The first truck fair at Elmia in Jönköping was held in 1983. Then, as now, it was a collaboration between trade publications Svensk Åkeritidning and Trailer Magazine, the Swedish Association of Road Transport Companies and Elmia. It was immediately clear the fair met a great need. There had been nothing like it in Sweden before, and even this first time some 27,000 visitors turned up.

The programme included the Nordic Trophy, a comprehensive conference programme organised by the Swedish Association of Road Transport Companies, and Swedish championships in crane operation and vehicle manoeuvring. The fair's arrangement turned out to be virtually perfect from the beginning. Today, 30 years later, Elmia Lastbil still follows the same basic structure, even though some new elements have obviously been added, such as high-tech IT systems and the Sweden's Best School youth event.