Stars and Cars
Most Influential Individuals in Automotive History.
posted on Dec 16 2014 by Gabe Grover
Nearly everyone can understand the importance of cars in our society today, without them; a lot of us would be stranded at our doorstep every morning.
But people rarely stop and ask themselves who’s behind the automotive industry, and who formed it.
We’ve scoured the books of history and here’re who we believe are the most influential individuals in automotive history.
Perhaps the most infamously influential individual in the motoring world today is journalist and television presenter, Jeremy Clarkson. The most obvious reason for his place on the pedestal would be the fact that he reviews and presents cars on the most widely watched factual television program in the world, in fact, Top Gear received around 350 million viewers a week throughout the course of the previous season.
As one could imagine, Jeremy Clarkson has an extremely influential opinion, whatever he says can often be a sizeable factor in a car’s success; this is also known as ‘The Clarkson Effect’.
In 2006 when MG Rover entered bankruptcy, many people then blamed Clarkson for their downfall due to the sheer amount of bad reviews he wrote or presented on their cars.
Another vastly influential person in the motoring world would be Comedian, actor, producer and voice actor Jay Leno. Jay Leno’s career began when he hosted NBC’s The Tonight Show with Jay Leno from 1992 to 2009.
Not only is Jay Leno an extremely funny man, he’s also a huge motoring enthusiast, in fact, Jay Leno’s garage has over 130 vehicles inside of it, (if you missed our article on his garage click here to see).
Leno is also a very regular face at America’s world famous Pebble Beach Auto Show, where wonderful and weird cars are brought from around the world to be admired by likeminded individuals.
Another one of the very greats of motoring history is Enzo Ferrari, who was, self explanatorily, the founder of Ferrari.
Born in 1898 in Modena, Italy, Enzo Ferrari was raised will little education but from around age 10 was an avid car enthusiast.
Following WW1 where he was assigned to the third Alpine Artillery division of the Italian army, Enzo Ferrari began his career at a small auto company working on old truck bodies.
After working with Alfa Romeo for several years, Enzo Ferrari went on to found Scuderia Ferrari in 1929, which has, as I’m sure you’re aware, grown into what is most probably the most iconic automotive manufacturer in the world.
Perhaps the most influential individual of the motoring world this century would be Czech Republican Automotive designer and engineer, and founder of Porsche, Ferdinand Porsche.
Porsche was born in 1875, and throughout his life, accomplished many milestones that many only dream of.
He was a crucial asset for Germany during the war effort and contributed plentifully to their cause, designing and engineering several machines for the German Army like the Tiger I and Tiger II tanks, in fact, Ferdinand Porsche won a number of war medallions like the War Merit Cross, (successor to the Iron Cross) and an SS Erhenring (also known as ‘Death’s Head Ring’).
Porsche was even named ‘The great German Engineer’ by Nazi propaganda despite his Austrian heritage.
Following his contribution to German war machinery, Porsche was given the task of creating a ‘German People’s car’, which subsequently became what we know today as the Volkswagen Beetle.
Finally, comes Henry Ford, Henry Ford of course, was most famous for founding the blue oval, Ford Motoring Company in 1903, and for being one of the first people to use an assembly line technique for mass production.
A great part of the Ford Motoring Company’s success is due to the fact that they were the first car manufacturer to develop a car that was affordable enough for middle class Americans, with their Model T, but of course, a number of other cars were also involved in the blue oval’s early success. At the time, Model T destroyed the then preconception that cars were simply for the richest people in the community.