The country needed a jump-start and Richard Grant, national sales chief for General Motors Co., came to the Cleveland Auto Show with a jolt. Ditch your showrooms for living rooms, he told 1,600 auto salesmen and local leaders at an opening luncheon Jan. 30. A little salesmanship might kick the Great Depression. “The country is sound — what we need is confidence,” Grant said, according to the Cleveland News.
Indeed, more than 61,000 people flocked to see the newest Packards, Cadillacs and Fords. That year Ford introduced the Model B, still a favorite today among car collectors, which featured the new flathead V-8 engine. Buyers wandered among the 130 cars, witnessing how the vehicles had changed since the first show in 1903. They took in the latest gadgets, such as a rearview mirror with an internal clock that displayed the numbers like a stock ticker.
But a good salesman never trusts confidence alone. Thus a fashion show featured models prancing in a “speakeasy frock,” “beach pajamas” and a “brasserie suit,” which left “ample room for sun-tan,” the Cleveland Press noted. All five shows in the 1,000-seat Public Hall were full one day, the paper said, “and not all the spectators were women — decidedly not.”