The Metropolitan Auto Dealers Association is a 100 year old non-profit trade association that exists to serve and promote the franchised new motor vehicle dealers of metro Oklahoma City. Established May 4, 1916, MADA currently has over 57 members representing 39 car lines. MADA produces the annual Oklahoma City International Auto Show each March and the Auto Show at the Oklahoma State Fair each September. The Organization offers educational seminars, publications and dealer events to member dealers.
The Association also has its own charitable foundation, Car Dealers Care Foundation, whose mission is to assist individuals and organizations who are in need of charitable, educational and medical support. Funds are raised from new car dealers and its charity golf tournament held every May.
Franchised new auto dealership sales figures for new and used vehicles are collected and published by MADA. This valuable Information is available for a reasonable fee.
A History of the Auto Show
Over one hundred sixteen years ago, May 1900, J.H. Everest, an up-and-coming young lawyer, ordered the first automobile in Oklahoma City from the Mobile Steamer Company in Chicago. Five years later, there were two car dealers in Oklahoma City, Jeffries Auto Co. at 207 W. California and Oklahoma Auto Company at 124 W. Grand. By 1910, there were ten dealerships all located within a six block area selling lines like Stoddard-Dayton, Winton Six, Chalmers, Flanders, Franklins, Maxwells, EMF, Sellers, Ford and Cadillac.
In 1916 the Oklahoma City Motor Car Dealers’ Association began, as did the idea for the Annual Automobile Show. The earliest meeting recorded was on Tuesday evening, November 14, 1916 at the Studebaker Building with President Walter Vesper presiding (note: current day popularity of historic architectural renovation of the Automobile Alley district has saved and restored the original Vesper dealership located on the corner of Broadway and 13th). Meetings were regularly held at the Skirvin Hotel, the Dungeon of the Lee-Huckins Hotel or at the various dealerships.
Minutes from the archives also mention on that day the discussion with Mr. Sumner T. Bisbee of The Daily Oklahoman addressing the subject of a $30 million bond issue to build hard surfaced roads in Oklahoma County. The Association endorsed the bond and recommended the section of road commencing at the end of Linwood Blvd. and running N.W. connecting El Reno Blvd. at Putnam City.
The first Oklahoma City Auto Show was held January 23-26, 1917. However, the original ledger books’ earliest recording of the Auto Show was in 1922. It was the 6th annual show.
Sites for the show varied, including locations on the 2nd floor of the John Deere Building, State Fair Grounds, the Live Stock Pavilion, Carhart Motor Company Building (6th & Broadway), and the Coliseum Building in Packingtown.