Automobile Industry Innovators
1928 – 2016
“Magoo builds really bitchin’ ‘29s” – Tom Medley
Dick Megugorac, known as Magoo, was an American land speed racer and customizer. He opened a slot car customizer shop in the 1960s where he built some of the most prominent hot rods known at the time. Many of his custom cars and projects were featured in major magazines and many high profile racers would go to him to build their custom cars.
1912 – 1988
Bill Mitchell was an American automobile designer who started with General Motors in 1935. Mitchell influenced the design of over 72.5 million cars produces by GM, including the Camaro, the Buick Riviera, the Cadillac Sixty and the Coupe deVille. He spent his entire 42 year long career at General Motors and the time he spent there is known as the ‘Bill Mitchell era’.
1878 – 1940
Also known as C. Harold Wills or C.H. Wills, was an early associate of Henry Ford, one of the first employees of the Ford Motor Company and the chief contributor to the design of the Model T. After being bought out by Ford and leaving the company he began his own automobile firm, Wills Sainte Claire, which produces a sensation of a vehicle called the Gray Goose, but its cost led to low sales, which ended up with Wills closing his doors.
Swaja was an American dragster designer in the 1960s. Swaja was responsible for both Tony Nancy wedge cars of 1963, the Yellow Fang slingshot in 1963, and “TV Tommy” Ivo’s Videoliner in 1965. He designed Tony Nancy’s first dragster, “The Silver Car”, in 1963; it was built at Tommy Ivo & Rod Pepmuller’s shop, with the aluminum metal bending done by Bob Sorrell; the car won “Best Engineered” at its debut in the 1963 Winter nationals.
1923 – 2012
Shelby was an American automotive designer, racing driver, and entrepreneur. Best known for his involvement with the AC Cobra and Mustang for Ford. He established Shelby American Inc. in 1962 to manufacture performance vehicles in addition to Carroll Shelby Licensing in 1988 which grew into Carroll Shelby International.
Jeffrey E Schwartz
Schwartz is an American pro touring car builder/designer and former professional road racer. He is a 6 time winner of the Car Craft Magazine’s Real Street Eliminator competition with his 5th and 6th win at the Pro Am Invitational in milwaukee in 2015. He is known as a master when it comes to rebuilding classic vehicles that are engineered to handle road course.
1908 – 1999
The first woman to work as an automotive designer, starting on the interior styling staff of General Motors in 1943. She studied at Bauhaus, a famous German art school. She fled from Nazi-occupied France with her 7 year old daughter to a refugee camp in northern Africa where they stayed for four months before sailing to New York City in 1941. She worked for Marvel Comics and then the following year began work at GM. She earned significantly more than the men at the same position. Rother established her own design company named Helene Rother Associates for automotive interiors among other things. According to Patrick Foster, an automotive historian, Rother “was an early pioneer and one of the best”.
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