Although the actual award ceremony and induction won't take place until October, the Automotive Hall of Fame announced its class of 2007. Five legendary names from all facets of the automotive world were revealed during the International Motor Press Association meeting at the New York International Auto Show yesterday. The full release follows the jump, but here are the five inductees in brief:
  • A.J. Foyt - One of the most versatile racers of all time. During his four decades behind the wheel he won in everything from Indy Car, to NASCAR, to Le Mans. Although Indy is where he is perhaps best known, his Le Mans win with co-inductee Dan Gurney in 1967 is one of the seminal moments in motorsports history.
  • Dan Gurney - As a driver, Gurney had a fairly remarkable career, driving and winning in NASCAR, Indy Car, Sports Car, Trans-Am, Can-Am and Formula 1. But after retiring in 1970, Gurney went on to manufacturer his own race cars and street vehicles as well.
  • Charles B. King - With a Mechanical Engineering degree in his pocket, King went to Detroit in 1891 and revolutionized the auto industry. Dozens of automotive patents still bear his name. He even was the first person to drive car on the streets of Detroit, a car he designed himself.
  • Sergio Pininfarina - Descendant of company founder, Pinin Farina, Sergio began running the Carrozzeria in 1960. For more than 50 years he has led Pininfarina, turning it into one of the largest and most successful design firms around. He also oversaw many of the company's most famous projects, especially the Ferraris they are best known for.
  • Shoichiro Toyoda - When Dr. Toyoda became managing director of Toyota in 1961, the automotive world began to change. With his focus on automotive technology, quality control and factory management he revolutionized Toyota, and with it the whole automotive world.
The big event will happen, on Tuesday, October 16, 2007 in Dearborn, Michigan.

[Source: Automotive Hall of Fame]


PRESS RELEASE:


Automotive Hall of Fame Announces 2007 Inductees

NEW YORK, April 4 -- Five individuals representing automotive racing, design, manufacturing, and management have been selected for induction into the Automotive Hall of Fame. The Inductee class of 2007 includes A.J. Foyt, Dan Gurney, Charles B. King, Sergio Pininfarina, and Shoichiro Toyoda. The Inductees were announced today at the International Motor Press Association meeting at the New York International Auto Show. Formal induction ceremonies will take place in Dearborn, Mich., on Tuesday, October 16, 2007.

A.J. Foyt (1935 - ) A.J. Foyt, Jr. is one of the most accomplished men to ever drive a race car. His Indy car driving records remain intact despite being out of the cockpit for over 10 years. During his fabled four- decade career, Foyt won 12 national titles and 172 major races, including wins in NASCAR, USAC stock cars, midgets, sprints, IMSA sports cars and of course, LeMans. Coincidentally, Foyt shares inductee honors with Dan Gurney, his partner in the 24-Hours of LeMans in 1967. As a team owner, Foyt has won the national Indy car title five times.

Dan Gurney (1931 - ) Dan Gurney has had 3 very successful careers: racing driver, racecar manufacturer and inventor, and team owner. Gurney's racing career began in 1955 and spanned 15 years. By the time he retired in 1970, he had raced in 312 events in 20 countries with 51 different makes of cars winning 51 races and finishing on the podium an additional 47 times. Gurney has won 7 Formula One races, 7 Indy Car races, and 5 NASCAR Winston Cup stockcar races. Additionally he captured wins in Trans-Am, Can-Am and Sports Car races including the endurance classics at the Nurburgring, Daytona, Sebring and Le Mans.

Charles B. King (1869 - 1957) Considered by his peers to be the most technically capable of the automotive pioneers, King excelled as an engineer, artist, musician, poet, architect, and inventor. King received a Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering at Cornell University, and in 1891 moved to Detroit. King drove the first car ever seen on the streets of Detroit, a car of his own design. King would later receive a medal from the national Chamber of Commerce honoring him as "one of the main contributors to the mechanical development of the automobile." Kind died in 1957 leaving a legacy of some 70 patents, 40 of which were automotive related.

Sergio Pininfarina (1926 - ) Sergio Pininfarina began his career with the family firm, Carrozzeria Pinin Farina, in 1950 after graduating in mechanical engineering from the Polytechnic of Torino. In 1960, he was named General Manager, and in 1966, upon the death of his father, was named Chairman of the company. In 2006 he became Honorary Chairman. During his fifty-plus years of work, the Pininfarina Group has enjoyed steady growth in both technical and production development. Production units increased more than 100 times from 524 to more than 53,000; the number of employees more than quintupled from 560 to 3000. Under his guidance, the Pininfarina Group designed many of the world's most beautiful and sought-after automobiles.

Shoichiro Toyoda (1925 - ) Shoichiro Toyoda began his career with Toyota in 1952 upon graduation from Nagoya University with a degree in engineering and later earned an engineering doctorate. Dr. Toyoda became managing director at Toyota in 1961. After serving in a variety of managerial positions, Dr. Toyoda assumed the presidency of the newly integrated Toyota Motor Corporation in 1982, upon the merger of the sales and production organizations. He later served as chairman from 1992 to 1999. Dr. Toyoda became honorary chairman of Toyota in 1999. Automotive technology, quality control and factory management were primary emphases for Dr. Toyoda throughout his career, and he received the Deming Prize in 1980 for his contributions to quality control. He is universally recognized as the leader of Toyota's quality, global expansion and environmental initiatives.

The Automotive Hall of Fame, located in Dearborn, Mich., is the only industry-wide means to honor the men and women of the global motor vehicle and related industries. It is dedicated to preserving the history of mobility by celebrating the creativity, toil and genius of the individual. The Automotive Hall of Fame is both a visitor attraction and an educational resource for inspiring others to higher levels of achievement in their own work and lives. For more information about the Automotive Hall of Fame, visit http://www.automotivehalloffame.org/