Automotive Hall of Fame to induct Black manufacturing leaders, race driver

Jordyn Grzelewski
The Detroit News

The Automotive Hall of Fame on Thursday announced the class of awardees and inductees it will honor this year for their contributions to the mobility industry.

In all, the Dearborn-based organization will recognize 16 individuals through four different awards. The induction and awards ceremony is scheduled for July 22 at The Icon, 200 Walker St., Detroit. Tickets and sponsorships are available at

"This class of awardees and inductees is the Automotive Hall of Fame's most diverse in terms of geographical region, race, gender and industry sector," Ramzi Hermiz, chairman of the hall of fame's board of directors, said in a statement. "It is our goal to recognize all individuals who have made clear and compelling contributions that helped shape the automotive industry."

The 2020 induction and awards ceremony was postponed, and since then the Hall of Fame has added three inductees to the class of 2020/2021. They are:

  • C.R. and Frederick Patterson of C.R. Patterson & Sons, later the Greenfield Bus Body Co. The company, founded in the 1920s, was the first and only Black-owned car manufacturer, according to the Hall of Fame.
  • Charles Wiggins, a race car driver who was barred from participating in White-only events, including the Indianapolis 500. Wiggins led in the parallel Colored Speedway Association championships, becoming a four-time winner of the Gold and Glory Sweepstakes.

The previously-announced inductees include Mong-Koo Chung, honorary chairman of Hyundai Motor Group; Thomas Gallagher, the former chairman and president of Genuine Parts Corporation; comedian Jay Leno, founder of the series "Jay Leno's Garage;" and Helene Rother, who was the first woman hired in the styling department of General Motors Co.

The Automotive Hall of Fame also introduced a new prize, the Mobility Innovator Award, last year. The first honoree is Harold Goddijn, CEO of TomTom.

The hall also will give out its 2021 Distinguished Service Citation and Industry Influencer Award.

Sir Lewis Hamilton, a professional Formula One driver, and Ray Scott, CEO of Lear Corp, will receive the Distinguished Service Citation.

The influencer awardees include:

  • Jim Baumbick, vice president, enterprise product line management, strategy and planning, Ford Motor Co.
  • Laurent Borne, president and chief technology officer, Stoneridge
  • Nelda J. Connors, founder and CEO, strategic partner, Pine Grove Holdings
  • Chris Ludwig, vice president, EPIC experience team, HARMAN International
  • Ben Volkow, CEO, Otonomo
  • Deborah Wahl, chief marketing officer, GM

Founded in 1939, the Automotive Hall of Fame has honored 762 individuals who have had an impact on the industry.

Twitter: @JGrzelewski