour film with images of the show you can find at youtube (the cars at 8:29).
A year later (1959) a second Industrial Exhibition in Beijing to show the achievements of the Chinese society was opened. Here the Hongqi CA72 prototype, the Beijing limousine and the Haiyan CK730 (first series) minicar were exposed.
From 1959 till 1965 the Hongqi CA72 (production model) made a world tour along Fairs. Via the Leipziger Messe in East Germany, the fair in Plovdiv (Bulgaria), Poznan (Poland) and Tokyo to Paris (Foire de Paris).
From 1967 on there was a permanent exhibition in the Shanghai Industrial Exhibition Pavilion.
The cars shown were the Haiyan SW710, the Shanghai SH760 and the Shanghai SH761 parade car. And some buses.
The parade car was used to photograph important guests, like Edgar Snow on the next photo (sorry for the bad quality).
In 1969, “Automobiles from China on Show” was seen in Macao. I am not certain, but I think the same show had already been in Hong Kong in 1968.
To end this story with one the most important places where you could see Chinese automobiles in those early years: the bi-annual Canton (Guangzhou) Trade Fair. Here some examples of exhibited vehicles:
At the 1969 (Spring) Chinese Export Commodities Fair in Guangzhou the Hongwei GZ140 (first series) (made in Guangzhou) 3.5 ton truck was exhibited. Here also a better picture of the truck in the streets of Guangzhou.
At the Spring (April) 1976 Fair, three prototypes based on the Beijing BJ212 were shown.
At the April 1978 Fair, trucks made by the Lingyuan Auto Works, named Liaoning LN140, were exhibited.
Like always: please comment! Send additonal info (shows we missed, pictures or newspaper articles about the shows we mentioned here) etc.! Very welcome!