Organised by the Automobile Club of Victoria, the Victorian Motor Exhibition at the Royal Exhibition Building (REB), from 31 August - 7 September 1912, was the first motor trade show held in Victoria. A total of 54 exhibitors displayed components, tyres, fuels, oils, accessories and coachwork as well as imported complete cars and motor cycles. Beneath the dome of the REB the exhibition space was decorated with white, blue and gold painted stands with a touch of red added for effect. There were also strings of electric lights illuminated at night. A theme of the event was to illustrate the progress made in motor car design since the first cars appeared on Australian roads in the late 1890s. The Vacuum Oil Co. stand featured a number of these "old pioneer cars" as the The Leader newspaper of 7 September 1912 described them. The cars included the 1899 Thomson steam car now held by Museum Victoria. A race was organised on the cycling track between a 1900 De Dion motorised tricycle and a 1912 FN 2 hp motor cycle to compare the two machines. The FN won but the event was also motivated by the need to have a 'sporting' event at the Exhibition in order to obtain a liquor licence. The theme of progress was taken up by the Governor Sir John Fuller who noted in his opening address that the South Kensington Museum in London had recently obtained a horsedrawn Hansom Cab as an example of an outmoded vehicle and the motor car was here to stay.

An estimated 40,000 people attended during the week of the Exhibition which was open from 11am to 10pm each day. The Exhibition was considered a commercial success with many cars carrying a sold sign by the end of the show but some newspaper commentators criticised the lack of innovative new designs on display. Popular exhibits included a stripped chassis of a Ford Model T at the Tarrant Motors stand with the cut-away engine and differential driven by an electric motor. Despite the positive public response the next Victorian motor show was not held until 1925, however since then it has generally been held annually.

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