Business magnate and founder of the Ford Motor Company, Henry Ford is credited to have made the automobile an accessible conveyance for Americans in the 20th century. Following the success of his company, he became one of the richest and best-known people in the world. He also became known for his pacifism during the first years of World War I.
Ferdinand Porsche was an Austrian-German automotive engineer. He is credited with founding one of the most popular car companies in the world, Porsche AG. He is also credited with creating the Lohner-Porsche mixed hybrid, the first gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle. During World War II, Porsche was a prominent contributor to the German war effort.
John DeLorean was an American inventor and engineer. Highly regarded for his work at General Motors, John DeLorean was an influential figure in the US automobile industry. He is credited with founding the popular American automobile manufacturer, The DeLorean Motor Company. DeLorean’s life inspired a couple of documentary films, including Framing John DeLorean where he was played by Alec Baldwin.
Soichiro Honda was a Japanese industrialist and engineer. He is credited with establishing the world-renowned automobile manufacturer, Honda Motor Co., Ltd. He is also credited with overseeing the company's growth from a wooden shack manufacturing unit to a multinational conglomerate manufacturer of motorcycle and automobile. Soichiro Honda was made an inductee of the Automotive Hall of Fame in 1989.
Ettore Bugatti was an automobile designer and manufacturer. He is credited with founding the popular car manufacturer Automobiles E. Bugatti, which gained prominence as the maker of some of the fastest and technologically advanced cars of its day. In 2000, Ettore Bugatti was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame.
Karl Benz was a German engine designer, automotive engineer, and entrepreneur. He designed the Benz Patent Motorcar, for which he received a patent in 1886. He studied mechanical engineering at the University of Karlsruhe before venturing into developing motorcars. His Benz Patent Motorcar is widely regarded as the world's first production automobile.
Colin Chapman was an English inventor, design engineer, and builder in the automotive industry. He is credited with founding the popular British automotive company, Lotus Cars. Chapman is best remembered for achieving major automotive technical advances through his sports car company Lotus Cars. Under Colin Chapman’s leadership, Team Lotus won six F1 Drivers' Championships and seven Formula One Constructors' titles.
Remembered widely as the grandson of Porsche founder Ferdinand Porsche, Ferdinand Piech later joined Audi. He is also known for converting Volkswagen from a loss-making firm to one of the world leaders in the global automobile scene. He had apparently fathered 12 children with several women.
One of his parents’ 10 children, George Pullman initially took over his father’s carpentry business and secured contracts with New York for the Erie Canal project. The founder of the Pullman sleeping car and a company town, Pullam was criticized for using the military to violently end the 1894 Pullman Strike.
Charles F. Kettering was an American engineer, inventor, and businessman. Kettering is credited with founding Delco Electronics Corporation. Holder of 186 patents, Kettering is also credited with the invention of Freon refrigerant for air conditioning and refrigeration systems. Over the course of his career, Charles F. Kettering won prestigious awards like the IEEE Edison Medal, Hoover Medal, and Franklin Medal.
Famous for his designs of car and airplane engines, fifteen years old Frederick Henry Royce learned engineering through hands-on during his apprenticeship at Great Northern Railway Company rather than through education. At twenty-one, he started his own engineering business, manufacturing electrically driven cranes, dynamos, and motors, eventually drawing the attention of C.S. Rolls, co-founding the Rolls Royce Company with him.
Known as the Big Daddy of drag racing, Don Garlits was not just a race-car driver but also a qualified automotive engineer. After his right foot was severed in a major car explosion, he perfected the safety standards of racing, creating the first fire-resistant bodysuit and the Top Fuel dragster rear engine.
Known as the Mad Mechanic, Harry Ferguson was the man behind the invention of the modern tractor, popularly known as the Wee Grey Fergie. He was also the first Irish to build and fly his own plane. His legacy lives on in the Massey Ferguson brand of agricultural machinery.
While initially working in the machine plants and firearms industries, Henry M. Leland gradually mastered the art of toolmaking and manufacturing. He later revolutionized the auto industry and was the man behind the car brands Cadillac and Lincoln. He introduced inventions such as the electric starter and the V-8 engine.
Claude-François-Dorothée, marquis de Jouffroy d'Abbans was a French engineer and naval architect. He is credited with inventing the first steamboat, which in turn led to the first industrial revolution. He is also credited with developing a steamship named Palmipède and a paddle steamer called Pyroscaphe. In 1803, Robert Fulton used Jouffroy d'Abbans' ideas to sail a steamship on the Seine.