Kjell Qvale

Kjell Qvale, the Norwegian-born auto entrepreneur, has died at the age of 94. Qvale got his start in the auto industry following his naval service during World War II, first purchasing a Willys Jeep franchise in San Francisco. He eventually expanded from Jeeps to British sports cars, importing MGs and founding British Motor Car Distributors. The company hit it big, by moving beyond British cars, though, as Qvale eventually began importing Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche models for west coast dealers.

Qvale dabbled in racing, fielding MG racecars in the Indianapolis 500 from 1963 to 1965. Qvale was partially responsible for production of both the Jensen Healey and the Jensen Interceptor. His most well-known project, though, was the Qvale Mangusta, an Italian-built sports car.

"My father's passing leaves us with big shoes to fill. His determination to succeed and passion for the car business has inspired me ever since I was a young boy and our whole family has shared a love of the business as a result of his enthusiasm. We will do our best to carry on the legacy Dad created," said Qvale's son, Bruce.